Somebody – we don’t know who – called State Attorney Rundle’s office just before last Christmas to tattle that Jonah Wolfson and Deede Weithorn may have conspired to fire the Miami Beach city manager in violation of the Sunshine Law, privately discussing a matter that should have remained within public purview.
Somebody – we don’t know who – is behind recent anonymous robocalls to Beach residents spotlighting that allegation against Wolfson and the SAO’s probe of it.
“How familiar are you,” a woman’s voice asks on the recording, “with the confirmed public corruption investigation into Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson for criminal violations of Florida’s open government laws?”
Somebody doesn’t like Jonah Wolfson. Now, who might that somebody be?
Might it be Jorge Gonzalez, whose future is on the line at the March city commission meeting? Wolfson told the Miami Herald last month that he thinks it’s Gonzalez, or Mayor Bower, or their emissaries.
If it’s Gonzalez, then however one supposes it, the city manager is either desperately trying to save his 12-year-long tenure from being rudely, abruptly terminated, or, deep in the recesses of his mind, has privately conceded defeat, doubts he’ll be able to salvage his job when the commission votes on whether to retain him, and, so, has resolved not to go quietly and calmly without taking his avowed enemies – notably Wolfson – down with him.
If these are Gonzalez’s last days and weeks in office and he’s indeed on his way out, he may have opted to throw caution and diplomacy to the wind and go out with guns ablazin’, daring to take out any opponent or naysayer in his path, no matter that such tactics may mar his nearly squeaky-clean image and respectable reputation as a competent, no-nonsense – and ruffle-few-feathers-as-possible – municipal administrator.
Some strongly suspect that it is indeed the city manager whose fingerprints are on the uncharacteristically vindictive campaign to smear Wolfson and Weithorn, who introduced and seconded, respectively, the resolution to fire him.
They suspect Gonzalez has been ensconced in his fourth floor office, broodingly conniving to tarnish with a wide brush dipped in mud those who believe it’s sunset time for him at City Hall and want to draw the curtain down, finally, on The Jorge Show.
“Nonsensical political terrorism,” Wolfson called it last week. Whomever’s behind the SAO complaint and the robocalls has a vested interest in either politically assassinating Wolfson or championing the city manager – or both.
And if the Wizard behind the curtain pushing and pulling the gears in this big stink is the city manager himself, he should beware: Aiming his mud gun at opponents like Wolfson and Weithorn may succeed at shoring up his strength and better positioning him for next month’s vote on his future. But slinging mud also guarantees that – should he hold on to his job – he will find it more difficult to work with and hold the confidence of the people at whom he slung that mud.
If this mean-spirited strategy toward his opponents has any lasting impact at all, it may be in introducing what so many Beach residents observe in other South Florida communities (North Bay Village and North Miami, to name but two) but thank their blessings is largely absent from Beach City Hall: acrimonious backbiting and backstabbing among their local elected officials.
Turn petty and vindictive toward others with whom you must share the dais, Mr. City Manager, and you may regret it. You may end up keeping your job, but at what cost? If you’re no longer able to govern in a spirit of collegial camaraderie, would it even be worth keeping? Why would you still want it?
SPEAKING OF ROBOCALLS…
The FCC laid down the law on them last week. No longer can telemarketers robocall us without our expressed, written consent.
Hope Jorge or that “somebody” who’s been making those anti-Wolfson robocalls has taken note of this. Wouldn’t want yet another law enforcement agency dragged into probing possible wrongdoing by a city official, thanks to the ethical clumsiness of “somebody” and his or her ignorance of the law, now would we?
PEEVE OF THE WEEK
A month ago, ailing JC Penney, on the cusp of a revamp, debuted its new marketing campaign with a TV commercial of people, one after the other, screaming (It “almost caused me to step on my 9-month-old puppy sprinting to hit the mute button,” one complainer wrote in to pissedconsumer.com. “I hope JC Penney goes down in their sales” because of it, bitched another.).
Around the same time came another ad, Volkswagon’s dogs barking out the Star Wars Darth Vader theme, which I found just as annoying and pointless. I don’t like to hear barking dogs, period. Thirty non-stop seconds of it?
Currently, there’s that damn teenaged dweeb sitting on the staircase, warbling to his girlfriend over the phone that she’s a “better listener” in a voice you typically only hear from an American Idol reject before they’re shown the exit. Net 10, a wireless service provider, is getting plenty of gripes for that one, and deservedly so. A cursory scan of consumer sites shows that their stupid TV spot is the least of their concerns: seems an inordinate number of consumers just plain hate their service.
What’s with Madison Avenue lately? Why this need to annoy us? Why must it take sitting through a 30-second spot (which I’d rather not) of contrived annoyance to discover only in the last seconds what goddamn product or service it is they’re hawking to us?
And can they please just pitch whatever it is to us minus the annoying gimmicks? Commercial interruptions, many of us find, are annoying enough without having to be more so.
THE ASS-WIPE TROPHY
With every week that passes in this GOP presidential race, someone else is up in the polls, another is down. This week has been Santorum’s. National polls show he’s inched ahead of Wrongney ahead of the critical Michigan primary, which is if nothing else a must-win for Team Wrongney, a once-invincible juggernaut that looks more and more like a deflating balloon.
And Gingrich? Hah! What happened to him? Did he just disappear from the radar screen in the wake of Santorum’s rise?
Not that this year’s contingent of aspirants (remember Cain? Perry? Bachmann?) was ever an admirable one to begin with – with the exception of Jon Huntsman – but you mean to tell me the GOP nomination has come down to these four remaining dumbshits?
– A crazy old coot who hasn’t won one contest so far, appeals only to an idealistic slither of the GOP electorate, and never appears to be campaigning in any state whose contest is imminent but rather in states whose contests are not? (Where was he in the days leading up to Florida’s?)
– A bloated, highfalutin windbag – a walking, talking contradiction to the moral values he espouses – who sounds great in debates when he’s throwing red meat to the GOP crowds, but who hasn’t a prayer of a chance against Obama and frightens away any voter who isn’t a rabid reich-winger or Tea Party wingnut?
– A starched-collared, sweater-vested, holier-than-thou, “family values” moralist (also, no chance against Obama) whose extremist, misogynistic, homophobic take on social issues makes the odious likes of Phyllis Schlafly and Jerry Falwell come off positively palatable in comparison? And,
– An out-of-touch-with-the-average-American, patrician snob propelled by an all-too-obvious, to-the-manor-born ambition for the high office, with no discernible core convictions on any issue in which there wasn’t some point in his past a time when he staked out a polar opposite stance from the one on which he now stands, whose positions come across as overly test-marketed by campaign handlers as his hair is perfectly combed, and who, every time he tries (unconvincingly) to tout how “severely conservative” he really is, only provokes howls, smirks, and disinterest from among GOP voters, an alarmingly large swath of whom lack any passion at all for the guy?
I can’t recall the last time a Republican race for the White House came down to such a drab, pathetic collection of misfits – well, there’s 2004, of course, when Shrub ran unchallenged. (In honor of the late Molly Ivins, I’ve borrowed her irreverent nickname for 43.)
And so I return to Santorum, who may be tops in the polls this week, but nonetheless is richly deserving of this week’s (dis)honorary roll of t.p. for his asinine comment assailing Obama’s “phony theology,” even though, in a defense to Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer that strained credulity, The Rick attempted to explain it away as having been – what else? – taken out of context and not really at all a criticism of the president’s Christian faith but of his liberal ideology (Oh, really, Rick? Just what the fuck is your definition of “theology” anyway? Get thee to a Merriam-Webster’s. Please!).
Oh, but that’s not all that has come out Santorum’s careless, thoughtless piehole in recent weeks.
There’s his equally-neanderthalic comment that rape victims who become pregnant should “make the best of a bad situation.”
He said that even if his own daughter became pregnant after being raped he would still urge her to carry through with the pregnancy and have the child.
It’s a pity the Santorum girl can’t wish for some sort of reverse abortion upon her dad.
But I’ll say this for The (P)Rick: I like his “Rombo” TV spot a lot. Maybe you’ve caught it. A Wrongney look-a-like goes after a cardboard cutout of Santorum, futilely firing rounds of mud at it before soiling his own shirt with backfired mud. It’s hilarious. You can see it for yourself – and as repeatedly as you like to your delight – at www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtOcrS6axnE
Now that’s a commercial I don’t find annoying. Make more of that kind, will ya?