When former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina -- who we hear owns several taxi cab medallions himself -- rallied with cabbies at Miami International Airport on Tuesday, he violated a county ordinance that prohibits campaigning at MIA.
And he was kicked off the property.
Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Jose Abreu told Ladra that he heard about the rally -- Robaina used a bullhorn even -- about 20 minutes into it and immediately headed to the "taxi lot" to stop it. He explained to Robaina that there was a county ordinance against it.
"You can't campaign on a county facility. That's something you just don't do," Abreu said. "We went and within 20 to 25 minutes told the good mayor that he couldn't do that here. And he left. I don't think he put up any resistance. He said, 'Look, I was invited here.' I told him, 'We can't have this stuff.'"
Besides being illegal, it is disruptive, Abreu said. "I'm responsible for operating this airport and this is a business. The taxi lot is a dispatching holding area for about 400 taxis and their drivers and it does not lend itself for that kind of thing."
While Abreu said a few "folks" say he only took action because the unions are behind former county commissioner Carlos Gimenez in the mayoral race, Abreu said he got more flack from the union members who were not allowed to invite Gimenez over. "The union is really angry," he said. Because while they abided by the rules, Robaina did campaign, albeit for a short moment, capturing the cabbies endorsement while getting free "earned media" on Channel 10 with Michael Putney. http://www.local10.com/politics/28312727/detail.html
"My opponent, who has been here for the last seven years and has been part of the problem for the last seven years, has not taken care of you," said Robaina, who is good at taking care of his buddies. He spoke on a bullhorn to applause and shouts of support and got the cabbies association endorsement after he promised one critic, who said politicians only visit them (illegally) during the campaigns, that he would come back after the election.
Well, by then he will probably be an out-of-work, defeated mayoral candidate, so it may be legal. Unless he starts campaigning for some other seat -- maybe in Hialeah.