Who needs Uncle Luke? Carlos Gimenez has snagged himself the sister!
While it may not come as a surprise, Gabrielle Redfern has become the third of the former candidates in the May 24 mayoral race to endorse the former county commissioner in the June 28 runoff. With endorsements from former State Rep. Marcelo Llorente (REP, Dist.115), who placed third in the special recall replacement race, and county fireman Jeffrey Lampert, who Ladra still thinks might have been a plant (what kind of endorsement is that?), this gives Gimenez a full third of the rest of the first ballot.
Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina has two: One from another suspected plant, former (read: fired) Miami-Dade Transit Director Roosevelt Bradley, who we are sure wants and may have been promised a job in the transit department. If one promises it to one guy, it stands to reason the other would want fair play. And Robaina has been talking a lot more about transit issues lately, blaming Gimenez for problems that others say the former commissioner inherited and had nothing to do with. (More on that later). But Ladra thinks that's not even on the radar now that Luther Campbell's nod was stolen by Robaina with an admitted illegal promise that has since been recanted (more on that later).
But right now it is about the women. Yes, plural. Because not only is Redfern, the only female candidate in a pool of 11, going to endorse Gimenez at a breakfast in downtown South Miami, but the fete is hosted by some other of the 305 Shes with a capital S that support him. Among these "women leaders," as the Gimenez press release calls them, are Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, Palmetto Bay Mayor Shelley Stancyzk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay, Cutler Bay Councilwoman Peggy Bell, Coral Gables Commissioner Maria Anderson, State Rep. Ana Rivas-Logan (REP, 114) former community council member Millie Herrera (who lost a bid for State Rep. last year), Democracy for America Miami-Dade activists Barbara Walters and Wendy Sejour, one-time Congressional candidate Annette Tadeo (who lost a bid for county commission last year), and Blanca Galvez, meditation guru Kathy Shea and artist Gisella Llorens.
Ladra is really mostly looking forward to seeing Redfern, a firecracker and truly engaged and focused woman who would be a tremendous asset to this community if she stays publicly involved. I was hoping she would continue her activism, which she has had success with in Miami Beach, to the county level. She sort of disappeared from public eye, for a bit, reportedly licking her wounds since placing 8th in the race, with under 1.3 percent, or 2,446 votes. But she did better than two perennial candidates,Eddie Lewis and Farid Khavari, and the other millionaire, former community councilman Wilbur Bell. And she scored higher in her Miami Beach home turf -- where she has been an activist and built name recognition in a city commission race -- getting almost 7 percent and more than 8 percent in some of those precincts and could help Gimenez win more voters there. She should be proud of herself. I am proud of her and I believe many of these "women leaders" are also.
Of course Gimenez is only "glad to accept" her endorsement, he said in a statement. (Only "glad"?) "Gabrielle has a history of standing up for what she believes in, and I look forward to her ideas in rooting out government waste, fraud and corruption. Gabrielle and I share common sense solutions to reaching a government that we can afford, all while improving the quality of life for all our citizens."
And while I am sure he will listen to her, as he should because this woman has some great insight and ideas, and while Ladra knows that Redfern would just love a job in transit (or did, weeks ago when she confided that she hoped for that since she wasn't going to win), Ladra is also quite sure that Gimenez did not and would not promise a job to her or any of her friends for her endorsement. I mean, if he were the type of guy to do that, which everyone knows he is not, he would have done it with Luke, who was a far more valuable campaign asset (was, I say, before the doublecross for a political favor was admitted on tape). And if Gabrielle were to try a quid pro quo for her nod, the smart cookie would go with the surer bet, who probably needs help with the female bloc vote far more than Gimenez. If Robaina forgave Luke saying he bought the black vote, Ladra is sure he can forgive Redfern calling him a suspected criminal at one forum.
No, Ladra knows Redfern truly believes in Gimenez, who she calls "a dedicated public servant." Unlike Luke -- who took shots at Robaina during the campaign, calling him a slumlord and saying three times in public forums that Robaina had bought two other black candidates in the race to dilute the black vote -- Redfern has been respectful to Gimenez during forums, even when the two disagreed, which wasn't often.
"During the primary season, when we did manage to differ, Carlos was eager to listen to my side," Redfern said in the public statement. "As an activist, I believe Carlos can forge a more open, inclusive government out of the ashes we have been left with and begin to cure ills in transit, economic and urban development and our public health system. Carlos is a man of his righteous word, not just any word, and he is the only candidate I trust to lead Miami-Dade County today."
She did not return a call from Ladra before the press release went out when we heard about the endorsement Tuesday night. Instead, she texted me: "Sorry to have missed your call. I hope to see you in South Miami in the morning."
So glad the feeling is mutual, Ms. Redfern. The first cortadito is on me.