Saturday, January 08, 2011

Tomás Regalado: Just the latest in a long line of Miami city hall nut cases

Miamians awoke Friday morning to the news that Mayor Tomas Regalado was ratcheting up his feud with Miami police chief Miguel Exposito, accusing him of putting him and a city commissioner under surveillance.

The chief responded this afternoon by explaining that "Regalado and his driver had been dodging a process server who was trying to deliver a letter from the chief," the Miami Herald reported in a story posted late Friday on its website.

Headlined "Miami's police dramas: the chiefs vs. the bosses," the story rehashes political spats between past Miami police chiefs and their city hall bosses.

Regular readers of Random Pixels will recognize it as the same story we reported on the blog in great detail last December 16.

Regalado's increasingly erratic actions don't come as a shock to longtime observers of Miami's weird brand of politics. After all, he's a guy who once raised money for an accused terrorist in the early 80's.

Others might say that Regalado is just carrying on the long, proud tradition of strange and screwball behavior by Miami mayors.

Who can forget Xavier "Mayor Loco" Suarez, who once made an unannounced late night visit to a little Havana woman who had criticized him in a letter?

Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen described her reaction in a March 1998 column: "Alarmed at the knocking on her door, the woman (who obviously did not live in the same world as Suarez) picked up a handgun and peeped outside. Luckily for the future ex-mayor, the woman recognized him and held her fire."

In January, 1998, the Herald reported that Suarez "threatened to cancel all city advertising contracts with The Herald unless the newspaper starts 'to be a lot nicer to me, my people, my citizens and my city.' "
Suarez left a message Monday evening on the voice-mail box of a Herald advertising manager whose office processes the city's legal ads. The message was forwarded to Herald President Joe Natoli, who oversees the paper's day-to-day business operations.

``This is the mayor of Miami,'' Suarez said during his minute long message. ``I note that we are subsidizing you and your newspaper with ads related to official notices of the city.

``If that's the case, I strongly suggest you tell your maximum leader of the free world for the publishing company and I believe that's Joe Natoli that he better tell his maximum leader of the publishing side of the newspaper, that is to say David Lawrence, to be a lot nicer to me, my people, my citizens and my city,'' Suarez said.
And then there was mayor Joe Carollo, who Carl Hiaasen dubbed "Crazy Joe." "He's ruthless, paranoid, demagogic, divisive and unabashedly bankrupt of conscience," wrote Hiaasen.

Back to the present day...sure Regalado is nutty as a fruitcake. But is anyone surprised?

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