Thursday, October 22, 2015

Did the 'failing' Miami Herald really 'endorse' Mayor Philip Levine's reelection bid?

"The expensive city-funded pumps ... didn’t work everywhere as well 
as expected..." -from the Miami Herald's "endorsement" of Mayor 
Philip Levine, Oct. 22, 2015.
(Click here to enlarge)

A year ago, this month, Worth magazine published an interview with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine who was just completing his first year in office.

At one point, the interviewer asks Levine about endorsements he received during his 2013 campaign.
Levine: ....The Miami Herald couldn’t have been more against me.

Worth: How do you explain that?

Levine: Failing businesses usually fail from the top. I used to laugh and say that when I started my new business, I made more money in my first year than the Miami Herald made in the last 10. But their editorial board was aggressively against me. They saw a rich guy.

After giving that answer, Levine went on to call the Herald "fakakta" company...Yiddish for "something that is not working well or is really crap."

Levine is now completing his second year as mayor and is asking voters to give him another two years.

This morning the "fakakta" Miami Herald picked Levine in his bid for re-election over challenger David Wieder.

Or did they?

The Herald's "endorsement" of Levine reminds me of those ink blot tests that psychologists often give their patients. While some may call the Herald's editorial an "endorsement," others are seeing something completely the opposite.



The Herald's "endorsement" of Levine is about 328 words long. But about half of those words are a clear rebuke of "Mayor Ego" and his first two years in office. Or as one of my Facebook friends pointed out, "Of the 15 sentences that make up the endorsement, only three are positive."

The expensive city-funded pumps that didn’t work everywhere as well as expected, and whether the pumped water is contaminating the bay; a serious misstep with his ethically questionable decision to get involved with the RFP PAC that collected thousands from city vendors; and a brash attitude from the dais all have chipped away at his credibility. The public’s perception that he wants to control the dais with a slate of friends running for the commission doesn’t help.

We think that Mr. Levine should adopt Mr. Wieder’s campaign promise. The challenger told the Editorial Board: “I want to restore trust, integrity and responsiveness to our city government. I will not allow cronyism, backroom dealings, sole-source contracts. … Pay-to-play politics will have no place in my administration.”

Still, Mr. Levine’s passion for the city is authentic. We believe him when he says that he eats and breathes the city’s challenges, from its climate-change struggles to traffic gridlock. If reelected, Mr. Levine should make it a point to mature as a politician, to serve all of Miami Beach. We hope that these troubled times have been a learning experience for the mayor. We’re willing to give him a second chance to prove he’s not “Mayor Ego."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the ethically challenged Levine, is it?

When is the last time a newspaper "endorsed" a candidate by advising them to adopt their opponent's campaign promises?

Levine, and his staff of PR experts are usually very quick to post accolades of any kind on the Mayor's Facebook page. But as of late Thursday morning, there's no mention of the Herald's "endorsement." I wonder why?

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