As everyone had expected and determined, Ladra is going to come out -- on Election Day no less -- for Raul Martinez in the Hialeah mayoral contest. Maybe it's a self-fullfilling prophecy.
But it's not because Martinez is bigger than life or better equipped for the enormous task of going through the city's financial fiasco and finding out where Fido hid the bones. It's because former State Sen. Rudy Garcia seems to have the same aversion to truth and transparency that su alcaldito Carlos Hernandez suffers from.
And, no wonder, they both have the same padrino: former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina .
Ladra got her hands on emails that show a TV commercial that smears Martinez with out-of-context footage of a 1999 scuffle on the Palmetto Expressway by Ana Carbonell, Robaina's campaign manager on his failed bid for the county mayor's seat who was with the Garcia camp early on but made an abrupt break weeks later when she failed to deliver public endorsements from Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart. Dated Sept. 22 and Oct. 14 and 17, the emails's subject line refers to Citizens Action Inc., the PAC that is partially funded by the Truth for our Community PAC headed by Robaina crony Julio Ponce. Carbonell did not return a call and an email sent to her Tuesday. But her consulting firm, The Factor, gave a $500 contribution to Garcia's campaign.
That's one interesting flow chart. And while the Senator denies any ties to this or any PAC (more on that later), the connect-the-dots is proof enough for Ladra that Robaina is secretly supporting Garcia. We think he is secretly supporting su alcaldito also, after hearing from several people that Robaina called them personally to ask them to support his protege Hernandez. So maybe Robaina is just ABR, Anybody But Raul. And that's no surprise. Raul will be the only one to bring out everything that Robaina and Hernandez did wrong. All the money they stole or diverted. All the contracts they gave away. All the positions they created for their friends. All the illegal firing and disciplinary action they have taken. Hernandez would continue to cover up for his mentor/master and Garcia, even if he hadn't made a deal with the devil, might hide some scurilous details to keep the image of Hialeah as clean on the outside as he pretends to be.
The problem with that is that the putrid, decomposition on the inside will kill you -- or, rather, the residents and taxpayers of Hialeah.
"I don't know anything about any PACs," Garcia told Ladra just after noon outside the Hialeah Moose Lodge, the polling site with the 4th largest number of voters in the city. Turnout was unexpectedly low in the morning and early afternoon, especially after such heavy eary voting and absentee ballot voting. But maybe that's why. "A lot of people voted already," Garcia said.
But what does he know? He can't even admit to his own PACs. Because at the same time as Ladra and cameraman extraordinaire Raul "El Toro" Torres were interviewing Garcia at the Moose Lodge, Jose Fuentes, a political consultant who gave $1,000 to the Conservative Leadership Coalition, was sending texts out to friends and contacts to remind them to "vote for Rudy." The Leadership Coalition, chaired by Jose "Pepe" Riesco, has paid for attack ads against Hernandez. So Garcia uses one PAC to attack Martinez and another to attack su alcaldito. That helps him stay even more visibly "above the fray" when he's really in the thick of it with the rest of them.
In fact, Garcia is the only one not to get attacked by a secret PAC. He got hit in a mailer by the Hernandez campaign that smeared both Garcia and Martinez. But not by a PAC.
"I told you so," Martinez told Ladra, somewhat ticked off because it's hard to just take what he says at face value. Maybe I've been impacted by the negative campaigning against him. "What else do I need to do to show that I am not the bad guy?"
Nothing Mr. Mayor. The other guys are doing it for you.