Former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez, running for county commission in District 7, doesn't want to work with the current board of his would-be colleagues. In fact, he wants them recalled like former mayor Carlos Alvarez and former District 13 commissioner Natacha Seijas.
"We're going to get three, four, five more commissioners out in the next year and we're going to have a whole new commission in two years," Suarez said last week at the Urban Environmental League debate in Coconut Grove.
Who is we? Ladra and others assume we includes Norman Braman, who led the effort to recall the former mayor and has endorsed Suarez, and Vanessa Brito, whose PAC led the recall effort against the veteran Seijas and had originally targetted four others and is now working for Suarez on his campaign. This threesome is an odd alliance: X supports using taxpayer funds for a roof over Dolphin Sun Life Stadium and the recallers used the push button Marlins stadium deal to motivate voters. And X is supported by Alex Diaz de la Portilla, whose brother beat the opponent, former State Rep. Julio Robaina, in the senate primary last year and who then reportedly went to work for Alvarez and Seijas to fight the recall. Could Braman and Brito have been lying all along, having some other agenda when they pushed the recall? Ya think?
Let's also look at Suarez backers, who include lobbyists with a lot of influence at County Hall Chris Korge, Rosario Kennedy and Al Maloof, who has been rumored to be behind Braman's effort as well. Maloof's firm has contributed to both campaigns, however. (More on that later).
Word on the street is that the trio is first targeting Chairman Joe Martinez and Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, who are seen as the chief derailers of real reform measures. Both are up for re-election in 2012, but Suarez and Co. can't wait. Martinez is popular in his district. Barreiro may be easier to oust. Miami Voice was short something like 35 signatures when they collected recall petitions in his district. But Ladra is not sure they really tried that hard. The persistent rumor (and information from Miami Voice defectors like Barbara Walters of DFAM) is that Braman and the people who advise him (because we just know there is a puppeteer somewhere behind the cardealer) told Miami Voice to lay off Barreiro, lest the Cubans in the community take it as a personal affront that there were three Cubans on the recall ballot and nobody else. It could have backfired if Alvarez and Seijas played it right on Cuban radio.
Ladra also believes that Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who Brito vowed to go after again last month when Edmonson called her entourage a "little, ridiculous group," is on that list. Because, really, that's all the reason they need.
But Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz is safe -- for now. He has kowtowed to the recallers (read: special interests) for weeks, defending them from Edmonson at that same meeting, talking ad nauseum about their "heroic efforts" on the dais and hosting a charter reform town hall meeting with Miami Voice last week in Hialeah Gardens. Anybody can see it is out of fear he might become one of their targets. Diaz, who has come under fire for a possible conflict of interest since he does work for an airport contractor, doesn't need any more enemies.
But, as fun as it may be to watch Pepe cower before the recallers, Ladra thinks that this empty threat (read: blackmail) is dead already. The people are not going to get behind another recall. Voters are not stupid. They are coming around to these theatrical smoke and mirror games where puppeteers try to replace the decision makers with their own crowned dunces and pretend to care about reform.
Go ahead, Mayor Loco, and try to recall anybody who won't do your bidding (read: Braman's and his backers' bidding). Ladra predicts you lose that one, too.