Mary Ellen Miller honored at Miami-Dade Lincoln Day Dinner

001aThis weekend the Miami-Dade Republican Party celebrated its 65th Annual Lincoln Day Dinner.  The evening started off with an awesome rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by 12 year-old singer Julia Dale (of the recent Miami Heat championship fame), followed by an inspirational pledge of allegiance led by a combat wounded veteran.

Rising Republican star Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford addressed the packed ballroom at the Miami Airport Convention Center as the evening’s keynote speaker.

Governor Rick Scott was also in attendance and gave a rousing speech to the party faithful on why every American should vote Republican.

The event was dedicated to longtime Miami-Dade GOP chairman, conservative activist and Republican icon Mary Ellen Miller who died earlier this year.

Former Congressman David Rivera offered a toast in memory of Chairman Miller and invited former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo to say a few words. Carollo was active in the local Republican Party back in the 1970s during the early days of the modern conservative movement alongside Miller. Republican Executive Committeeman Luis Rodriguez who served as Miller’s vice chairman also spoke.

Their speeches were followed by a video that I was asked to put together using some pictures that the Miller Family very graciously shared with us.

Per the request of State Committeewoman Liliana Ros and others, I am posting the video below.  Mary Ellen Miller not only helped shape the Republican Party in Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida, but she also had a lasting impact on the lives of all those who had the honor and privilege of working with her and learning from her quiet grace, natural wisdom, and calm steadfastness.

Although this weekend’s Lincoln Day Dinner turned out to be a celebration of her life, there is no question that her departure has left a void that no one will ever truly be able to fill.

Cat Fund reform a no-brainer

For four out of the last seven years, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund has been projected to have a shortfall should a major hurricane have impacted the state and cause the fund to pay out to its coverage limits.  This year is no different. Currently, the Cat Fund is projected to experience a shortfall of $1.5 billion this year should a sufficiently bad hurricane strike the State of Florida.

What the hell is the “Cat Fund” and what does this mean for the average Floridian?

Some background: The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (AKA: “Cat Fund”) sells reinsurance to every property insurer selling coverage in the state of Florida.  Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. Florida law requires property insurance companies to purchase a minimum amount of this coverage from the Cat Fund, and the rest they can purchase from the private reinsurance market.

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VIDEO: Obama camp turns early voting in Miami into spectacle

The solemn American tradition of exercising the right to vote was not very solemn in Miami this weekend.

We at visited one of several countywide polling locations in Southeast Florida’s Miami-Dade County on the last day of early voting.  As has been widely reported by the media, the lines were several hours long–and exhausting. Several hundred stood patiently chatting with candidates and campaign volunteers, and others studied sample ballots so they would be prepared to get through the historically-long Florida ballot as quickly as possible once at the voting booth.

This was all made difficult, however, with the Obama campaign’s decision to turn the early voting location into a bizarre street carnival. A DJ was on site blaring salsa and merengue, as well as a South American folklore troupe beating drums and dancing–in the early voting parking lot’s right-of-way.

Some no doubt enjoyed the entertainment, but for many uncommitted voters interested in meeting local candidates, studying sample ballots, and learning about the various amendments and races they were about to vote on, it was an annoyance, which was very evident.  The group also made it difficult for frustrated drivers to make their way through the lot to find parking spots.  One elderly Cuban lady named Olga who claims she’s voted in every election since 1976 said she had never seen anything like this in all her years of voting. She called it “tremenda chusmería.”

To me it felt more like a street festival in Tegucigalpa than a voting precinct in the United States.

I don’t think the Obama campaign did itself any favors among undecided voters at this early voting location, but that’s just based on what I observed.

Here is the video:

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Charges of illicit drug use, arson and DUI raised in Miami Lakes election

Wayne “No More Mr. Nice Guy” Slaton

As I’ve written before, my hometown of Miami Lakes is a small suburban municipality in the Northwest corner of Miami-Dade County known best for its tree-lined streets, scenic lakes, parks, and overall small-town feel. It’s kind of like a peaceful, lush oasis in an otherwise hectic, overdeveloped metropolis.

Despite it’s façade, however, its politics is anything but quaint.  And this year’s mayoral election is beginning to illustrate it.

The latest example comes in the form of a YouTube video uploaded by Mayoral candidate Wayne Slaton that spoofs the Late Show’s Top Ten List. In the surprisingly well-produced video, Slaton gives his “Top Ten Reasons” to elect him Mayor of Miami Lakes.  In doing so, he makes tacit allegations of unethical and in some cases illegal behavior presumably by his opponent incumbent mayor Michael Pizzi, including questioning whether he burned down his own law office, uses illegal drugs, and stiffs restaurants in town without paying.

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Primary Elections Recap

After months of fundraising, campaigning, scheming, punching, and counter-punching, candidates across Florida saw the fruits of their efforts come (and go) in the couple of hours after polls closed at 7pm yesterday.

Many outcomes were expected, some were surprising, and a few were just plain bizarre. On that note, what’s up with Central Florida? I mean, they actually elected the prosecutor who botched the Casey Anthony Trial as their new State Attorney? Seriously?  Oh well. I digress.

Anyway, this is a recap of election results and how things stand in some of the races we at took a position on: Continue reading