Election Day, Feb. 15, 2014

mmillerWell folks, as the election is just 10 or so weeks away, the candidates are out and about trying to gain ground and figure out a way to get your vote. It’s an interesting process, incumbents touting all their accomplishments, even if there are a scant few and the newbies espousing such rhetoric, that one might think they are running for some top position like the town dog catcher. So far former mayor Horace Feliu has decided it was time again to serve the citizens of South Miami and is running against Commissioner Wally “ The Dude” Harris. Should be interesting to watch Wally scramble to try and detach himself from Commissioner Bob “Bobble Head” Welsh, who has been getting some bad advice from his “handlers” and recently got a bunch of bad press and a public tongue lashing by several citizens. I gotta tell ya though, Bobby boy is taking it all in stride and seems to be enjoying all the attention that has be coming his way.

Then of course, there is the current mayor, Phil Stoddard, who wants to hold onto the seat, like he owns it. Phil, who has had hands full, most of this his own making, is being challenged by Valerie Newman. She has held the position of commissioner and vice mayor and was very active in the community prior to running for office. She is out and about gathering up votes and is sure to give Phil a few sleepless nights. There are some rumors that there might be another candidate popping up soon, which should add to Phil’s anxiety.

And then there is Donna Shelley and Gabriel Edmond vying for Valerie’s old seat. Me thinketh this race will be pretty dull, not that the candidates are, but just because. Oops, then there is the unsubstantiated rumor that Josh Liebman will, at the last minute, file to run against Phil Stoddard. Can’t get Josh to say Yea or Nay, but that’s the story going around town.

Ok, there has been another sighting of Wayne Brackin (the Baptist Health guru), this time at Rok Burger on SW 73 St. My source even saw what he was eating. So here it goes: Rok shrimp, lobster, corn dogs, fried pickles, a salad with goat cheese in it, and a King James Hamburger, which I assume was named after Miami’s own King James. And there was a little bit more, six or so Kobe Beef and Short Rib Sliders. Golly, that sounds like a lot of food for one guy and it is, but don’t worry, Sir Wayne was there with some friends and I’m told his sons, as well.

Sighted over at Town Kitchen & Bar, generally referred to as Town, was real estate guru Levi Meyer from Fortune International Realty with Chip Black who is with the Huttoe Group in Coral Gables. Seemed as though they were discussing something top secret. And over at Casa Larios: Dr. Mark Rosenberg, the president of FIU was over there not too long ago, enjoying lunch with some friends. And Vice Mayor Josh Liebman was also at Larios enjoying himself as he chowed down on some Arroz con Pollo and some high octane Espresso.

Miami-Dade County Comm. Suarez making the rounds at events, could be shoring up image for mayoral race in 2016. Xavier Suarez, the Miami-Dade County Commissioner elected to Dist. 7 a few years ago in a special election and was reelected unopposed in 2012 is beginning to have a host of detractors. They are suggesting the former Miami mayor is detached, and does not have a firm grasp of some of the issues faced in the highly rich property tax base sprawling commission district that stretches from Key Biscayne to Pinecrest. The Harvard-trained lawyer considered running for Miami-Dade County Mayor in 2012, but he decided to take the safe road and did not run for the countywide position. However, he is letting people discuss such a race in 2016 when the bloom may be off current Mayor Carlos Gimenez with the county’s voters, when both the mayor and commissioner are up for reelection.

Suarez also does not spend much time meeting with the local officials that make up the many municipalities in his district, and for some of them that is fine. However, the commissioner does go to political social events such as the swearing in of the new elected leaders on Miami Beach on Monday, though he did not stay long, and the county commissioner went to Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon’s installation on Wednesday where he did hang around for the bulk of the festivities. Suarez when he was first elected did a local commission district road trip talking about all the Miami-Dade County GOP money (Over $100 million) that he has under his control. He referred to the affluent district that snakes along the coast and waterfront properties to an area “like Texas.” Where he gets “to say yes a lot,” but he has also alienated some of the county commissioners, whose majority votes he needs on the dais to get anything done. He is always quick with a quote, sometimes quite obscure, at commission meetings, highlighting that he is erudite and educated. However, he sometimes comes across as if he is above some of the more mundane issues that the body faces in running a county with roughly 2.5 million people. Moreover, while Suarez has been a persistent critic of some of the high salaries paid to key top county employees in the Gimenez administration. He sometimes comes off as being an armchair quarterback, who just enjoys taking periodic verbal shots at the mayor.. (This item supplied by watchdogreport.net)

Thought of the Day:
A pessimist is one who builds dungeons in the air.
— Walter Winchell

Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669-7355, ext. 249, or send emails to <Michael@communitynewspapers.com>.

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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at michael@communitynewspapers.com

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