Monday, May 2, 2011

Gimenez calls Robaina on his flip

Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, who has skipped (read: snubbed) several of the mayoral candidate forums or debates in recent weeks (maybe he's too busy being mayor of "the second largest city in the county" until the day before the election), finally made it to one Monday night.

But maybe he should have missed this one, too.

The perceived front-runner in the May 24 election took a beating from his biggest threat and nemesis, Carlos Gimenez, at the forum presented by the Kendall Federation of Homeowners Association, whose board met immediately afterward to vote on an endorsement. I called the political committee chair, but he said he wanted to put out a press release. Ladra suspects, however, that the nod will go to Gimenez. I mean, he would win it if it were a smack-down.

Robaina really brought it upon himself when he said, yet again, that he was always against the Marlins' stadium deal. So Gimenez reminded him and the 120 or so people there that Robaina appeared before the county commission in March of 2009 ( to urge them to approve the stadium deal. "When I was railing against the deal, when I was saying it was a lousy deal when I was saying 'Let's open the books,' there were three mayors who came in support of the deal. One was Mayor Carlos Alvarez. The second was [Miami] Mayor Manny Diaz and the third was the mayor of Hialeah, Julio Robaina" Gimenez said. "It's unfortunate that I'm always the one who has to bring it up. It's unfortuante we have this [come up] over and over again. Just watch the tape and you'll see exactly what happens."

Robaina, of course, did not want to let that go and took the mic to dig himself even deeper into his hole. After saying that Gimenez has done nothing but attack him -- which is not what we have seen -- he said that "the record is clear. I supported major league baseball in this community. I still support major league baseball in this community. I do not support welfare for billionaire owners. That's why when I had the opportunity as the mayor, as the strong mayor, as the city manager of Hialeah, I did not make that deal," Robaina added, hinting the team only went to downtown Miami after the city of Hialeah turned them down. (Ladra tried all night to upload this video to no avail. Posted to youtube. Please note the faces on candidates Gabrielle Redfern and Marcelo Llorente. And also how Redfern scoots away a little. (

"No one else at this table can say that," Robaina said.

Gimenez took the mic again to clear up that "clear record" of the March, 2009 meeting and reminded Robaina that he urged the commission to approve "the item," which was the financing agreement.

"The tape doesn't lie," Gimenez said. "The item was the deal. Mayor Robaina came in front of the county commission and said I am in support of this item... I don't believe they ever wanted to go to Hiealeah. They wanted to be in downtown Miami." (Really, this is the good video).

Then he responded to Robaina's attack claims. "The only one who is being attacked throughout this campaign, you're looking at him," he said, talking about the radio jingles and attack ads that have come out against him by a PAC funded by Robaina buddies. "And the only time I get up and say anything about this is when he stands up and says he didn't support the deal. It's on tape.

"It's on tape. You have it," he said, directly addressing his rival and becoming less vanilla and sexier by the second. "It was the deal, which was rotten to the core."

Now, this is Gimenez the candidate. Gimenez the mayor, dare I say.

Robaina took the mic again, because he has to: "This is why you came out here," he told the crowd, and then went after Gimenez again -- and got booed.

"If Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez would have been so worried about everything that's happening at the county, and as vice chair of the transportation committee, maybe we wouldn't be in the problem we are with the transit problem today."

The boos could be because that was an irrelevant low blow and obvious attempt to change the subject. But maybe also Gimenez has a point. Perhaps, Julio, you do need to take a look at the video from the March 2009 meeting again, where you do speak in support of "the item."

In fact, Ladra thinks there's really no confusing your position after you thank "both the Marlins and major league baseball for their upfront committment in making sure this community is number one in their eyes," whatever that means.

Oh, yeah, it means he supported the deal.


  1. The Marlins Wanted the Hialeah Site Mr. Robaina?? Well, unfortunately for you, people actually wrote about it back then, and this is what they said:

    Rejected by Marlins, Hialeah may get baseball training facility

    By Eric Kalis
    If a deal is reached to build a baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins in downtown Miami, Hialeah, once considered a potential stadium location, could get a new Major League Baseball training complex.
    In a memo last month updating the progress of negotiations for a stadium on 9 acres of land next to the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown Miami, Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess said Major League Baseball will work with Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina to create a youth baseball academy in the city. Mr. Robaina has advocated building a stadium on 60 acres of land between Northwest 154th and 170th streets.
    A baseball academy would be built to recognize "the important contributions [Mr. Robaina] made to this project," Mr. Burgess said. "While [Mr. Robaina] might prefer the ballpark to be in Hialeah, he recognizes the complexities of the Hialeah location and the benefits of the Government Center site."
    When Marlins officials were courting cities last year, Mr. Robaina encouraged Major League Baseball to consider Hialeah and get more involved in discussions. Despite fiercely pushing for the Hialeah site, Mr. Robaina said Monday that his top priority is to keep the Marlins in Miami-Dade.
    "One of the things I emphasized was to have Major League Baseball at the table and make sure it is part of the negotiations," Mr. Robaina said. "It turned out to be what I thought. Major League Baseball has been the driving force" behind recent discussions.
    Once baseball officials became more active in the negotiations, the downtown site emerged as their top choice for a stadium, Mr. Robaina said. County officials say a $30 million funding gap must be closed for a retractable-roof stadium.
    Major League Baseball's "emphasis is on a downtown venue," the mayor said. "I tried to convince [baseball officials] that Miami is not like San Francisco, St. Louis or Washington, DC. There are different traffic patterns, and people do not necessarily go looking for entertainment value downtown."
    With negotiations progressing for a downtown stadium, Mr. Robaina asked baseball officials to consider Hialeah as a home for a baseball academy. Officials of Major League Baseball, which opened its $10 million Urban Youth Academy last year in Compton, CA, have been looking to launch another one, Mr. Robaina said. A complex in Hialeah would sit on 12 to 15 acres at the site promoted for a Marlins stadium, he said.
    The Compton facility sponsors youth baseball programs and contains fields for semiprofessional leagues and international tournaments and a training academy for umpires.
    The complex would "not be just a place to have camps," Mr. Robaina said. "There would be classrooms for training umpires and people who want to stay in baseball as a career. We would create an adjacent community complex both for kids and young adults. It would encompass a lot of levels."

  2. Gimenez conveniently distances himself from the LAST version of the Marlins deal while ignoring his work to get the deal done as Miami City Manager. He likes to characterize those early deals as somehow better but I've never seen anything substantiating his claim.

    As to the transit issue, Gimenez WAS Vice Chair and CHAIR of the county committee overseeing MDT for years. Gimenez seems to be able to make a lot of noise when it suits him but when he has actual authority over MDT, he did nothing but squawk.

    The sad fact is that Gimenez is a good man but will lose because he is a clone of Alvarez in the sense that he has never done anything in the real world. His entire career has been on our nickel. You can't unteach that kind of thinking and anyone who thinks he will reform the county is just kidding herself.

  3. the person complaining that then City Manager Gimenez was negotiating a similar deal with Major League Baseball in 2000 is absolutely incorrect. I do not know who the person is, but would also suggest he/she was not anywhere near the negotiations. I was. I was directly involved in those negotiations which ended when John Henry tucked tail and ran to Boston because the City of Miami, with Carlos Gimenez as the senior staff person on the team, demanding an ownership position in the team, in exchange for public support. The concept was that the community whould be much more inclined to support a new baseball stadium, in downtown Miami, if the public could get a direct return on their investment. Carlos Gimenez as the City Manager, did an outstanding job of standing up for the public in those negotiations. If the County Mayor would have demanded what Carlos Gimenez demanded of Major League Baseball in 2000, the community would, not only, own a new statium, but would have a chance to get their money back if the team were ever refinanced or sold to another owner.

  4. Why do we need to have this discussion? Everyone already knows Julio Robaina is a thief, loan shark, tax evader, and a liar.

  5. The idea that the local government should have an ownership stake in any private business is the height of stupidity and makes the point about Gimenez perfectly. Only a lifelong bureaucrat would think like that. The city has a function: to provide necessary government services, not build stadia and invest in private businesses. Look at how poorly Jackson is managed if you need an example. Gimenez as Mayor is a terrible idea and the post above just proves the point.

    Lastly to the blog author, the May 3, 2011 6:30 PM post contains all the elements for a cause of action for defamation by Robaina unless you can prove those allegations.

  6. Anonymous, are you psychic? There is no May 3 post that I can see. (Specifics?) I am working on one but it is in draft form because I was still tying all the public records to it. Do not worry. I've been to this ballgame lots of times. I am just bringing things to light that exist, not making things up. But thanks for the concern.

  7. Oh, wait, you mean the comment, not the post. Whew. Well, I don't know. She or he is entitled to that opinion. It is shared by quite a few people in this county. Not everyone, but some. Perhaps because of the headlines in the Herald, like the one on today's 1A. Is the paper going to face a defamation action also? I bet not.

  8. Yes, I meant the comment. The differrence between what the Herald is writing and the comment you published is that the Herald characterizes the accusations as alleged. Your comment directly claims that Robaina engaged in a felony. Check the law.

  9. I've been to the last 2 forums with the eleven candidates and I can tell you something, Julio supports the community and its' interests.

    3 reasons to vote for Robaina: 1) experience 2) wants to cut taxes, create jobs and 3) make Charter Reform a reality.

  10. Let's forget about the Marlins stadium, hopefully the next mayor will sit down again and re-negotiate . We need a mayor that helps us with property tax hike, health and education programs, and most important, the wasteful spending from the county, our tax-dollars.


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