Practice run against Frederica Wilson could set her up as heir

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When Audrey Edmonson took over as chair of the county commission last month, she mentioned term limits that will force her to step down in November — and lamented there’s going to be a brain drain because of it.
“The board will never have as much combined experience as it does today,” she said. “There will be a great loss of institutional knowledge.”
Don’t make us laugh, Audrey dear.
First, the idea that there is a lot of brain power on the county commission is funny enough on its own. Have you met Javier Suarez? But the thought that newbies without any government experience are going to be running county government is utterly ridiculous when, in fact, we have a slew of veteran lawmakers already chomping at the bit.
Our next commission will most likely be a bunch of familiar faces playing yet another round of political musical chairs.
Read related: Commission term limits don’t really mean new faces
Five open seats — a miracle caused by the passage of term limits by voters in 2012 — have provided a unique opportunity for upwardly mobile local politicians to climb the government ladder.
Former State Sen. Rene Garcia was the first elected to throw his hat in the ring, running for the District 13 Hialeah/Miami Lakes seat that will be vacated by Esteban Bovo, who is termed out and running for county mayor. He did it last year, before he even left office, and has already raised $7,197, which is pennies because he hasn’t gotten started yet.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, himself termed out this year at the city, filed paperwork last month to run for the District 1 seat being vacated by Barbara Jordan, and has a big fundraiser at the NINE club at Hard Rock Joe Robbie stadium on Feb. 28. Jordan and Gilbert will also co-host the 6th Annual Black Heritage Festival at Miami Carol City High and it seems he has her seal of approval. Jordan, who has been a commissioner for 14 years already, could also run for mayor of Miami Gardens because, well, what else is she gonna do?
Las malas lenguas say another seat swap is planned between Edmonson and Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon and that they struck a deal to support each other. He hasn’t filed any paperwork and there are already two other candidates who have. But neither one has raised any real money and Hardemon, who has publicly said he plans to run, would start off as a frontrunner by a million miles.
Nobody has talked publicly about Edmonson running for Hardemon’s seat but we already know she feels she has the experience and “institutional knowledge” (read: special interest connections). And, like Jordan, Edmonson — who will have served 15 years at the county and served as El Portal mayor before that — might not know how to survive if released to the wild. Don’t ask Ladra if Edmonson lives in the district because that doesn’t always matter, as proven by Joe Carollo, who somehow convinced a judge that he lived in a tiny apartment he just rented in Little Havana rather than in the really nice Coconut Grove house he and his wife have owned for years.
Former Miami-Dade School Board Member Raquel Regalado lives in District 7, where Xavier Suarez is termed out and, most likely, running for county mayor. At least for now. Regalado, who lost a mayoral bid in 2016, has switched races three times already. First she was going to run for Congress in District 27, then she was going to run for state Senate in District 40, then she switched over to run for senate in District 37 where Jose Javier Rodriguez sits now. Then, since a Democrat won the congressional race and J-Rod is sitting put for now, she moved on to the county. But who knows with her? She may run for a city of Miami seat in 2019 instead? Or state rep.
Read related: State Rep. Kionne McGhee runs for District 9 county commission
State Rep. Kionne McGhee hasn’t filed any paperwork either but he confirmed to Ladra Sunday that he would run for the District 9 seat in South Dade vacated by Dennis Moss, who has been in that very same office since 1993, same as Commissioner Javier Souto, who was miraculously re-elected in November.
Does that mean Moss is going to run for state rep in District 117?
Ladra couldn’t reach him over the weekend. But I’d make that bet.

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As promised in the last couple of weeks, Miami-Dade Commission Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson moved Wednesday to block development of a Cuban Museum of History or anything else on the last few remaining slivers of vacant waterfront land downtown behind the AA Arena.
“The residents want this because this is one of the last pieces of waterfront property left undeveloped,” said Edmonson, who also promised to find a site for the Cuban museum organizers had hoped to build there.
But is she protecting public land or the arena operators’ spill-off parking and event-staging area?
According to the resolution that passed unanimously and is now headed to the full county commission, Parcel B, as the 2.76 acres plot of land between the arena and Biscayne Bay is called, would be preserved as an open space park for an increasing number of downtown residents to enjoy Frisbee, family picnics and pick-up soccer games. It would be renamed Don Paul Plaza after the late longtime advocate of open, green, public spaces.
Wait a minute. Plaza? A plaza is not a park. A plaza is, well, a public square or marketplace in most U.S. cities and also could mean a shopping center here. So what gives?
Read related: Mayor, Miami Heat bait and switch to ‘better deal’ for who?
It seems part of the deal includes allowing Basketball Properties Ltd, which operates and manages the American Airlines Arena, to continue to use at least part of Parcel B for overflow parking and those big trucks that need to come in for concert equipment and catering on an “agreed-upon” number of days. The resolution only prohibits any “permanent vertical structure,” which means that temporary trailers are a-okay. In one version of the park renderings, according to an inside county source, there is a designated space for up to 70 cars and staging vehicles.
Ladra guesses that loose soccer balls and wayward Frisbees could be a liability on agreed-upon days.
The American Airlines Arena was built by the Miami Heat organization on the former Florida East Coast property that was purchased by the county in 1998 after voters approved a referendum in 1996. A key point of the Heat campaign back then was a promise that part the property would be turned into a waterfront open space park. This condition– as well as a youth academy that has also not materialized but which Edmonson seems to forgive — was a crucial deal breaker to many county voters. Campaign insiders from that former Mayor Alex Penelas period have been quoted as saying that it was a key strategy message to get the Anglo votes.
After failing to produce a park — or, rather, realizing that it would cost $6 million to repair the seawall — the Heat gave the land back to the county in 2003, but continued to lease it for extra parking and staging at special events. That way, we taxpayers were responsible for the wall, but the arena operators — who continued to rip us off by inflating expenses to reduce participation rent — could keep using the land as needed.
Parcel B sprung back into the news in 2014 when became embroiled in Plan B for international soccer star David Beckham‘s desired Miami MLS franchise stadium, which, if you remember, just had to be waterfront and just had to be in the downtown — two requirements since abandoned. After the first location scouted at the Port of Miami was scrapped, the Beckham group proposed filling in the boat slip between Museum Park  and the arena to create space for a waterfront stadium. That idea was nipped in the bud by then Mayor Tomas Regalado of Miami, which owns the boat slip.
Months later, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez was instructed by the commission to negotiate with the Cuban Exile History Museum board to lease the land, and county staffers began drafting a 55-year lease was that would provide public land only at a ridiculous price and no other subsidies.
Read related: Picnic in Parcel B ‘park’ defies county stance, Heat padlock
In 2015, activists with the Urban League, Emerge Miami and other groups basically took over the property and staged a picnic protest — complete with a sign naming it Dan Paul Park (not plaza). There were areas that had been paved over for a street race and the lot was padlocked when the activists first arrived.
Fast forward three years when, as recently as last February,  the commission instructed Gimenez to enter into a license agreement with Basketball Properties Ltd. as the manager and operator of the American Airlines Arena, “for its use during agreed-upon days of the property commonly known as Parcel B for parking and staging for arena events.” They didn’t want to keep asking for permits every time so they got a license.
The county started installing grass and trees in the lot.
Then in June of last year, the 55-year lease for the Cuban museum was briefly on the draft agenda, but — even though renderings for the museum include park space — it was pulled because there was not enough support and because the museum board failed to raise enough funds for construction.
And maybe because their renderings did not include overflow parking and event staging space for the arena? (Editor’s note: Commissioner Esteban Bovo has reported that the Cuban Exile History Museum design did accommodate the arena’s need for overflow parking and a staging area.)
Read related: Heat’s sweet Parcel B parking deal causes commission clash 
Who is Edmonson really representing? In 2015, when another commissioner suggested that the Heat and anyone else who wanted to lease the land pay market rates with a fee schedule for different events, Edmonson balked, intimating that because the waterfront property is in her district, it’s her say.
On Wednesday, she also proposed and passed an ordinance — which is much stronger as an actual law as opposed to just an expression of the desire, which is what a resolution is — that requires a two-thirds commission vote for any future private development of waterfront land.
Doesn’t that mean the plaza isn’t permanent? It can be undone with a two thirds vote? Are we right back where we started?

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Carlos Gimenez cronyism could cost us future millions

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his pals on the county commission are trying to sell us a bridge. Not just any bridge. His buddy’s bridge.

Recent hand-wringing over the selection of a firm to design and build an iconic, new signature bridge over Biscayne Boulevard along I-395 has cast a spotlight on just how Gimenez uses the office of the the county mayor to benefit his friends and family members.

The beneficiary this time (again) is Pedro Munilla, who is cousins or something with the mayor’s wife and CEO of Munilla Construction Management. The company gets a lot of government contracts. But not this one (the rendition inset in this paragraph). MCM was one of five firms that bid on the $800 million “signature bridge” project, in partnership with Fluor Enterprises. But it was ranked second by a Florida Department of Transportation selection committee after a process that has taken, on and off, about 25 years. Archer Western/De Moya  was ranked first.

Read related story: Miami-Dade mayor’s pal gets $6 mil extension on contract

Pedro Munilla, pictured here with his wife, is often out at galas with Mayor and Lourdes Gimenez.

One week later, Gimenez wrote a letter asking the FDOT, which is providing $600,000 and overseeing the project, to delay the contract so that the county could weigh in (read: so that Munilla can get a second chance). And he’s using some of his pocket commissioners, like Sally Heyman — well, to be honest, the Munillas write a lot of checks — to try slow the process down. Heyman passed a resolution at the Transportation Planning Organization Thursday urging the FDOT to let them review the bids and provide feedback. It’s not like they don’t have the time anyway, she added, if the Munillas file a bid protest as they have said they intend to do (don’t they always?). That could take up to five or six months to resolve, according to FDOT Secretary James Wolfe, who looked like he couldn’t believe they were even talking about this.

Feedback on a selection that has already been made? To what end? Do these lunatics actually expect the FDOT to suddenly change their minds, switch gears and award the contract to the obviously politically-connected, second-ranked bidder that applied palanca?

That is the $800 million question. And, yes, they do. Because that’s how it’s done in the 305. The FDOT is a state agency used to dealing with state contracts where procurement is less, well, political. But it’s really not that complicated as everyone wants to make it seem. The argument that the mayor and Heyman are making center on the premise that there has not been enough community involvement. Suddenly, out of the blue, after the contract has been awarded, during a public process with dozens of meetings and during which a county commissioner served on an advisory committee, the mayor wrote that the county wants to have more input.

How much you wanna bet he wouldn’t be seeking that input if Munilla had gotten the contract?

This is the Archer Western/De Moya bridge designe that was ranked first by FDOT. It is meant to look like a water fountain.

Because the truth is that, despite a Miami Herald story earlier this month that looks planted and almost manipulated by the mayor’s staff, there has been plenty of discourse and public input on the project. And Ladra is not just talking about the Aesthetic Review Committee on which Commissioner Audrey Edmonson sat, which was how the FDOT settled a lawsuit from city of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and then Commissioner Marc Sarnoff in 2013.

“What was settled in 2013 was not honored,” Heyman said at Thursday’s meeting.

Really, Sally? Really? Only Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert got it right. The committee makes a recommendation. That doesn’t mean their recommendation has to override what the FDOT technical committee decides is the best bridge for traffic control reasons as well as aesthetic. Remember that easing traffic is the real reason they are doing this. Aesthetic concerns are just an additional bonus.

Read related story: Pot calls kettle black in Trial Rail bid protest by MCM’s Munilla

In fact, let’s review the history of the public input into efforts to build this particular bridge, which the FDOT started to look at around 1992. This timeline was put together with the help of three people close to the process, including a transportation professional and an engineer who has been working on different versions since the original 1992 one. Plus, Ladra was here the whole time.

Even back then, the back up from the northbound I-95 ramp on the 836 was causing havoc on downtown traffic, where ingress and outgress also wasn’t cake. There was also projected growth (its come true) that needed accomodating so they came up with a master plan that was not very masterful, just pretty much just widening and adding lanes. The black community balked because, shit, it looked like a repeat of what messed up Overtown so long ago when they first built I-95 and I-395 right through the community’s commercial streets. In 1996, the project died because there was so much community opposition.

People still talked about doing something in the future, though. They had to. They knew something had to be done eventually. Ideas included tunnels and elevated options. Somewhere between 2003 and 2004, the TPO’s predecessor, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, asked the FDOT to look at it again and while they were doing that, Regalado and Sarnoff sued the state to ensure it would be an iconic bridge that would represent the city for decades to come. The settlement was the creation of an unprecedented aesthetics review committee that had, among its members, a representative from each the county, the city of Miami, the Downtown Development Authority and a the Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts, which was next door.

This commitee not only had a chance to take the original 18 bridges submitted and shortlist it to seven, they were also given a scoring role, which was not agreed to in the lawsuit settlement. They were given far more power than the FDOT needed to give them. But the state didn’t stop there.

The FDOT opened up an office in Overtown and met with hundreds of people over the course of years. Congresswoman Federica Wilson took a group of people because Ladra saw a picture of that meeting and of about a dozen other meetings where they discussed what they wanted to see in their neighborhood. Perhaps they couldn’t look at specific drawings. They couldn’t. The procurement process has to be done in a “cone of silence” precisely to keep the politics out of it. But they provided feedback on what they wanted to see. There was so much feedback, in fact, that transportation officials soon realized they would not be able to just widen and add lanes. They had to bring some life back into the neighborhood if the project was to move forward. The design includes a park underneath the bridge, the “Heritage Trail” that serves sort of like an North end Underline on steroids with actual historic significance in a part of the county and city that is too often ignored (more on that later).

The process has won awards for its public input. It has been an uprecedented process for FDOT.

And, now, because of the political meddling of a corrupt mayor, they will likely not repeat it. Who would blame them? This cronyism crap is probably also going to cost us millions in the future. Just when we are going to need state and federal dollars the most for our SMART plan to expand mass transit, our mayor pulls the political palanca stunt. Does he really think the FDOT is just going to forget about it and come back for more of this? Heck, there’s already talk that Tampa officials are calling the state agency and saying they will let the FDOT spend the $600 million in Tampa any way they want. And, believe me, those calls are getting more and more attention.

Read related story: Carlos Gimenez son’s firm got $4 million PAC repair job

Ladra is certain that the second-ranked Munilla bridge was pretty. It does look like dancers, however, and that may be why it got a perfect score from John Richard, director of the Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts (which three years ago gave a no-bid contract worth $4 million to a company that employed the mayor’s son). Richardstanked the other bidders and gave the Munilla project the only perfect score, which is the only reason that the Fluor/Munilla project got scored half a point under Archer Western. Expect Gimenez and others to make a big deal out of that small gap. But please remember that the only reason that happened was Richard’s scoring. He dnot only gave the only perfect scores to Fluor/Munilla, he was also the only one to score the Archer Western bridge as poor. Everybody else was either very good or good or excellent (which is what Edmonson ranked it). And remember that Richard’s facility depends on Gimenez for subsidies that are now competitively sought by other facilities, like the Frost and PAMM museums.

Maybe Richard is acting on Gimenez’s behalf. Because there is no doubt here that Gimenez is acting on his buddy Munilla’s behalf.

The fact that he is so bold and blatant about it is what should be most concerning. Because it shows that Gimenez, who is termed out after these next three and a half years, is going to use his remaining time on the 29th floor to get his friends and families as much as possible.

Like an $800 million bridge.

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Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Esteban Bovo has named his new committee county-sealmembers, chairs and vice chairs and there are definitely signs that some of his colleagues are buds and some are, well, not.

It’s natural to give chairmanships to those commissioners who voted for you as chairman of the board. That’s a longtime tradition and no surprise here. These are rewards, plain and simple. If you think, gentle reader, that our electeds want to put people in committees that make sense because of their experience or expertise, you would only be half right. Because appointments are also opportunities to help allies and hand out payback to those who aren’t. And this is all real insider baseball, but it can help us understand how things play out in the next two years. 

And it is obvious that Vice Chair Audrey Edmonson is the big winner while newly re-elected Commissioner Joe Martinez is the big loser.

Edmonson is sitting pretty, which lends more strength to the widespread belief that she struck a deal with Bovo and audreyswitched her original vote for chairman from Commissioner Xavier Suarez and steered others to do the same. Edmonson is the only commissioner who got two committees instead of three — she gets a little break — and they are two of the good ones. She is chair of the housing and social services, most likely she wanted that because of the Liberty Square Rising project — and vice chair of transportation and public works, which is probably the most imporant committee (read: most coveted) in the next two years. She also chairs her own Building Safer Neighborhoods committee and is vice chair of Bovo’s Policy Council, that means that there is not a single committee that she sits on that she is not chairing or vice chair.

Read related story: Tight race for commission chair — Xavier Suarez vs Stevie Bovo

She’s also got the most and some of the juicier appointments to various boards and councils, like the International Trade Consortium, which was taken away from Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who voted for X in the chair vote (loser). Edmonson also got appointed to the Public Health Trust Nominating Council and the Jackson Health Systesm GOB Advisory Board, which will oversee spending of the $830 million general obligation bond funds that were approved by 65% of the voters in 2013. She was also appointed to the Youth Crime Task Force with Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who also voted for X and was not appointed to any other board or council (loser).

But at least she got one. And Jordan was also named vice chair of the public safety and health committee. And Diaz gets to be vice chair of infrastructure and utilities as well as the appointment to the Military Affairs Board, which is a nice consolation prize for him in exchange for the trade consortium.

Joe Martinez is the big loser because he is the only commissioner who didn’t get named either chair or vice chair of any MartinezTVcommittee and he got snubbed out of any boards and councils. It’s not like there weren’t enough spots to go around. Edmonson and Commissioners Rebeca Sosa and Javier Souto — both of whom also supported Bovo — have both a chair and vice chair position (winners). Sosa will chair the economic development and tourism committee and serve as vice chair of the government operations. And Souto chairs his beloved Parks and Cultural Affairs committee — arguably the least important of them — and is vice chair of the economic development and tourism committee with Sosa. Say what? Well, the chairman, whose father served in Brigade 2506 with Souto, likes him. And several of the commissioners who voted for Bovo as chair have multiple board appointments.

If Edmonson is the queen of the new court, Martinez is the jester. To add insult to injury, he also gets what everyone considers the “punishment” chair in the seatig arrangement at the county clerk end of the dais, furthest from the door and the coveted county attorney side.

So, it’s more than just about his vote for Suarez. This is probably about Martinez talking smack since he’s come back.

Ladra loves it. Comeback Joe is schooling the other commissioners, asking bothersome questions, making procurement officers squirm. But that means he’s ruffling feathers at County Hall and making some people unhappy. And he must pay Piper Bovo.

Read related story: Carlos Gimenez, er, Stevie Bovo wins commission chair

Also, the chairman admitted that he consulted with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez — who also worked bovogimenezbehind the scenes to help Bovo become chairman — before making his appointments and its no secret, despite Martinez claiming a buried hatchet, that the mayor is still peeved at Joe for having the audacity to run against him in 2012. The nerve!

Ladra doesn’t think the chairman considers Martinez a threat to his own rumored interest in the open mayor’s seat in 2020. But we suspect that’s why X was also put in a box. It’s no secret that Suarez is also seriously considering a run for mayor. And there was no other reason for Bovo to rub his victory in Suarez’s face by giving the Children’s Trust appointment to Commissioner Sally Heyman (winner) after X told him it’s all he wanted.  But Suarez did get appointed to housing and social services committee that has organizational jurisdiction over the Children’s Trust. He also got on the government operations, which oversees budget and finance, and infrastructure and utilities committees.

“Sounds like I get to do some work on the budget,” Suarez told Ladra. “I’m xavier suarezhappy with all of them.

“Not being on transportation could be seen as negative but I don’t take it like that. I’m not able to move a transportation agenda without outside influences,” Suarez said, adding that he was talking to the CITT  about reclaiming People’s Transportation Plan funds and talking to legislators about tag renewal fee monies.

His son, Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez, is vice chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Suarez has also been trying to get more MDX dollars for mass transit rather than highways.

“I don’t need to be on the committee to move things forward,” he said.

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who also supported Suarez, got put on the Parks and Cultural committee and the Public Safety and Health committees and is vice chair of the Housing and Social Services committee. She did get one appointment to the Public Health Trust Compensation and Evaluation Committee, whatever that is. Obscure. Suarez got it appointed to just that also (losers).

Other winners include Bruno Barreiro, who gets to chair the transportation committee and is the commission appointment to the Beacon Council, former Chairman Jean Monestime, who gets chair of the infrastructure and utilities committee and is the county’s representative at the Miami-Dade League of Cities and Dennis Moss, who got chair of government operations and appointed to the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens Oversight Board and Neat Streets Miami.

But Martinez will get the last laugh. He’ll be around after everybody else is gone due to term limits (more on that later).

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Death leaves Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, now unopposed, with four more years

Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson has been de facto re-elected this week after her sole challenger, daisyaudreyformer El Portal Mayor Daisy Black — and Edmonson’s longtime nemesis — died suddenly and unexpectedly Wednesday.

Details on the cause of death were still unknown Thursday, but Black was rushed to the Hialeah Hospital after she collapsed Wednesday during a typical candidate screening with the AFL-CIO union. According to sources and published reports, an off-duty firefighter at the screening performed CPR. She apparently died later that day.

Black, 68, had challenged Edmonson in what was going to be one of two interesting commission races (the other one is District 11 in West Dade where former Commissioner Joe Martinez has challenged Commissioner Juan Zapata).

Read related story: Three county commissioners coast, but four draw challengers

Edmonson, who joins the other three commissioner re-elected sans opposition, issued a statement Thursday that shows their tense relationship was not as important as Black’s many contributions to the community and dedicated activism.

“It is with a heart full of sadness that I share in the collective shock of this community as we begin the process of accepting the passing of the Honorable Daisy Black, former Mayor of the Village of El Portal,” said Edmonson. “My continuous prayers are with her beloved family and friends. Daisy, a true public servant and dedicated elected official, will be missed by so many.  Her family and friends need our support and understanding and their privacy to reflect on their memories of one of South Florida’s finest civil rights leaders.”

Sen. Dwight Bullard, chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, posted a statement on Facebook: “Today the candle went out on the life of a woman that has inspired myself and countless others. Mayor Daisy Black was an incredible leader andDaisy Black fixture in the Democratic Party. She made Miami-Dade County a better place to live by her mere presence and will be so missed by me and those who were blessed to know her. Please lift her family up in prayer.”

Her own Facebook page was quickly filled with photos and posts from shocked friends, other electeds and candidates and activists.

“I count myself blessed to have known you, Mayor Daisy Black,” wrote Darren Martin. “You were amongst the few mentors I had at the Miami-Dade DEC and, while you always had an open ear as I told you about my big dreams and wanting to one day work at the DNC or the White House, you constantly reminded me of the importance of being active in the local party and being an advocate for Miami – and, more importanty, the people who lived there. They sure lost a giant today – and we all lost a friend.”

“I am devastated! Heart Broken,” wrote Daniel Sohn, a non-profit consultant running for mayor of Dania Beach. “My good friend Mayor Daisy Black (MORE LIKE FAMILY) passed away doing what she did best- Serving her community… Daisy was the first elected official to endorse me when I announced my race for Mayor in Dania Beach and the first person to write a check. For that reason I called her “MY MAYOR”… Daisy taught me how to fundraise. Since then, I’ve gotten much better at it. She told me she loved me many a time and I her! Although she touched many lives across the state, we here in South Florida were the luckiest to live among her. Her presence made everything better…Daisy would have wanted all of us to unite during election season. I think it’s time we did. Daisy Black voteI will miss her greatly and hope once elected to be as half the leader and caring human she was.”

“My heart goes out to the family of ‘Mayor’ Daisy Black,” wrote Desmond Meade. “I along with countless others greatly benefited from her wisdom, presence, and support. She was an ardent supporter of our efforts to restore voting rights, and a champion for human right and dignity. As she was a fierce advocate for others, I will sorely miss her and her contagious smile. RIP Daisy. You left your mark on this earth.”

A 2008 field organizer for Barrack Obama in Liberty City also wrote on her wall. “One of the first people to approach me about helping get an office was Daisy Black,” said Karen Andre. “She organized with me in the back of the McDonalds on 62nd St until we finally got an office. On that day, I handed her the keys to open the office doors. From August 2008, until Election Day, Daisy was there EVERY SINGLE DAY for 4 months. She did Voter Reg, phone banking, data entry, volunteer training, GOTV, modaisyobamadeling wisdom and dedication, the whole time. I couldn’t have made it without her and I count myself blessed to have her guiding me. Her legacy of selfless devotion to the community is undeniable. Just this year, she gave up her chance to be a delegate at the Dem convention so that a young person could go. That’s the essence of Daisy, paving the way for others. May you rest in eternal peace knowing you were a good and faithful servant.”

From former Hialeah Councilwoman Carmen Caldwell, director of Miami-Dade’s Crime Watch: “Our thoughts and prayers to the family of Mayor Daisy Black, she was a true champion and a supporter of Neighborhood Watch in her City. She truly made a difference in El Portal. It was such a pleasure working with her all these years. She will be missed tremendously. Rest in peace my friend.”

Miami-Dade Community Council Member Johnny Farias called her his political godmother. “I will miss you so much. You were and will always be an inspiration to me. I was honored to know you and have you as a close friend. And I thank God that on Saturday I was able to hug and talk with you. You told me how proud I made you for winning the Council Elect Seat 15. You were loved by many and will be missed dearly, RIP Daisy.”

“We sat together two days ago at a candidate event,” wrote Daisy Baez, who is running for state House in District 114. “Once again we joked about picking up the wrong name tag at events because of our similar names! You were the first elected official to reach out to me and to attend my first fundraising event. I will never forget that. See you again some day.”

RIP Daisy Black. You made political life in the 305 more interesting, apparently, for everybody. We are sorry to see you go too soon.

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