The always vengeful Carollo countered. He invoked race. As if Stierheim was a roiling racist. “Apparently, what he thought is that Hispanics can’t govern themselves and that we need someone like him, that he considers himself the ‘great white hope.’ He is very mistaken,” Carollo charged.
Herald reporter Afshar noticed, however, that the new city manager made these racially tinged charges Thursday only during his interview with Spanish-language media.
One might have thought that somewhere along those 45 years of public service, as Stierheim led the county and the city and the school district and the county again through one racially divisive crisis after another, someone might have noticed disparaging racial attitudes.
Or, if Carollo had some private insight about these great white hope pretensions, why on earth would he have persuaded Stierheim to take the Doral job last month?
Carollo has his own rather divisive history. A 1983 Miami Herald profile of Carollo noted his support for George Wallace’s 1976 presidential bid. In 1979, the then-cop said he had been reprimanded by a superior for placing a cartoon depicting Ku Klux Klan figures into the mailbox of a black fellow officer. (He called it a prank.)
Mostly, Carollo’s years as a gun-toting city commissioner and mayor in Miami were marked by wild accusations. He claimed 10,000 communist agents had infiltrated Miami, many of them landing jobs in the city police department. Commies were everywhere. They were certainly behind the FBI and state attorney investigations into his questionable business practices. A 1984 grand jury, looking into the public dollars bleeding into his private security firm, didn’t indict him, but noted practices “which certainly suggest the appearance of impropriety.”
In 1983, Carollo pulled off a stunningly vicious political double-cross, after Mayor Maurice Ferre called a press conference to highlight Commissioner Carollo’s expected endorsement. Instead, as the cameras rolled, he denounced Ferre’s “racist campaign of hate.”
On Thursday, he was at it again. A double cross, laced with racial accusations.
“I knew he was paranoid. But I didn’t think he’d turn on me,” Stierheim told me Friday.
The question looming over Doral is how long it will be before those same regrets come spilling from the lips of Mayor Luigi Boria.