Election Day Quick Bites

by SDM

Homestead Takes a Breath

Yesterday, Homestead voters chose stability and normalcy over chaos and dissension when they selected Jeff Porter as their new Mayor. Mark Bell, the well-financed spouse of County Commissioner Lynda Bell, was defeated by the same folks who rejected her wife four years ago.

For those who follow Homestead politics, this result is not a complete surprise, but it was surely outside the expectations of most experts. Bell faced a difficult conundrum: while he fed off his wife’s fundraising ability, he could not overcome her reputation as a nasty, vindictive jerk.

Now, Homestead can go back to being what it likes to be: a quiet town at the edge of a major metro area. SDM couldn’t be happier with the result.

Lynda Bell’s Stock Takes a Beating

The big loser in the Homestead Mayor’s race is County Commissioner Lynda Bell. She shook down every lobbyist and corporate donor in Miami in a failed attempt to force her husband into office.

Two conclusions will inevitably be drawn by the downtown crowd:

  1. Ms. Bell cannot hold her home base. Homestead represents only a fraction of District 8, but it’s an important fundraising territory. While Mayor Porter is nice guy, he and his people will be making sure that Homestead’s money people shut off the pipeline to Ms. Bell. Porter has to demand loyalty so that he can survive – it’s the law of the political jungle. Now, big names like Wayne Rosen who have lots at stake in Homestead will be forced to make amends to Porter while trying not to piss off Ms. Bell. Observers will conclude that Ms. Bell’s base of support is weaker today than it was before yesterday’s election.
  2. The Bell political machine ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Many not-so-close observers took Bell’s commission victory to mean that she had a political machine and that she was the new horse to ride. But, many┬áSouth Dade folks know that Ms. Bell’s election was a fluke. Her opponent’s campaign wasn’t very good and she rode a wave of tea party activism that had just begun to arrive on the political scene. In the end, her husband’s loss brings into question her political competence: if she can’t get her husband elected in Homestead, can she win her district?

SDM Says: Ms. Bell is facing her own crisis now. She is not popular at the county and there will be no shortage of moneyed interests to challenge her, if for no other reason than to develop leverage to use against her later.

Jackson’s Reputation Carries the Day, Again

County voters gave Jackson Memorial a major boost by approving over $800 million in bond funds. SDM voted for the referendum, but not without having tortured our consciences over the issue.

On the one hand, Jackson is maybe the most important institution in our community. Without its safety net, we would be spending even more money dealing with the sickest of the sick.

On the other hand, Jackson is a lot like the School District. Voters ride a wave of enthusiasm and civic responsibility to “save” the institution only to be asked a few years later to save them all over again.

Some days SDM feels like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, optimistically believing that this time Lucy won’t pull it away at the last minute.

SDM Says: Let’s hope Carlos Migoya isn’t a Lucy.

Why The Miami Dolphins Need That Free Roof

SDM read the Richie Incognito story. (If you missed it, you owe it to yourself to read Greg Cote’s column on the subject.) Is the Dolphins’ management still living in 1970?

What the Dolphins have allowed, perhaps even fostered, is what lawyers call a “hostile work environment,” which is not only a no-no, it is a surefire way to get your butt sued.

Then again, perhaps the whole thing is our fault. We didn’t let the Dolphins put a roof on their stadium and the sun has obviously melted the common sense synapses in the brains of Fins’ coaches and managers.

As a fan (yes, here at SDM we love our Dolphins, we just think they should pay for their own shingles), this is a double travesty. Because management failed to recognize and rein-in a loose cannon, the team will lose two starting lineman in the middle of a season that still has a chance to turn around. How’s that for your NFL legacy, Mr. Incognito?

SDM Says: The only good that will come from this episode is that a bunch of workplace counselors are going to get work all over the country as the NFL tries to mitigate their exposure to lawsuits. And, maybe a manager or coach or two will be tossed out on his or her keester for turning an adult work environment into a prison yard.

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