Politics: CRUUUNCH! Mayor Wrecks His – Er, Our – New BMW

Was it something I wrote, Mayor?

You don’t think, do ya, that Carlos Alvarez might have had my column about him from a few weeks ago on his mind when he plowed into a pregnant driver and her Jeep in the Gables one morning last week?

Or might it have been that he was distracted by all the public corruption investigations swirling around top cop pals of his at the Miami-Dade Police Department?

Or perhaps it was his popularity rating among the local citizenry, which is at Dick Cheney levels?

No one was injured.  Alvarez the Arrogant at least admitted his fault.  Kept his cool.  Was issued a $179 ticket.  His wallet will also be short a thousand for the lady’s Jeep, plus another 10,000 for the front-end damage he sustained.

Or will it even be from out of his wallet?

The vehicle in question – a 2010 550i Gran Turismo BMW.  Remember that one from my July 8 column?  That’s the one you and I paid for.  He’s had it only since June.

We also paid for two other cars, Chevy Suburbans (Geez, how many taxpayer-subsidized wheels does this guy need?).  And throw in two drivers.

Why the hell does he need two drivers?  Is he ever in two vehicles at the same time?

Wonder if he’d have been a wee bit more careful with his expensive four-wheeled toy if he’d been the one who paid for it, not us.  Hmmm.

The week before the mayor’s fender-bender, the Big Apple’s Michael Bloomberg – who often gets to work by taking his city’s subway trains (Hey, Carlos:  Ever heard of the Metrorail?  Try it sometime.) – unveiled the first electric Smart car recharging station, the first of 100 planned for that area.  As for his own mayoral SUV, Bloomberg says he still uses it only because the NYPD hasn’t yet found for him an electric vehicle reliable enough to replace it.  But he makes sure he doesn’t waste gas.

“I used to go out in the summer and get into the car that the city nicely provides me and it was nice and cool,” hizzoner told the New York Post.  “Now I get in and it’s stifling hot.  So I know that the detectives are doing what we ask them to do:  Don’t idle.

With that, Bloomberg took the E train back to City Hall.

You think Carlos has ever ordered his driver not to idle his car – whichever of the three he happens to be using at the time?

Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty already uses a Smart car.  A 2008 convertible model.  And he drives it himself.  He says that he made the switch for the same reasons that are driving many Americans to rethink what they drive, and because he wanted to lead by example.

Lead by example.  Hmmm.  Carlos, any thoughts?

Berkeley, Calif., Mayor Tom Bates sold his beloved Volvo sedan a year ago and has gone car-free.  That’s right.  Car-free. He’s now trying to encourage other city residents to follow his lead to some extent, reducing their carbon footprints, even if it just means reducing their car usage.  He recently promoted a one-week campaign to convince Californians to get out of their cars and try other forms of transportation for one week.

Since ditching his car, Bates estimates he has walked almost 10 million steps (about 5,000 miles), lost 20 pounds, and, in his blog, reports having “become a better mayor in the process.”

Gee, Carlos, maybe you, too, could do likewise and convince South Floridians to use their cars less and public transit more.  But that might require you to lead by example.

Nah.  Won’t work.

When local officials get to reward themselves, at public expense, with fancy, spiffy cars the likes of which most of us don’t own, and to sweeten the perks with stuff like car allowances and drivers, the opportunity for privilege abuse becomes inviting.

The kids have as much as taken over the candy store.  One of those candy stores, the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, is in dire need of a grand-scale sweeping out, beginning with the pompous potentate whose throne is on the 29th floor and whose royal carriage now sits in some local auto repair shop.

NECROMANCING THE BONES

Just when you thought there was absolutely, conceivably nothing crazy left for that crackpotty cretin in Caracas to craftily and crassly create, comes – sorpresa! – something that sounds so Hugo Chavez, so like something he’d do.

And did.

Venezuela’s Dictator Demento exhumed the bones of his revolutionary hero, Simon Bolivar, on the presumption – his theory – that Bolivar was arsenic-poisoned in 1830 and did not really die from TB.

It doesn’t end there, folks.

Two weeks earlier, Ecuador’s visiting prez came calling, toting with him a box containing the remains of Manuela Saenz, Bolivar’s one-time lover.  And thus, the excuse for a perfect photo op of Loco Hugo ceremoniously “reuniting” the lovers as her remains were reburied with Simon’s.

Everybody say “ahhh.”

What’s to account for this latest spurt of wackiness, even wackier than what the world is accustomed to expecting from this wacko?

Critics and observers note that the bolivar is dropping in value, inflation is at 31%, and the masses are growing restless with Presidente Cuckoo Bird’s unfulfilled promises of economic revitalization.  Oh, and there’s elections coming up in September.  So whenever his image starts to tarnish, Señor Nutcase just trots out an attention diversion.  Like calling George W. Bush the devil in a U.N. speech in 2006.  Or threatening to turn off his oil spigot to the U.S.

Or digging up the South American version of George Washington.

And that’s what Venezuelans were treated to on all their TV networks on the evening of July 16.  The video can be found at Youtube.  As the national anthem played in the background, a group of white-frocked scientists rolled back a black cloth, revealing a skeleton on the table below.

At this point – knowing Hugo – it would not have been out of character of him had he chosen this very moment to jump into the box and start embracing the bones.  Petting them.  Kissing them.  Even humping them.  It would have been one necrophiliac moment for the history books.

I’m surprised he didn’t ask for attendants to fetch a pillow and blanket for him in order that he might spend the night with the bones.

Chavez said on his Twitter page that he cried when he first saw the bones.  “It’s not a skeleton,” he Tweeted.  “It’s the Great Bolivar, who has returned.”  (Linus:  “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  It has returned!”)

What a lost opportunity that those present at the exhumation didn’t tip Hugo into the box, quickly nail the lid shut, then swear in the saintly bones of Bolivar as the new president of the republic.  It would have been a worthy switch.  Darn.

How soon, pray tell, can Presidente Fruit Loop be put into a box of his own?  Will someone please treat him to a heaping helping of arsenic?

But why’d you all have to put Simon back in the box so fast, Hugo?  He’s been rotting in it for the last 180 years.  For Pedro’s sake, why not let the 227-year-old guy out for a night or two on the town?  He hadn’t had a drink in – what – two centuries?

Chavez could have really drawn some extra mileage out of it by making an extended national celebration of this macabre event.  He might have convened a formal state dinner at Miraflores Palace that very night – with the bones occupying the guest of honor’s chair at the head table, right next to Hugo.

And what about a military parade in the bones’ honor?  The bones could have taken center stage on the reviewing stand.

They could have propped the bones up in the back seat of an open-air limousine and conducted it down the capital’s Avenida Bolivar, throngs of cheering crowds turning out to line the procession route.

Seeing how Venezuelans revere their beauty pageants as if a national religion (they’ve produced more total Miss Worlds and Miss Universes – 11 in all – than any other country) they could have made the bones an honorary judge for the next Miss Venezuela pageant.

Perhaps the bones could have served as honorary captain of the nation’s next World Cup soccer team in 2014.  Or have been named a roving goodwill ambassador throughout the continent!  The world!

When’s the last time the masses saw the great Bolivar?  And when might they ever in their lifetimes get to see him again?  If this becomes a routine and Hugo decides to take Simon out of the box, say, every national independence day, they might yet get a chance to glimpse the bones if they missed out this time.  Charge admission for an in-person viewing!  Reduce the national deficit!

I’ll bet Hugo will want to be laid to rest somewhere near the bones when his own time comes (oh, let it be soon!).  He’s probably already left instructions in his will that he be laid in the box with Simon.

Two men.  One coffin.  Yet – some might contend – two different destinations:  Simon to heaven and Hugo…well, not.

The Crazy One takes offense with the suggestion that his obsession with Bolivar is excessive.  He recently accused opponents of spreading false rumors that he occasionally leaves an empty chair for Bolivar’s “spirit” during meetings or when he dines with family.

“What’s the objective?” Presidente Insane-in-the-Membrane asked in a televised speech.  He answered his own question:  “To label Chavez as crazy.”

Well, sir, you’re kinda giving us fodder to.  Plenty of fodder.

As for what Simon himself thought about all this attention, graffiti appeared on walls throughout Caracas:  “Let me rest in peace.  Bolivar.”

Hugo’s next big exhumation purportedly will be that of his missing sanity.  Good luck on that one.  Nobody knows where to even begin to look for where that’s buried.

About Charles Branham-Bailey

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