The television attack ad against state Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a candidate for Miami-Dade property appraiser, is ominous.
The ad, which has no narration, alternates a black screen with white text asking questions ("Who is responsible for raising Florida Driver's License fees? Raising vehicle tag renewal fees? Raising construction permit costs?") with a black-and-white photo of Lopez-Cantera. Raising his right arm. At an apparent 45-degree angle.
This is the photo, taken from Lopez-Cantera's Florida House website.
But in the ad, you can't see his thumbs-down gesture, urging fellow lawmakers to vote against a proposal on the House floor. The cropped photo in the ad makes Lopez-Cantera looks like he's, well, hailing Hitler -– though the uncropped photo clearly shows that he's not.
Lopez-Cantera, who's mother is Jewish, called the ad illegal because it does not cite any sources when making its claims. He said two local stations, WPLG-ABC 10 and WJAN-Channel 41, did not air or stopped airing the spot. WFOR-CBS 4 aired it Sunday morning; Lopez-Cantera indicated he may send the station a cease-and-desist letter asking them to stop broadcasting the spot.
(This is not the first odd allusion to World War II in the property appraiser's race. A YouTube video that has made the local political rounds shows incumbent Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia saying one of his office's trucks looks "like the one used by the Nazis.")
The ad against Lopez-Cantera was paid for by Accountability Watchdog, an electioneering communications organization chaired by John Rivera, the president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association.
"It's a shame that hardworking police-officer dues are going to this wasteful, illegal spending," Lopez-Cantera said. He said he plans on suing the ECO and Rivera.
Rivera has made no secret of his dislike of Lopez-Cantera. When his union reluctantly endorsed Garcia over Lopez-Cantera, Rivera made a point to call Lopez-Cantera "a snotty-nosed spoiled brat" who voted in Tallahassee to have public employees contribute more toward their pensions. (There's no mention in Rivera's note that the PBA did not meet with Lopez-Cantera to interview him before issuing the endorsements.)
The PBA has put out a similarly striking ad against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, featuring a clip from Gimenez's state-of-the-county address where he says, "The state of the county is improving." The ad loops "is improving" over and over while showing images of trash, graffiti, gunfire and a man smoking crack.
Lopez-Cantera's lawsuit would be the second one against Rivera. Last week, lobbyist Rick Sisser sued the PBA, Rivera and another ECO linked to him, Big Vote for Justice, over an attack flier mailed against Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle. The flier features a gallery of people -- including Sisser -- that, the ad insinuates, got light sentences or did not get charged because they were contributors or friends of Fernández Rundle. Sisser has noted that he was arrested in a drug case but not convicted.