South Dade Strange – Odds & Ends

by SDM

The Scent of a Commissioner

Some stories sound like they are made up and this is one of them. The Miami Herald political blog Naked Politics ran a story on former Commissioner Joe Martinez who is running in the South Dade Congressional seat currently occupied by Congressman Joe Garcia. (Also running in this race are Mayor Ed MacDougall of Cutler Bay and School Board Member Carlos Curbelo.)

Mr. Martinez worked a deal with a Doral fragrance manufacturer to produce a cologne called “The Commissioner.” SDM figured the stuff must smell like dirty money and corruption, but Martinez assures us it has a “clean, lasting and memorable scent.” Too bad Mr. Martinez’s record fails to live up the The Commissioner’s billing.

Garcia teaches a lesson to Manatee County

Congressman Joe Garcia’s ballot fixing scandal caught the ear of election officials in Manatee County, according to a report in the Bradenton Herald:

“Miami-Dade officials went over what exactly had happened to them and how they caught it,” Bennett said. “They walked us through it so we would all be on the same page going forward.”

The story went on to note that “[a]n investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office traced some phony IP addresses to Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami. Garcia fired his former chief of staff after he admitted to coordinating the submission of nearly 500 fraudulent ballot requests.

SDM Says: Mr. Garcia’s antics has become an object lesson for election officials across the state. Here at SDM, we are so proud of our resident Congressman.

What’s The Buzz on Garcia?

Tampa Bay Times blog The Buzz ranks Joe Garcia as second most-vulnerable congressional seat in Florida:

District 26: Rep. Joe Garcia (D).This district is neck and neck with Murphy’s for No. 1 on our list. Garcia has a slightly more favorable district to defend than Murphy does — the Miami-area district backed Obama in 2012 by a 53 percent-46-percent margin — but he’s taken on lots of baggage during the six months he’s been on Capitol Hill. Two top aides have already resigned amid allegations about absentee-ballot fraud in the 2012 Democratic primary. The revelations are particularly embarrassing because Garcia won the seat in 2012 by ousting a Republican, David Rivera, who was hobbled by ethics troubles. In 2012, Garcia benefited from a strong get-out-the-vote effort by the Barack Obama campaign, which targeted younger Cuban-American voters, who are less solidly Republican than members of previous generations. That tailwind won’t be available in a midterm election. Garcia’s fundraising has been solid — he raised $440,000 in the second quarter and had $800,000 cash on hand — but GOP challengers are circling. The field of potential candidates includes Miami-Dade school board member Carlos Curbelo, state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, former Miami-Dade Commission chairman Joe Martinez and Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall.

Isn’t it great when your Congressman gets such wonderful attention?

Cue the Black Helicopters

SDM just loves living in South Florida…our cast of characters is truly wonderful to behold. In case you missed it, one of Palmetto Bay’s own has found his way into a crazy story in the Miami New Times:

John DuBois is one freaked-out Palmetto Bay Village vice-mayor. In an odd twist to the millionaire security systems entrepreneur’s ongoing legal war with the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources & Management, Dubois thought he was being spied on by unknown individuals in a helicopter and a boat on the morning of March 7. He called Miami-Dade Police to report “suspicious activity” taking place near his $2.5 million six-acre waterfront estate on Old Cutler Road. The cops never identified the chopper, but figured out the boat was operated by DERM officials conducting environmental tests in the canal hugging DuBois’ backyard.

Regular readers of this blog know that SDM likes Vice Mayor Dubois, but this story just cries out for explanation. An unknown helicopter and DERM officials conducting “environmental tests”? Maybe it was just Joan Lindsay and Jerry Templer fishing in a borrowed DERM jacket. Or, maybe Mayor Stanczyk was buzzing the property on her broom… :)

SDM Says: It’s not paranoia, John, when they’re really out to get you.

Cutler Bay Taxes Going Up? Probably not.

That was the headline blaring from the Miami Herald Neighbors over the weekend, but upon closer investigation, the story seemed a little different.

The headline didn’t exactly square with the views of Mayor Ed MacDougall, who “said after the meeting that he sees the tax rate going down this year. ‘We have plenty of money, we have plenty of income and we expect to lower the rate this year.'”

SDM Codebreaker: At this point in the year, all local governments set their maximum millage – one that they cannot exceed when they set the final millage rate later. SDM doubts Cutler Bay will increase its tax rate, but residents ought to keep a weather eye on the council nonetheless.

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