While Papi has been mum on the threat to fire firefighters in Hialeah -- and potential impact to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue when the county starts taking up the slack on the city's 911 calls -- Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's namesake son and spitting image has been spotted in Hialeah in recent days.
Attorney Carlos "Junior" Gimenez was seen in the city clerk's office at City Hall, at the Hialeah Housing Authority and, twice, at Maruch restaurant, the unofficial meeting place (conveniently behind the fire union office) for the Back to the Future slate that Gimenez is supporting.
"I was meeting with candidates whom I believe have the capacity to lead, and, equally as important, have the best interests of the city at heart," Gimenez told Ladra. He said he is not working for any of the candidates officially, but was "reviewing several legal issues" and advising them pro-bono. "Let's just say that rule breaking, and circumventing Florida Public Records Law and city financial disclosure rules seems to be an all too consistent pastime in the City of Progress. That practice needs to end, immediately, and that may require private citizen action if the City cannot govern itself accordingly," Gimenez said and immediately stole Ladra's heart. Hey Junior, if it goes to court and you want to make it a class-action headliner, I know a wiseass watchdog and one pissed-off firefighter who will sign on as plaintiffs.
Friday, he met with former councilman Alex "The Professor" Morales, who was also the director of Hialeah Housing until former mayor Julio Robaina fired him, at Maruch. On Monday, he met with Morales again, Cindy Miel, and veteran campaign consultant, freelance fundraiser and Hialeah homegirl Irene Secada, who is working with or for both candidates as well as former councilman and mayor Julio Martinez. On Friday, Junior was with Secada again in City Clerk David Concepcion's office requesting public records (and I bet he has a quicker response than Ladra gets). He wants the contacts on all the council members blackberries and cellphones (Hey! Ladra wants a copy of that!) a list of all employees with addresses, date of births and phone numbers (me too!) and a list of every resident in Hialeah Housing (ditto!), according to Concepcion. (Public records requests are public records, too! Ain't Florida law grand?)
Gimenez told Ladra he will likely be hosting a fundraiser for the four council candidates (including former cop and HHA employee Danny Bolaños) in mid-October. He and his boss, State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R, District 36) already had a fundraiser for Frank Lago, who is not yet officially on the slate but is not running against a slate mate (despite pressure from the back-stabbing council incumbents that urged him to go against the professor). Lago, former chief of staff to Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño -- who is supporting former State Sen. Rudy Garcia (R, District 40) for mayor -- has walked door-to-door with Miel, who is definitely on the Back to the Future slate, and has been hanging around the Back pack. Gimenez Junior's involvement might be as close as dad gets to this heated race and the candidates that helped him in Hialeah. After all, it could get ugly and his allies have baggage that could hurt him come time for his turn in less than 12 months (for the primary). Junior and fellow Gimenez allies the DLPs will likely collect checks for slate boss, former Mayor Raul Martinez, but no fundraisers.
The Dark Prince told Ladra himself he doesn't favor the fund-stumping fetes. "If someone wants to make a donation, send me a check. You don't have to get dressed up for an event," Martinez said.
He'd rather debate anyway.