Freshman Doral City Councilman Luigi Boria is Ladra's new favorite elected. He is like a breath of fresh air in a hot desert of stale wind.
An underdog candidate elected in the November city elections, Boria (sitting here between Mayor J.C. Bermudez to the right, his left, and Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez to the left) hit the ground running and determined to make his mark with his independence of thought, authentic interest in almost every little thing, unabashed curiousity and laissez faire don't-care-what-they-say-behind-my-back stance from day one. He asks questions of staff, makes unsolicited recommendations because he feels they should be heard and has already sponsored several items before the commission, including the creation of a faith-based city board.
This week, he made history, getting councilmembers Michael DiPietro and Ana Maria Rodriguez to side with their regular nemesis (now that Sandra Ruiz is off the dais) on lowering the maximum the city could pay an outside budget consulting from $50,000 to $15,000. Really a miraculous feat and maybe he had help from a higher source: Boria is also a pastor.
Ladra thinks its pathetic how fellow council members almost visibly roll their eyes, shoot each other looks and sigh in exasperation when Boria asks for clarification or strives to understand a complicated issue. Sometimes, it seems like City Manager Yvonne Soler-McKinley talks to Boria like a frustrated mom might to a petulant child ("now here, here. sigh.").
Boria, who was born in Venezuela to Italian parents and distributes computers, computer parts and accessories all over Latin America, was dissed during the campaign, too, with off-color jokes about his accent and his fancy car.
But, in reality, his common sense questions and concerns make him sound smarter (or at least more in touch with the rest of us) than all of the others put together. More importantly to Ladra, he's transparent. He is definitely not trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. And it is funny when the other commissioners (the ones who think they are smarter because they enunciate better in English) are the ones who don't understand him, like on Wednesday night, when he wanted to know if he could use the city's seal on his own personal website. They kept trying to tell him he had the seal on his page on the city's server. And, didn't you know, Councilman Boria (supressed smiles and giggles) that you do have a page on our server where you can put photos and a mailing list, said the city's head spin doctor, Christina Baguer, though maybe not exactly those words but pretty much the gist But that's not what he meant. Ladra was sitting in the audience and she got it and was more offended than Boria that they seemed to be patronizing him. Again. But Boria was not offended. He just keeps on going, clarifying his point and smiling when he corrects someone who asks if it is a Luigi Boria site -- "Councilman Boria," he said. Baguer explained that the seal can't be used on private sites because the city could be implicated in actions/events that it is not involved in. Rodriguez, who we think looks as bored as we are during the meetings, suggested he use a similar seal used by some Doral businesses.
Ladra agrees to a certain extent that the seal shouldn't be used by just anybody. But this is a city councilman who keeps the community informed through his website and I don't think he would misuse it or misrepresent it. He might, however, cause some embarrassment with his fresh honesty and challenges to the "business as usual" mentality.
I hope he gets it. But I am glad he asked. Any more questions, Luigi. Ladra can't wait.