The candidates who have filed to run so far in the upcoming Hialeah city elections were forced to show their hand by City Clerk David Concepcion this week after he was reminded that state law required candidates who ran in groups to stake claim to one before raising funds.
Or should I say slight of hand? True to Hialeah politics, not everything is what it seems on paper.
It is quite obvious even to a dog like Ladra that the ballot will not reflect the current candidate grouping as provided by the clerk. Maybe it's strategic positioning -- not playing your cards so you can see how the others lay and make a more informed decision. But it won't work if everybody is doing it and everybody knows that everybody is doing it. So. maybe they didn't know what they were doing. It was Monday. They were rushed. It seems nobody had even noticed this apparent violation of state law that requires candidates on a ballot with two or more similar groups to indicate a group -- until one of the actual candidates brought it to Concepcion's attention. Can everybody guess who? It had to be former councilman and know-it-all Alex Morales -- whose first name is really Sean, after Bond, James Bond -- one of four candidates declared for the open seat vacated by Pepe Yedra, defeated by term limits. Don't make Ladra laugh.
So let's start with that one, Group 1: There is no way all three of those candidates -- Fernando Alvarez, Ramiro Sicre and Tony Vega (who hasn't reported raising a dime) are going to stay in a crowded ring with Mr. Name Recognition and his widely-discussed and envied numbers. Watch for Alvarez to stay. It also makes sense to think that there might be some alliances sought between the three men, since they are likely going to face the strength of numbers in the form of at least one slate, maybe two if acting alcaldito Carlos Hernandez decides to run with the rest of the incumbents -- or ditch them (except for Council President Isis "Gavelgirl" Garcia-Martinez) to save himself. Look for at least some of them to reach out to former State Rep. Rudy Garcia and his mayoral campaign. Ladra has heard that Alvarez already has.
Next: It is similarly unlikely (read: no way) that former cop turned housing authority official Danny Bolaños (whose name recognition has to be good as the son of longtime former Chief Rolando Bolaños so Ladra can't understand why Lago's still-undisclosed poll would not include him) will run against former Councilwoman Cindy Miel in Group 3, both for the seat now occupied by Councilwoman Vivian Casals-Muñoz, when they are sort of simpatico and should slate together. In the As Hialeah Churns episode version, Danny takes on Casals-Muñoz -- who might be a criminal accomplice (poetic justice) headed for a public court of an entirely different kind anyway as the official notary of the 1st Hialeah Bank of Julito (read: valuable witness) so that Miel can have a rematch with Gavelgirl, who does not have the funds (unless she is holding out) for an absentee ballot machine remix. But, because Garcia-Martinez is allegedly stronger in Lago's poll (which, now that we think of it, we wonder how it was paid for), she may be paired against the strong Bolaños name and Miel, who lost to Gavelgirl once before, will be pitted against Easy Out Vivian.
Because these decisions are being made right now at a much higher level, people.
Really it's all going to depend on former Mayor and current mayoral candidate Raul Martinez, who, as everybody knows, is calling all the shots. As usual. "I'm not calling anything," he told me, and you can hear the smile over the telephone wire. "People ask me for advice because they trust me. They know I know what I'm doing." And what he is doing is calling the shots for one slate of candidates. Who can blame him? Martinez does not only have to get himself elected. If he wants to get anything done as mayor, he also needs friendlies in four of the five council seats up for grabs (the seat acting alcaldito Carlos Hernandez gave up, now held by Pablito Hernandez, who has not filed to keep it. Hmmmm.). That's probably why he is reportedly chatting with Miel, once a member of Martinez's opposing faction, who naturally wants to forge an alliance and ride his majesty Raul's robe into office with longtime loyalists Morales, Bolaños. So, Cindy makes three. And, dicen las malas lenguas, 0that former mayor and Councilman Julio Martinez, who was all politically riled up at the La Carretta fundraiser for Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez last month is the fourth wheel on the Martinezmobile. Candidates, start your engines.
Next in Group 2: No way the vulnerable councilman Jose Caragol (if only because Ladra thinks all the incumbents can be swept out) will remain unopposed. No way Martinez will allow that golden opportunity to escape for the aforementioned reason. Look for Martinez (Julio) to face the former police spokesman and potty-mouthed viejo verde. Stay unopposed? Read my lips: No. Way.
Next in Group 6: The Carlos/Pablo Hernandez seat right now has one candidate signed up for it, Daisy Castellanos. But Ladra predicts that she will soon be out of the race. (More on that later).
Ladra predicts a lot of changing lanes before the final ballot order is made public. Candidates have until Sept. 9, qualifying deadline, to make a final decision, Concepcion said. But if they change their group after August 19, they need to notify contributors and be ready for refunds.
A+, David. Apparently, Morales is a good teacher. Maybe he would make a good councilman.