Miami-Dade commissioner cuts meeting tension with humor

09/15/2013 12:00 AM

09/13/2013 6:45 PM

Twice in recent marathon meetings, Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan has cut tension with moments of levity.

At last week’s eight-hour budget hearing, Jordan championed the fire-rescue department’s anti-venom unit.

“We’re surrounded by the Everglades, you know, and I have a phobia,” she acknowledged late into the night, breaking into a giggle. “I have a phobia when it comes to snakes.”

The audience laughed.

“The phobia is so bad that at night I will not walk on grass unless there are lights everywhere. And I won’t even cross my yard!” Jordan said. “I’ll walk on the pavement because I’m scared I’ll step on a snake.”

At a nine-hour meeting two weeks earlier, Jordan gave this dramatic example to highlight the tough jobs held by garbage collectors: “You tell me what’s more hazardous than solid-waste individuals out there going and collecting garbage and body parts.”

The grisly image caught the commission chambers by surprise. But she pointed to an ABC primetime soap.

“I don’t know if you watch Scandal,” she said. “I love Scandal. And on Scandal... you commit the murder on Thursday, you chop up the body, and you put it out when the garbage is picked up.”

She and the rest of the dais chortled.

“By the way, Scandal starts back in September,” Jordan quipped. “Y’all better watch it.”

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