Do you like yours dark, like I do? With just a touch of condensed milk?
People close to me know that I have wanted to do this for a while -- and maybe not wanted to do it at the same time. Why? Some people don't like it when you tell the truth if and when the truth isn't pretty (it happens). And, truth is, I have friends and business associates, even clients, who are involved at varying levels in the world of PoliMiami who might not like this (too bad). And I'm not in the mood to be preyed upon by interesados who pretend to be friends or promise to send you business to gain favor (read: everyone wants a piece of you. Warning: Been burned already and I learn fast). And it opens you up to verbal attacks, slander and abuse live and in the form of anonymous comments from anyone threatened by the truth (it happens. But I'm ready).
Still, the reasons to blog outweighed those arguments not to.
Through no fault of their own, just an evolution of the information universe, more traditional news providers, emaciated from their budget cuts and staff slashing, are seriously failing to provide timely and valuable information about the smaller elections and government bodies in our communities where decisions can sometimes more directly affect our lives, families, livelihoods, health, wealth and lifestyles. They have less resources, so they put them on the big races and you read about them over and over again. But the others get very little notice. One example: Wednesday's Chamber South networker event, a "meet the candidates" in the municipal elections in Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay. No major media was there. I did not see Community Newspapers either. Yet these candidates could be in a position to spend our/your tax dollars and reroute streets on your daily commute or approve zoning changes and increase density at a condo near your house. They should not be given a free pass.
And then there are the little details that voters should or might want to know, the insider information that news reporters and political junkies like me come across on a regular basis. Like when Congressional candidate and former Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia called State Rep. David Rivera, now his opponent, the "closest thing to the anti-Christ we have in Tallahassee" at a Democratic Federation of America meeting in Coral Gables. The gold parties, paint-gun competitions and garage sales being held as campaign fundraisers to offer contributors something more, a result of the economic downturn. The debate at last month's joint meeting of the Cuban and Latin American democratic clubs about the local DEC seeking more absentee ballots, to fight the Republicans at their own game. The awkward moment when three candidates for the same county commission seat bumped into each other in the lobby at the office where they interviewed with the Builders Association of South Florida.
But that's all espuma anyway. That's the light cortadito. The dark stuff, my weakness, is what is really important for you to know. Like how two campaign managers planned a political action committee to funnel a large donation from a local business to their candidates' campaign accounts. Like the political operatives rumored to be behind no-name candidates accused of entering the race to hurt any real threat to an incumbent. Like elected officials hosting fundraising events on the taxpayer time and dime.
This space aims to provide interesting if not vital information on local governments and elections in a manner that is fair, ethical, accessible, consistent, persistent, independent and in context, something that is sadly lacking in some other places. This space aims to fill some of the void that traditional media outlets have left in their budget and staff costs with an a new, rational voice for the people. Because it is still important that voters, taxpayers and residents have vital information -- okay, maybe sometimes not vital but interesting nonetheless (la espuma) -- on those who make or seek to make the policy and decisions that govern our lives.
Because, either oscuro or not, a cortadito can wake you up in the middle of a weekday afternoon stupor. Which is what many of us are in when it comes to our elected leaders and public servants: long, boredom-induced and apathetic stupors.
Drink a cortadito and wake up!