In My Opinion

Fred Grimm: The real skinny from real mayors

The Miami Herald’s news buddies over at WLRN initiated a whimsical project a few weeks ago, asking us regular folks what we’d do “If I were mayor.”

If this had been initiated by a sports talk station, expressions of mayoral ambitions would have been loud and acerbic: Taser vagrants, install luxury skyboxes in the city commission chambera, mandate skimpy outfits for meter maids and fire the hell out of Joe Philbin.

But because WLRN is a public-minded, gluten-free public radio station, thoughtful listeners offered civic-minded propositions designed to promote the commonweal. In Key West, for example, a would-be mayor suggested more naps.

Nice premise, WLRN — for Omaha or Des Moines.

Wrong question for South Florida.

The more urgent query hereabouts would ask what not to do “if I were mayor.”

We’ve got ourselves a rogues’ gallery of failed and foundering mayors who ought to know.

First thing they’d advise: Don’t get caught.

Former Mayor Mike Pizzi of Miami Lakes would offer a variation of Rule One: Don’t get caught on tape yammering to a police informant about a political rival. “I don’t care what you have to do, Tom. Rig the f------ brakes in his car. F------ take him out.” It’s not the intimation of violence here that’s so jarring (this is still South Florida). But the profanity might not seem so very mayoral.

Our mayors are well positioned to address the kickback problem. “If I were mayor” I would not accept money, say 60 grand, from FBI undercover agents posing as sketchy businessmen from Chicago. It looks bad. This would come from former Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño. Ex-Mayor Manny would also suggest that prospective mayors should be circumspect about allowing towing companies, particularly a towing company they once owned (or maybe still do), to run around town snatching cars willy-nilly. Also, those selfish car owners might want their damn rides back.

Luigi Boria, who in his short reign as mayor of Doral has accumulated a long list of flubs, would suggest, “If I knew how to be mayor,” I wouldn’t irritate The Donald. Or else Donald Trump might decide to stage his Miss USA Pageant elsewhere.

Instead of cavorting with swimsuit beauties, Mayor Boria gets to cavort with Joe Carollo, the city manager he hired but can’t fire. “If I were really, really mayor,” Luigi would tell radio listeners, “I wouldn’t hire anyone crazier than me.”

Former Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman would promise to figure out the difference between being mayor and a paid corporate lobbyist. North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau might have some cautionary advice about absentee ballots, using city cops as traveling bodyguards and, “If I were running for mayor of North Miami, I’d seriously consider moving to North Miami.”

Don’t forget ousted Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, recalled by the voters after he was snookered out of a half-billion dollars (in taxpayer money) by the Miami Marlins.

If I were mayor, he’d tell WLRN, I’d demand two more strikes before I’m called out.

Read more Fred Grimm stories from the Miami Herald

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