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Pamphlet problems and palm-card controversies: The shadow war between Rep. Artiles and former Rep. Zapata

Zap2With Hurricane Sandy sucking the air out of the presidential race, we now take you back to Miami-Dade County where the hot air is always blowing during election season.

Consider the county commission race between former state Rep. Juan Zapata and Manny Machado. He's backed by longtime Zapata opponent, Frank Artiles, a current state representative who lost two previous bids against the now termed-out Zapata. (Background on the race is here)

Zapata folks accuse Artiles of pulling a fast one and duping the local Republican Party over a palm card advising voters on how to fill out their ballots. Artiles accused Zapata of breaking a state rule over use of the state's seal in a brochure. A Zapata defender said Artiles doesn't understand the law.

The palm-card controversy erupted after Artiles helped persuade the Miami-Dade Republican Party to print up the handy cheat-sheets. He suggested a designer and printer. But Artiles didn't mention that he had used the same designer and printer himself for his own palm cards.

Guess what happened? The palm cards looked almost identical, except for the fact that the Artiles palm cards listed his name and recommended Machado. Zapata folks complained that Republicans would get confused and think the party endorsed Machado. So now the county party is reprinting the GOP cards. But in a different color.

"We're going to make a second run so there's no confusion," said county party chairman Ben Powell. "It was not our expectation that there would be this confusion."

PalmcardArtiles pointed out that his palm cards clearly listed his name. And Artiles found fault with a brochure of Zapata's that used the seals of Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida. He also said The Herald needed to report that Zapata has received loads of campaign money from lobbyists.

"I can't believe The Miami Herald is calling me about these palm cards when Juan Zapata is breaking the law," Artiles said, pointing to a state rule the prohibits the use of the state seal without permission from the Florida Department of State.

Artiles' accusation was the first we heard of Zapata's potential violation, so the Republican representative sent a photo of a Zapata campaign pamphlet that displayed the seal of Florida. And Artiles pointed out that Florida Administrative Code says a person needs "express written authorization from the Department [to]  manufacture, use, display or otherwise employ a facsimile or reproduction of the Great Seal of the State of Florida." And "in no event shall approval be given for the use of the Great Seal for the following: (a) Political or campaign purposes..."

But another former state Rep. and current elections-law lawyer, J.C. Planas, said Artiles got it wrong.

Said Planas in an email: "Frank Artiles has made an accusation regarding Juan Zapata’s use of state and county emblems. Frank Artiles is wrong in his interpretation of the law. The pamphlet does not promote any county or state agency nor does it do any form of advertising or electioneering. The seals are present to indicate that both state and county issues are on the ballots. The guide states the effect of the various proposals without taking a stand on any. There is no attempt to indicate that the pamphlet if from a county or state agency and it is not paid for by any campaign nor political agency. The pamphlet was produced at the expense on an individual to provide clarity on the various amendments and referendums."

Comments

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lorenzito

Wow another FIU criminal gets immunity, law student ignorant of a crime, guess she worked for J.C. Planas before since he seems to represent this whole crew for years now, even running PAC's for Al Lorenzo, Herman Echaverria, Armando Guerra, you name it the list goes on and on. All these Pac's registered to Planas and made to attack candidates for these crooks, well don't worry she will seal her record even if the charge's are not sealable, she will then run for office and then expunge the record just like former Juan Zapata did years ago on his trafficing and selling drug charges, yes folks a drug dealer and turned politician. And even further his parents were drug money lauders who were arrested under operation Green Back in the eighties, guess Zapata's parents were close friends to all these now turned high profile ballots broker consultants and maybe even prosecuter's who seem to forgive these crimes and let us be defrauded and lied to. Zapata who after years of political corruption now runs for Commission Seat in District 11, with everyone of these criminal corrupted politician's involved from Jeb Bush, JC PLanas, Eddy Gonzalez, Bovo, Manny Diaz JR, Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and we can be here all day naming them, plus all the special interest in florida with lobbyist earning him almost 1 Million Dollars to run against first time candidate and police detective Manny Machado. An officer for more than 12 years and with no criminal or political ties, yes folks a true Statesman, a defender of the people. But again we see that big bucks and B.S backing Zapata can really cloud of judgements, I am with Machado , Mr. Zapata please open your record let us in to your life like all you crooks like to do to good people that challenge your ways, see the time is over for you go get a job and stop living and sucking us dry with your B.S. Go and wake up, you are done, we don't need guys like you anymore, I spoke to Machado this Saturday at Hammocks Library and boy that kid is right on point with what is really going on with this county, he has done his homework, Stadium deal, Wackenhut settlement, Tunnel, new train, and the kicker how you want to stop red light cameras but you have taken thousands and thousands from those who want to have them put up. I belong to the Kendall Federation and I was ready to vote for you but after seeing your free barbecue and hearing this young man who just wants to help his community, county, and our families prosper, I have woken up, I don't even want to vote on the 240 issue. He is for no kill thru budget not taxes, you talk a good game but your just a fraud, thank God Moses "Manny Machado" we now call him was the last guy I spoke to, his wife right by his side, he didn't even wear sunblock and you can tell the sincerity and his conviction how he can looks right into your eyes the whole time, can't say the same for you, you have this synical ora to you, why don't you stick to commercials after this cause your a good actor. I have reached out to my friends, family and neighbors cause finally we have a light on the commission and If I can help it It ain't you! What the hell is going on here in florida, can the Feds please take this place and clean house or are we just doomed? And by the way can the Herald report that Mr. Zapata and his PAC is just a lier putting out all that BS on Machado, if he were under any investigation as you claim he could not be running for office period.

Thanks LP

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