Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some free advice for Miami-Dade's next mayor

In less than a week, Miami-Dade county voterss will pick their their next mayor.

Today, I chatted briefly with Channel 10 political reporter, Michael Putney.

He reminded me that whomever is elected, he'll only have the the job until November, 2012.

"So," I asked rhetorically, "the next 18 months will be like an audition of sorts?"

"If you say so, Bill," Putney answered with a chuckle.

With that in mind, I'd like to offer a little advice to the next mayor of Miami-Dade County.

About the Marlins Stadium. The day after you are sworn in, I'd like to see you order construction stopped on the stadium. Once the construction company has removed their equipment, hire a demolition company to raze the place. And then, send the bill for the demolition to the Marlins.

Decisions. Over the next 18 months, you'll have to decide on many complex issues. Before making any decision, ask yourself one question: "What would Carlos Alvarez do?" Then, do the opposite. I don't think that needs any further explanation.

If you keep your promises, we'll let you keep your job.
  • Carlos Gimenez says he, "wants to shrink and streamline county government, paring back the county’s 50-plus departments to 25. He also wants to roll back property-tax rates to 2009-10 levels, cutting about $350 million from the county’s $4.7 billion operating budget..." Good! Do it.

  • Julio Robaina promises, "to shake up the highly unpopular county government. The politician has embraced term limits for commissioners in a bid to inject new blood at County Hall, promised to streamline a government considered bloated and inefficient, and pledged to re-establish trust with skeptical voters." Good! Do it.
  • The Car. This one isn't brain surgery.

    Carlos Alvarez got into trouble for a lot of things.

    But, many voters just couldn't reconcile keeping a mayor in office who insisted upon riding in style on their dime.

    Taxpayers do not want to read headlines like this ever again: "Former Mayor Carlos Alvarez's BMW lease cost county $37,849 for 10 months."

    So, after you take office and you find yourself looking for a set of wheels; consider how the new mayor of Tampa, Bob Buckhorn, solved that problem.
    When he took office, the city lease on [the former mayor's] hybrid was running out, and anyway, [Buckhorn] saw himself as more the "muscular mayor car" type.


    From the police forfeiture lot they brought him what looks like a drug dealer's SUV off an episode of The Wire. His ride is a big, black 2005 Yukon Denali, smoked windows, 100,000 miles.

    If the prospect for gas-guzzling is troublesome, well, there is the fact that it was free, courtesy of a "bad guy" and "ill-gotten gains," as the mayor puts it.
    That's right gentlemen...the mayor of Tampa drives a car that was seized from a drug dealer.

    Just think of the dual message you'll be sending to taxpayers. You'll be riding in a car that didn't cost your constituents a dime and, you'll be fighting crime! (I'm sure Miami-Dade police director Loftus will be able to fix one of you guys up with a fine set of wheels.)

    That's it gentlemen. By next Wednesday, one of you will be our mayor. But you'll also be on probation for the next 18 months. Govern yourself accordingly.

    Remember, we'll be watching.

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