Best of Miami

We Sure Know How to Pick The Best Politicians!

Next week, this year's Best of Miami issue hits the stands. So you know what that means! It's that time of year we pick a kick-ass politician who'll end up getting kicked out of office! Getting named Best Politician is like an endorsement from The Miami Herald editorial board: the kiss of death. Three of our picks in the past decade have been unceremoniously removed from office.


In 2001, we selected Johnny Winton, at the time a newly crowned Miami city commissioner. We wrote: "It goes without saying that in South Florida it's rare to find

politicians who don't betray themselves and their constituents within 30

minutes of taking the oath of office. But the newest Miami City

Commissioner, a quick study and a hard worker, has remained true to his

beliefs: Always be honest and straightforward, keep citizens' interests

first, no backroom funny business."

Six years later, Winton was removed from office by the governor after he was arrested for scuffling with county police officers and resisting arrest.

Then in 2006 we crowned Carlos Alvarez Best Politician, comparing the then-strong mayor of Miami-Dade to a Jedi Knight: "Beaten but resolute, the good mayor fled to the outer rim of the

county's suburban wasteland to regroup and complete his training. Upon

his return, Alvarez successfully destroyed the Imperials' diabolical

device: The Public Silencer. In time, this Obi-wan of the Swamp may

finally bring balance to the county."

Yea, five years later, Alvarez had turned to the dark-side and a voter rebellion recalled him.

And in 2009, we bestowed the honor on Michelle Spence-Jones: "Yet in spite of the troubles dogging her short political career,

Spence-Jones has not only survived Miami's cutthroat politics but also

successfully leveraged her position to help the people who matter to her

-- the predominantly black residents living in Overtown, Liberty City,

Allapattah, and other low-income neighborhoods in her district."

Before the year was over, Spence-Jones was doing the perp walk, criminally charged with grand theft just days after her re-election.

So who will be this year's lucky politician? You'll just have to get your Best of Miami 2011 issue, out June 16, to find out!

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.