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Mystery flier attacks Miami-Dade commission candidate over Marlins Park

@PatriciaMazzei Marlins flier front

The mysterious advertisement mailed to some Miami-Dade County voters this week is an attack against commission candidate Daniella Levine Cava -- disguised as a sarcastic compliment.

"THANKS FOR DELIVERING MARLINS STADIUM!" the flier says. "Clearly, the stadium's $634 million dollar price tag is a small price to pay for this jewel of our community."

The ballpark's unpopular public financing contributed to the ouster of a former county mayor and commissioner, and the issue has become the third rail of county politics. Incumbent Lynda Bell, a commissioner since 2010, has accused the nonprofit social-services agency Levine Cava founded, now known as Catalyst Miami, of supporting the stadium deal.

Bell has cited a 2008 commission meeting in which the nonprofit's policy director spoke about how to make the ballpark agreement better. (The flier says it was Levine Cava who "stood up and made sure the funding was approved.") The policy director called the financing deal "a feat of creativity and ingenuity."

She didn't say so outright, but the policy director was speaking against the deal, according to the speaker's card she signed, and proposing ways to make it more palatable. "This was an example of how we were trying to turn lemonade out of lemons," Levine Cava said on television last week.

Other activists whose groups were part of the coalition against the stadium, including Frank Del Vecchio of Miami Beach, have attested that Levine Cava's nonprofit organized in opposition of Marlins Park.

But Bell, caught in the most heated commission race of the year, has dismissed that.

"The poor thing obviously signed the wrong card," Bell said on the same TV show, WPBT's Issues with Helen Ferré

Levine Cava blamed the flier on Bell. "Unlike my opponent, I have long been a champion of holding government accountable and ensuring taxpayer dollars are well spent," Levine Cava said in a statement late Wednesday.

The mystery flier, though, didn't come from the commissioner.

Instead, it came from a Tampa-based political group -- with the liberal-sounding name Committee for Progressive Values, Inc. -- registered to a Republican consultant, Anthony Pedicini. Also listed on the committee are Carmela Falcone of Melbourne and Michael Milner of Jensen Beach -- a duo who have registered other political groups, including one that mailed a Dolphins stadium-related advertisement to Miami-Dade voters last year.

Pedicini did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Committee for Progressive Values hasn't reported raising any money since June 20. Among its contributors before then was Carlos J. Gimenez, the son of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. The mayor is backing Bell. The younger Gimenez said Thursday he made the contribution for a May poll unrelated to the commission race.

The bulk of the committee's funds came from other conservative fundraising committees; last year, Committee for Progressive Values paid the firm of Jose Luis Castillo -- now Bell's campaign manager -- for phone banking.

Commission races are nonpartisan, but Bell is a Republican and Levine Cava is a Democrat -- and Democrats in particular have made sure to highlight that on the campaign trail. Now Republicans appear to be stepping in to assist Bell.

Even before the flier, Levine Cava was using the Marlins attack line as a fundraising pitch to donors. "Help Daniella expose these lies," her campaign emailed supporters last week.

But Levine Cava has also had to twice explain her former agency's ballpark stance on television, and she put out an automated call denying supporting the stadium. If explaining is losing in politics, then Levine Cava can probably expect Bell and her supporters to keep bringing up Marlins Park.

Comments

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ed jenkins

The citizens are disgusted that this woman who cannot choose 2 of three names played a part in sticking them in terrible financial condition as a result of this stadium being built.

Fulanito

C'mon, you just don't send YOUR organization's Policy Director to praise a deal which has not even been voted on unless you wanted to get something out of it.

It is perfectly clear by the video testimony that Ms. Vladick publicly praised the deal -AS IT WAS WRITTEN - as a "feat of creativity and ingenuity." Moreover, she publicly agreed with both Mayors pushing for the deal that "in order for Miami to be a world-class city, it needed a major-league baseball stadium."

Now, having said this, it is interesting to note that the speaker immediately after Vladick was John Rivera, who, in his testimony, could not be MORE AGAINST the Stadium deal - AS IT WAS WRITTEN.

You may conclude that Ms. Vladick may have filled the AGAINST Speakers Card but it is perfectly clear by her testimony that neither she NOR the Human Services Coalition (Levine Cava's group) didn't oppose the Marlins Deal.

John Rivera SURE DID!

Bill Thompson

The only reason that Rivera was against it was because the Marlins stadium was going to use City of Miami cops instead of Miami-Dade cops. He complained about the American Airlines Arena using City of Miami cops too. He wanted his cut of the action. If the Marlins had decided to hire Miami-Dade cops, he would have been all for the stadium.

Bill Thompson

The citizens want these out-of-town, secretive, shadowy political groups to stop meddling in local politics. The citizens want this career politician Lynda Bell to stop living off the taxpayers and want her to go get a real job.

Rolando Castellanos

To Bill Thompson - You could argue EXACTLY the same thing about Mrs. Levine.

Since 1995, The Human Services Coalition's (Catalyst) budget has been funded mostly by Miami-Dade taxpayers with a little $$ from the State of Florida and a little coming from the Federal Government.

However, where are the results? Where are their accomplishments? I have yet to see any figures on successful self-sufficiency programs, homeless prevention initiatives, etc., on their clients.

In fact, I have yet to see anyone singing the organization's praises except for staff and the testimony of a woman named "Queen."

I mean, where did all this money go year after year? and explain to me, please, how a "successful" non-profit that "has done so much for the local economy," keeps losing money year after year (pardon me, TAXPAYER money).

Why is it that a successful non-profit got their $150,000 line of credit "suspended" from Wells Fargo Bank after they inherited the debt from Wachovia Bank?

These losses were reported to the IRS and is a matter of public record. Where's the accountability in all of this? As Founder and Chair of HSC and Catalyst, doesn't "the buck stop" with her?

I mean, these are serious questions that quite frankly, I don't see Mrs. Bell hitting Mrs. Cava or Mrs. Levine with. After all, its OUR MONEY she's playing around and living on. I mean, she DID get a salary and benefits with her title, correct?

Now, on the question of the out-of-town, secretive and shadowy political groups - you are absolutely correct. Why is the Florida Democratic Party getting involved in a non-partisan race, forcing the Republicans to get-in, albeit late in the game?

All fair questions...

ed jenkins

The citizens are thankful to longtime resident Bell for keeping this position non-partisan. They greatly resent this lady with too many names for a citizen of this country who has brought partisanship into this race.

Rolando Castellanos

To Bill Thompson - Regarding John Rivera.

So by your own argument, it is safe to say, then, that during the Marlins Deal, Mrs. Levine group's lukewarm "opposition" to the Marlins Stadium Deal was, in fact, because she was going to get something out of it. Right?

Nice!

concerned citizen

The citizens are thankful to longtime resident bell... Jenkins and Rolando, your minds are cluttered in pure ignorance. why did the city the knows her best, Homestead get rid of her? Why did her husband with the treasure chest of money they had over Porter MISERABLY FAIL?
Homestead got rid of the Bells for a reason, and it's time the county does too. The fact she named a PUBLIC BUILDING after her MOTHER rather than an influential local figure is DISGUSTING. How SELF SERVING is that?

TheBellRings

ed jenkins, you sound like a really strange guy. Also note you are insulting a good deal of the population with your fixation on the three names.

Lynda Bell is a terrible representative and needs to go. It's unfortunate that she's resorting to lying to try to save her skin.

John Hassan

I've know Daniella for years. She's a smart woman but Daniella NEVER opposed the Marlins Stadium. I remember attending a coalition meeting where Daniella was eloquent on her support of the Marlins Stadium touting its job creation in the City of Miami. I remember some fee or tax that was being proposed associated to the Marlins Stadium.

Sean

Wow- Rolando, are you serious?

Do a little homework before you start typing.

Daniella's work with local businesses, nonprofits, employers, and religious institutions helped increase the number of eligible people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This means millions of $ flowed into Miami's local economy every year that wouldn't have otherwise.

Wait, isn't the EITC welfare? Nope- it's only for people who are working. Here's Ronald Reagan's take on it: President Ronald Reagan called the EITC “the best antipoverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.”

So, you want to talk about results, let's have an honest conversation. Voters are sick of the lies and deserve better!

Gerry Tiziani

Lynda Bell has no room to criticize anyone. She deliberately used my picture and my teacher's union logo in a photo on her campaign literature, knowing full well that my union nor I support her. I find this devious and unethical.

Cindy Lerner

There is often much nuance in a political statement that is carefully crafted to be respectful in the way the criticism is lodged. This was clearly the way the HSC statement was offered, and to me was asking for the city and county to negotiate a much better deal for the taxpayers than they were in the process of doing.
Obviously those who want to twist a statement shch as this can and do so. That is why I never subscribe to nuance- I tell it straight up, straight talk, never mince words and so will not have to worry about having my meaning misconstrued. A lesson for my friend Daniella- don't mince words! People like Lynda live to misconstrue!

They voted Yes

Don't leave out that Dennis Moss, Bruno Barrerio, Marc Sarnoff and Joe Sanchez and other commissioners all Voted Yes on the Marlins Stadium. County Commissioners voted 9 to 3? Right?

Rolando Castellanos

Point is that Vladick, in her testimony, DID NOT OPPOSE ANY PART of the Stadium Deal before Commissioners.

She could have flat-out come against the deal. BUT SHE SIMPLY DID NOT! Pure and Simple. She was speaking very clearly and on behalf of the Human Services Coalition.

Nuff Said. Daniella may not have personally supported the deal but she was definitely not AGAINST IT!

Live with it!

Lynda voted Yes

In 2014 Lynda Bell, serving as a Commissioner, voted Yes to give away Parcel B, the priceless 4 acre waterfront site next to the AA Arena. Lynda Bell voted to just give it away. To a bunch of ancient Cuban dudes. She required no bids. No background checks. Nada.

Bell and Parcel B

Lynda Bell just voted, in fact she demanded, that the County give away a waterfront site that might have been valued at $400 Million HAD SHE BOTHERED TO REQUEST AN APPRAISAL. Bell gave it away to a group with No history. HMM... Judge Bell on how she votes.

Jenna

This is such a ludicrous point that it's proves MIami politics try to cater to idiots. For an external organization to voice it's approval or its disapproval - that's an opinion that hopes, begs, to sway 13 commissioners with a 120 second appeal. Big hairy deal there. Amplify this, harp on it, fixate on it Bell-ites. It makes no friggin' sense, but neither do you.

Jeffery

Bell is a hired gun that uses the District 8 office for personal gain. Can you say wooden fence ordinance?

Rolando Castellanos

Funny thing about the 4 acre Parcel B on the waterfront.

There was absolutely no objection to the Perez Art Museum, no outrage over the Science/Planetarium Museum - noting, nada, zilch!

But when it comes to a museum about Cuban Heritage, well, everybody's "True Colors" Come out against it, Even Levine...Very Interesting!

Trust me, the word is getting out and there is outrage in the air. So, so sad.

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