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2 posts from November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013

County mayor who proposed firefighter cuts gets fire station named after him -- in city of Miami


Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, still at odds with firefighters upset at his proposed cuts during budget season, had a spanking new fire station named after him Saturday -- in the city of Miami.

And while the celebration was warm and fuzzy inside the firehouse in the city's Upper Eastside, it was anything but in the skies above. 

As Gimenez spoke, two light aircraft flew overhead with signs trailing behind. One read, inexplicably, "Gimenez is a flaming alpha hotel," the other, "Fire station Gimenez? What a hose job." 

Though the mayor is beloved in Miami for his 27 years of service, in which he worked his way up to fire chief and then city manager, his relationship with county firefighters has been a bit more tense. 

Firefighters are still upset about this summer's budget negotiations, when Gimenez warned of layoffs and cuts before commissioners agreed to wait for a $5.9 million federal grant the county has yet to receive. 

The mayor said it's looking more and more like the county is going to have to dig into emergency reserve to fill the budget hole, creating an even bigger hole for next year. 

But Saturday wasn't about that. It was a celebration of Gimenez, who still has plenty of support in Miami, including that of Fire Chief Maurice Kemp, who credits the mayor for launching his firefighting career. 

"They still love me here," Gimenez joked moments before the ceremony began.


Miami commission candidate touts endorsement from mayor -- who says he's not backing anyone


Miami commission candidate Keon Hardemon was getting  lots of love from elected officials during a fire station naming ceremony in the city's Upper Eastside Saturday. 

Though the runoff election for the city's District 5 seat isn't until Tuesday, Hardemon was getting congratulatory handshakes and some hugs from some of the Miami commissioners and department managers in attendance.

Notably absent from the event: The Rev. Richard P. Dunn II, a former District 5 commissioner who was the heavy favorite to fill term-limited Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones seat on Nov. 5, but who is now fighting for his political life after a series of campaign gaffes. 

Dunn finished a disappointing second to Hardemon by 23 points on Nov. 5, barely making it to Tuesday's runoff. Since then the senior pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church has strung to together a series of notable endorsements. 

But on Saturday, one of Dunn's supposed supporters said, not so fast. 

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, fresh from retaining his seat in a landslide, said he was surprised this week when he heard Dunn was trumpeting his support. 

Regalado said he hasn't endorsed anyone and is staying neutral in the race.