South Florida’s mayors handled their business in different ways Thursday as Hurricane Irma inched closer.
From the county’s emergency operations center in Doral, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez expanded evacuation orders for tens of thousands of residents. On Miami Beach, Philip Levine gave cable news interviews warning about the deadly consequences of a “nuclear” storm. And in an airport in Buenos Aires, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado waited for a return flight to South Florida after leaving for business in Argentina over the weekend rather than waiting out a major storm with an uncertain path.
In a region where hurricanes are a constant threat, the delicate dance around preparing for a storm and recovering afterward has been done by politicians for decades. But throw in the potential for catastrophic damage — and deliver the hurricane to South Florida’s doorstep late during a local election year — and every decision becomes magnified as politicos hold press conferences, court voters with toilet paper and canned goods, and make what could literally be life-or-death decisions.
Make the right moves and look like a leader. Make the wrong moves and open yourself up to endless criticism.
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