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OUR OPINION: For Miami-Dade Circuit

 
DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA
DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA

HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com

Miami-Dade Circuit Court

GROUP 70

Recent revelations about the findings of an ethics investigation into one of the candidates in this race might have made the choice somewhat easier. However, Veronica Diaz’s challenger, Renier Diaz de la Portilla, doesn’t necessarily inspire the confidence of having deep and broad experience that voters should have in those they send to the bench.

Ms. Diaz, 36, is an assistant city attorney for the city of Miami. She is on leave from the position as she campaigns for this open seat, and appears to be the target of a campaign — anonymous tips, leaked documents — to hurt her. At least one charge, however, has stuck. Based on an anonymous tip, the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics launched a probe into allegations that Ms. Diaz steered city jobs to her fiancé’s law firm through a third party. It looks as if Ms. Diaz followed the law just closely enough to avoid having a complaint filed against her — a fiancé is not considered an immediate family member under anti-nepotism rules in the county code. However, the investigator concluded, the whiff “of impropriety is strong.” So strong that the Editorial Board is persuaded that Ms. Diaz is not yet ready to don the black robes of a judge.

Mr. Diaz de la Portilla is a member of a long-time politically connected — and accomplished — hard-ball-playing family, brother to Alex and Miguel. Renier Diaz de la Portilla, 36, has had his wins and losses as an elected official, serving twice, non-consecutively, on the Miami-Dade County School Board and a term in the Legislature, 2000-2002.

He began his legal career in 2004 as law clerk. Since then, he says that he has litigated “a handful of cases,” while mediating hundreds of cases for the Collins Center for Public Policy’s Foreclosure Center. This, at least, indicates an ability to listen and remain impartial. For Circuit Court Group 70, the Miami Herald recommends RENIER DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA.

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