Thursday, January 10, 2013

Joe Carollo: Still crazy after all these years

"Crazy" Joe Carollo, Nov. 6, 2001.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana, Spanish philosopher


Well, that didn't take long.

From the Miami Herald:
Former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo began his term as Doral’s latest city manager — the third to hold the position in just five weeks — by suggesting his predecessor, Merrett Stierheim, was biased against Hispanics.*

“Apparently, what he thought is that Hispanics can’t govern themselves and that we need someone like him, that he considers himself the ‘great white hope.’ He is very mistaken,” Carollo told El Nuevo reporter Enrique Flor in an interview Thursday at Doral City Hall.


Miami Herald
Wednesday, October 31, 2001

The Miami mayoral race is like that famous circus act where a midget car speeds into the tent and clowns start piling out.

This year, 10 candidates have emerged from the city's metaphorical midget car to amuse us before next week's election.

* The most colorful of the pack is incumbent Joe Carollo , fondly known as Crazy Joe . He's ruthless, paranoid, demagogic, divisive and unabashedly bankrupt of conscience.

We love him. If journalists alone were allowed to vote, Carollo would win in a landslide because he makes our jobs so easy.

Miami Herald
Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Welcome back, Crazy Joe !

Deep down, we knew you hadn't really changed. We knew it was just an act - behaving like a semi-sane and responsible person all those months while Miami was on the brink of financial ruin.

But, hey, it worked. You kept the governor from seizing control of the city government. You convinced the financial oversight board that you were vaguely in touch with reality.

People were actually talking about the new, ``mature'' Joe Carollo , the one who selflessly put the well-being of the community above his own petty political appetites.

You were slick, Joe. You really had 'em going.

But deep down, we knew you were still the same paranoid fruitcake you've always been. We knew it wouldn't take much to unhinge your wobbly brainpan and, sure enough, the Elian episode did the trick.

Your indignant assertion that the police should have tipped you off in advance of the INS raid is so marvelously preposterous that we want to thank you, Joe. Thank you for making us laugh out loud again after so many grueling, heart-wrenching months.

And then, to target the two most convenient Anglos* - Police Chief William O'Brien and City Manager Donald Warshaw - well, what can we say? It was a special moment, Mr. Mayor. It was then we knew for sure that you'd never really left us at all.

You were back to being your old lying, back-stabbing, vote-grubbing self. No one could be more elated than your future opponents in next year's election, including ex-cuckoo Mayor Xavier Suarez.

Another happy camper is Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas. Thanks to your antics, Joe , people might finally stop talking about Penelas's flaky pre-raid ultimatum to Janet Reno, which brought him national scorn and more than a few embarrassing mental-health inquiries.

It's no contest, Joe . You're the king of the crazies.

Miami Herald
Monday, October 2, 1989

Somebody Up There must love newspaper columnists because an amazing thing has happened.

He's baaaaaaack.

Joe Carollo . Popping out of his manhole like a jack-in-the- box. To run for the Miami City Commission again!

Thank you, God. Things had gotten so dull lately -- we needed to be reminded of the bad old days, when city government was a circus and Joe was the head clown. Sure, there's still back-alley politics, but today it's all so tame and . . . civilized.

In a sick way, we missed Carollo . He was such great copy, guaranteed to say something indefensibly dumb, paranoid or just plain crass.

Joe claims he's mellowed, but don't bet on it. In this new campaign he's challenging the city's only elected black commissioner, and already Carollo has gone on Spanish-language radio likening his opponent to a common street looter.

Vintage Joe . This is the same sensitive fellow who once compared a black city manager to Idi Amin.

Ah, what memories.

Carollo saw spies and counterspies and Communists everywhere, and claimed to have a dashboard bomb detector in his car. He once offered to tell a Senate committee how Fidel Castro's agents had infiltrated the Miami Police Department.

Another time, Joe torpedoed a big Sister Cities convention planned for Miami after learning that a few of the participants came from Eastern bloc countries. Reds!

Not that Carollo didn't have a warm spot for some foreign visitors. Miss Universe contestants, for example. Joe nearly tripped over his agenda in a rush to pose for snapshots with visiting beauty queens.

And when Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi and his wealthy entourage blew into town, Joe tagged along like a drooling puppy, offering the key to the city and (not incidentally) the services of his own private security firm. Any normal person would have been embarrassed, but not Joe.

Who can forget that gloriously despicable double cross of Maurice Ferre during the 1983 mayor's race -- Ferre, calling a press conference to trumpet Carollo 's endorsement, only to watch Joe trash him mercilessly in front of the assembled media. Poor old Maurice looked like he'd swallowed a bad clam.


The Miami News, Nov.11, 1983.


  1. As one of those journalists referred to by Carl in his 2001 column, I'd like to thank the City of Doral for bringing Crazy Joe out of mothballs, dusting him off, and thrusting him in our lives and faces once more. I have a new-found respect for Xavier Suarez.

  2. At least he is not in South miami


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