In Miami-Dade County, a bad politician can feel a lot like a little fish in a big pond. When your peers are almost all as terrible as (or even worse than) you are, it's hard to stand out in the crowd. You have to share the spotlight with dozens of other rotten leaders!
So when New Times reached out to a handful of local bloggers to ask who they believe to be the worst politician of the year (inspired by this 2012 post), some of the respondents balked at the idea of having to narrow it down.
"Do I really have to pick just ONE worst pol?" replied Elaine de Valle, AKA Ladra, of Political Cortadito.
But alas, we made them perform this perplexing brain teaser. Here are their picks for the worst local politician of 2020.
Florida state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez. Not to rub salt in the wound of the Democratic incumbent for the District 37 State Senate seat who lost by 34 votes to his Republican challenger with a "shadow" candidate in the race that shares his last name but…did he not do any opposition research on the shadow candidate? Alex Rodríguez was an unknown who filed to run at the last minute then did not campaign. He didn't show up at events, he didn't raise money, and he didn't respond to media questions about his positions on the issues. Did that not make José Javier Rodríguez and his team just a little bit curious? For not knowing both of his opponents, José Javier Rodríguez gets my vote for worst politician. Kudos to WPLG-TV (Channel 10) reporter Glenna Milberg. Her dogged efforts to get to the bottom of this story underscore the importance of local media. —Susan Askew, RE:MiamiBeach
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. It is hard to begin. Rundle has never prosecuted a law-enforcement officer for murder, even obvious ones, in her decades of service. She has covered for actions so reprehensible her own party has voted multiple times demanding her resignation. She cannot be bothered to prosecute the murder of Dylan Page or find justice for other victims. Rundle even blocked a veteran's speech on Memorial Day. More importantly, she refuses to admit defeat in the courts for threatening citizens who record police — by a pro se plaintiff, no less — and she refuses to prosecute public corruption brought to her attention. —Eric McDonough, True Homestead
North Miami Beach City Commissioner Michael Joseph. In the two short years since his election, North Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Joseph has already earned the "honor" of worst politician. Between his outright lies from the dais, bullying of city vendors, intimidating city employees, making false accusations of racism, among other things, Joseph has succeeded in racking up more personal and political enemies than any of his predecessors in the history of the city, including former Mayor Myron Rosner and former Commissioner Frantz Pierre, both of whom were arrested and convicted on multiple felony charges. If his past behavior as an elected official is any indication, it's only a matter of time before Joseph will be inducted into the North Miami Beach Hall of Shame. VotersOpinion eagerly awaits that day. —Stephanie Kienzle, VotersOpinion
Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo. There are so many to pick from. But, just this year, because of the level of drama, I would have to say Joe Carollo. It was a Joe Carollo year. The hysteria on the commission dais, his yelling at the mayor publicly, the legal fight with the recalls, the wild allegations of Chavista money and involvement are just over the top. It feels almost like a movie, not real life. He may not seem as evil as, say, Hialeah's Carlos Hernandez, who would probably win as worst politician if I paid more attention to the City of Progress. But Carollo abuses his power, retaliates against political enemies, and conspires with friends and allies to get what he wants. And all the while, he plays the white-hat guy. He is dangerous. —Elaine de Valle, Political Cortadito
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