So this is what desperation smells like.
In the beginning, it was the odor of dollars – tens of thousands – contributed by the police union, Marlins owners, and other backers.
Then it was the aroma of legal briefs – reams of pages – being filed at the county courthouse to stave off the recall and keep the ballots from being printed.
It was the stink of a “Citizens for Truth” PAC, concocted to thwart the enemy and carpet-bomb the populace with propaganda.
Finally – last week – it was the stench of misuse of public employees: 12 county transit workers excused from their jobs – away from the buses they should have been steering, away from the passengers they should have been transporting – in order to electioneer against the recall of hizzoner. All while working on the county clock and drawing county pay.
Hizzoner. His honor. That’s the last time you’ll see me use that term here, in regards to Carlos Alvarez. For everything about this perfidious putz now reeks with dishonor.
Alvarez is about to get his ass kicked, his clock cleaned, insert your favorite euphemism here, and it won’t be the fault of Norman Braman, nor the recall campaign’s organizers, nor the thousands who turned out to sign petitions, nor the county clerk who certified the signatures, nor the judge who allowed the recall to proceed, nor even all the many voters who will have had the final say as of Tuesday night.
The fault will rest squarely, as it always has, with Carlos the Arrogant himself. The coda that will be added Tuesday night to his political biography – to his ignominious, abruptly-abbreviated term as county mayor – is all his doing.
He never got why the people grew fed up with him, and, apparently, still doesn’t get it. It’s a laundry list of bad mistakes and tone-deaf errors, coupled with a contempt for the citizenry, a (perceived) higher regard for county employees over a public that pays his and their salaries, and an impunity for ethics violations and skirting the law, that makes it all so abundantly clear now:
The guy should never have been elected mayor to begin with.
The latest sorry episode from County Hall involving the transit employees (a “transit education committee,” they were called) is the nail in the coffin to such a sorry mayor and his (mis)administration.
The smell of desperation has engulfed the man’s mayoralty, and in these last days before the fate of his twenty remaining months as county mayor is decided, we sense that what Carlos the Arrogant is worthy of is not 20 more months in County Hall but more like some time in the county jail.
Yes, Jail to the Chief.
An ex-chief, too, as in police chief, for he was once the director of the county police department. In 2004, voters considered this question: A cop for mayor? How perfect! Just the career background we need. A cop in the top job won’t go bad, will keep folks honest, will serve our best interests better than others could, will be the best antidote to the corruption that corrodes local politics. A cop! Now there’s the answer.
What were we thinking?
Now we see that having a cop in the top job was just about the worst choice we could have made.
As mayor, Alvarez the ex-police director protected his cronies in the MDPD, including when some, along with the mayor’s chief of staff, were caught moonlighting in Panama, at taxpayers’ expense.
So when the transit workers got nailed last week electioneering on the mayor’s behalf, and on county time, it was just an identical shenanigan from out of the same Alvarez play book that reads, “If we get away with it, fine. If we’re caught, I’ll look the other way and we’ll all act like we we never knew it was illicit.”
Yes, I say: Jail to the Chief.
Rather than the upstanding character of rectitude we expected, he has disappointingly proven to be exemplary of the same corrupt, contemptuous politicos who’ve scummed and scammed and thieved and usurped their ways through local politics for decades.
Carlos Alvarez wasn’t above them. He was and is one of them.
Of last week’s transgression, he feigns ignorance, but the damage is done. The very aggression he has deployed these last several months in a desperate attempt to retain his office is the very zeal that early voters are finding most repulsive. Enough so to turn out in higher-than-expected numbers for the privilege of inking in that circle on their ballots signifying they want the bum thrown out.
Early voting continues through the weekend. Tuesday is your last chance to register your verdict – thumbs up or thumbs down – to the mayor who, right to the end, still thumbs his nose at us.
Jorge and Carmen Barahona should never have been allowed to adopt children. This much is so evidently true.
It took the horrific murder of the little girl in their charge, Nubia, 10, and the near slaying of her twin brother, Victor, for a distressed and disgusted world to realize this truth.
Now, these two depraved monsters, each slapped with a first-degree murder charge, languish in jail cells awaiting trial – hallelujah! – as Nubia lies in a medical examiner’s freezer awaiting burial and Victor recovers from toxic chemical burns in a convalescence home.
And, as a state Department of Children & Families once more finds itself ass-high in a quagmire of scandal, once more exposed as a bureaucracy that still doesn’t have its act together, still can’t adequately ensure the safety of the children under its protection, still can’t get it right after too, too many cases already over the years resulting in abuse. Or worse.
This is an agency for whom it just hasn’t hit home. One after another, these kids perish and DCF transfers an administrator or two, fires a social worker or three, and tweaks policy. But to what end?
Perhaps a large, poster-sized class photo of a smiling Nubia hanging in the work area of every DCF office throughout this state might serve to remind these folks of their solemn obligation.
To hers would have to be added the photos of these dead: Rilya Wilson. Latiana Hamilton. Gregory Love. Zachary Bennett. And more, many more; too many to name here.
Pretty quickly, it would require a museum gallery’s-worth of wall space to remind the DCF bureaucrats of the dire consequences of their failure, time and again, to sufficiently protect Florida’s most vulnerable children.
“If there ever was a case where the death penalty would apply,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle reflected on Monday, “it would seem to apply in this one.”
Damn right it ought to.
Horrifically, it already has been applied in this case.
For whatever real or perceived disobedience she may have committed for those two demented brutes to unleash their homicidal fury upon her, little Nubia – in what should have been a peaceful and safe home environment – was summarily sentenced to death and executed.
No less than that same punishment should now befall the Barahonas. But should they escape it, the next suitable one would be for them to sit confined in prison cells for the rest of their rotten-to-the-core lives. Somewhat like, but less abject than, the bathtub to which they confined little Victor, bound hand and foot, and within earshot of the room in which they bludgeoned his sister to her death while he helplessly listened.
A sister who’ll never celebrate her Sweet 16th, or wear a prom gown, or attend her high school graduation ceremony. Who’ll never fall in love, marry, pursue a career, or raise a family of her own.
But saddest of all: She’ll never know what it might have been like to live in a loving home, the apple of the eyes of parents from whom flowed such love.
She’ll never again, at least, be beaten and caged, tied up and tortured.
Nubia’s torment is now over. Her brother is in safer hands, trustfully to now begin the excruciatingly long healing process from emotional trauma that will doubtless last longer than the physical, possibly for the better part of his life. Two other Barahona kids have also been removed to safety.
Let those goddamned monsters’ torment – courtesy of the legal system – now commence.
SHUT UP, MIKE HUCKABEE
Shut’cher piehole and quit bad-mouthing my girl, Natalie Portman.
Huck, a possible ’12 presidential candidate (unelectable, however) peed on Nat’s celebration following her Oscar win last week, declaring that “it’s unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock.”
Oh, how hypocritical one can be! Did he say anything when Bristol, daughter of fellow neo-con Sarah Palin (another unelectable), sprouted a pea in the pod – too, without benefit of a marriage license? Nope.
Neo-cons picking fights with Hollywood over family values is unwise. Just ask Dan (Murphy Brown) Quayle (unelectable to anything since 1988), for whom a political Amber Alert (anybody seen his missing political career of late?) is in order.
To date, neither Newt Gingrich (unelectable) nor any other GOP presidential wannabe has put in their two-cents-worth. Good.
ANOTHER HEAD-SCRATCHER FROM YOUR GUV
For his choice to head up Enterprise Florida, Slick Rick has hired the chief of economic development for Mississippi Gov. (and president-wannabe) Haley Barbour (unelectable).
Because when you think “economic development,” you want to tap the guy who was in charge of it for the state that only happens to be the nation’s poorest and least economically-developed.
Way to go, Slick.
MA’AM, HE CAN GO ANYWHERE HE WANTS. DEAL WITH IT.
Time: Last Friday afternoon. Event: Awaiting the Obama motorcade’s zip down a traffic-cleared 41st St.
Overheard from a middle-aged African-American woman off from work, waiting at a bus stop, complaining about B.O.’s traffic tie-up delaying her trip home:
“Why does he have to come here?” she grumped into her phone. “Can’t he just stay where he’s at?”
Not more than fifteen feet away, 3 elementary school-aged African-American girls with a sunnier countenance sat on the curbside together, anxiously awaiting a chance of a lifetime, one to later brag to schoolmates about. Justin Beleibers? Nah. On this day, Obamaniacs.
Up and down the street, awaiting the caravan, were Moms holding hands with their kids, shop keepers and merchants pouring out of their restaurants and salons – all as 41st paused to catch the president as he passed
At 5:20, preceded by an advance fleet of local motorcycle cops, two identical limos, flags flying from the hoods, rolled off the Julia Tuttle at brisk speed, with a score of followup cars and emergency vehicles bringing up the rear.
Nobody in the back seat of the first limo, but in the second, there he was
The girls got their glimpse. Even the Grump’s incessant yakety-yakking ceased as he passed.
B.O., once again, was on the Billion-Dollar Sandbar, dropping in on the Fontainebleau (where he stopped during his Oct. ’09 and Aug. ’10 visits). Wonder if they’ve issued him a frequent-guest membership card by now.