Ladra went from the surreal to the completely ridiculous when she stepped outside City Hall during Wednesday's budget hearing after she was trespassed from the building by police on orders of the chief. As she took a short walk to a group of fellow bogus budget objectors talking outside, a gentleman came up to her and asked if she was Elaine de Valle. "Yes," I said a little hesitantly, thinking he could be another Sergio Gonzalez. But the man only wanted to thank me for my work and hand me a flyer he found on his car in the parking lot at City Hall when he left the council chambers (apparently on his own accord). On the plain letter-sized, white paper, in all capital letters, a very rudimentary flyer with zero creative flair says that former Hialeah Mayor and current candidate Raul Martinez and I are communists.
"It's on all the windshields on all the cars in the parking lot," the gentleman said.
What surprised me was not that someone in Hialeah might call us communists, erroneously of course, since communists don't really exists. Except inside City Hall where they try to conceal information and intimidate their enemies, firing employees for political payback and hiring cronies and campaign contributors. More and more Ladra has heard people compare the current climate at City Hall like Cuba or Venezuela, where individual freedoms and constitutional rights do not exist. Martinez knew this would come as a Democrat who did the most unCuban thing you can do in exile and ran against fomer U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R., District 25). Eh, I've been called a communist before, too, and it really doesn't bother me because there is no such thing. The people who call themselves communist are almost without exception opportunists in disguise. And the people who call other people communist really mean to say Democrat.
No, what surprised me -- and perhaps even gave me a little lift in my step -- was that I got top billing. How do you like them apples, Mr. Mayor? "ELAINE DEL VALLE Y RAUL MARTINEZ" Not "RAUL MARTINEZ Y ELAINE DEL VALLE." Oh, just wait one cockamaney minute. That's why I got the first line: the Y is awkward and the writer didn't know if it was proper to use an E instead. Aw, man. Well, still... it's absolutely a dubious yet somewhat thrilling honor to be on a double-header billing with the Raul Martinez no matter where that is. Although we should shoot for a marquee or a headline next, don't you think Mr. Mayor?
While the flyer is an obvious, albeit tiny, attempt at a smear campaign, it is so insignificant and misdirected that it is infinitely more amusing than troubling. I mean, I am not even a candidate. But since I have felt like people are campaigning against me, perhaps someone got confused and thought so, too. I also find the flyer a little fulfilling. In fact, I'm going to have it framed. And I practically had to fight Martinez for it. He wanted to keep it but gave it back when I promised to make him a copy.
Martinez was similarly tickled by the lackluster leaflet -- you know, even though his name was second. At least it's spelled right. Those who know Ladra are nodding their heads because that little annoying and unwanted l in the middle de has been the bane of my existence since grade school. But even with that extra needless letter, the flyer was totally worth having been ejected from the building by order of Police Chief Mark Overton, who should have maybe been outside watching for these political vandals rather than inside harassing council critics and protecting su alcaldito Carlos Hernandez from I don't even know what.
Well, Overton can make it up to me for all the times he's tried to mess it up for me by investigating now. I wonder if there are any video cameras outside City Hall, the courthouse across the street or any of the nearby shops on Palm Avenue that we can peruse for the hours of the meeting.
Now that could be even more amusing than the flyer. I want my own copy on DVD. And I would definitely post it on youtube for everyone's amusement.