I never doubted that Mac Glinn had at least one secret agenda item, but unlike some folks, I never thought that any of his secret agenda items included getting a contract for his company Skanska, to be involved in the building of the new Community Center, had the bond issue passed.
That was too blatant, and actually too easy to uncover and stop, had that been part of his plan when he offered to have his company prepare some draft budget numbers.
Not that his offer didn't have an ulterior motive, but the motive I believe was tied more to the ability to use the passage of the $20 million bond for the new community center as a way to illustrate that he was a guy who could get things done.
Glinn's aspirations from the beginning have been larger and more sophisticated than many folks who are not part of his network of close friends suspected, or gave him credit for.
It wasn't hard however, if you knew what to look for, to understand why Glinn has been described as a guy who is 'playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.' In political speak, Glinn sees himself as a shark swimming in an aquarium tank with goldfish for company, and in this case that aquarium tank is the Village of Miami Shores, and all of us residents are the goldfish.
Now, that doesn't necessarily make him a bad guy, and certainly doesn't make him an evil guy, but rather it makes him a politician, and like a politician, his success in getting people to vote for him as he moves up the political career latter is predicated on creating as much on the illusion that he is capable of getting things done as the actual acts leading to policy and governance changes.
If you read the bio he has on his campaign website its evident that he has from the beginning been taking the kind of calculated steps that most conventionally smart, young and ambitious political wannabe's take, and it's just not only in the direction that his career path is taking, but more importantly it's in how he has craftily employed his skills in resume enhancement and self-aggrandizement when it comes to describing his so-called accomplishments.
Again, if you visit his campaign website and read what he claims to have accomplished during his time on the Village Council, you have to wonder why he's not been fired by Skanska for spending all his time on Village business, or worse, wonder why he hasn't been the subject of an investigation for violating the Village Charter and for committing Sunshine Law violations, because those are the only ways he could have accomplished some of the things he claims to have done.
Take for instance his claim about his "strong support" for the purchase of the Catholic Charities building, or his "working closely with the Chief to implement a state-of-the-art, comprehensive public safety camera system for the Shores..."
In the case of the Catholic Charities building, he, like his fellow Council members went along with voting for the purchase without being told - at least publicly - where the money to pay for it was coming from, a situation I detailed in my March 3rd story. In addition, Glinn was neither the mover or seconder of the motions to purchase the building. The best he can really claim is that he was in the room and voted to support the purchase.
In the case of "working closely "with the Chief on the license tag cameras," Glinn's claim, if true, represents a prima facie example of a Charter violation, given that the Village is a Manager/Council form of government, where the members of the Council are prohibited by Charter from "working closely," or directing the day to day activities of department heads.
Then of course there's the issue of his claiming to be responsible for the new dog park, which angered many folks who saw his actions as not only those of a Johnny-Come-Lately, but as the person who refused to put the dog park anywhere close to where people could walk with their dogs to the park.
My favorite part of his claim about his role in the creation of the dog park was, "And because we own the land and much of the parking is in place, we are able to do so at a minimal cost to the taxpayers," failing to include that his definition of "minimal cost," glossed over the fact that the cost for the park was $200,000, and a loss of 11 parking spaces for folks going to the pool.
While the dog lovers - or the small number of them who actually use the park - are happy, there has been grumbling by some cat lovers as to why they can't have a "Cat Park," and then there are others who wonder why a community with over 3800 houses with backyards needed to spend $200,000 for a dog park so that the dogs could socialize - and in the process build one that is so small?
Glinn's biggest roll of the dice however, was his all-in commitment supporting the referendum for the $20 million bond to finance a new community center. If it had passed he would have immediately proclaimed it as a personal affirmation of his leadership abilities, and wrapped his arms and legs around the passage, much like John Lennon wrapped himself around Yoko Ono in that famous Anne Leibovitz photo.
THE VILLAGE BY THE BAY
THE THING ABOUT GUYS WITH AGENDAS - ESPECIALLY ONES THEY THINK ARE SECRET - IS THAT THEY ALWAYS THINK THAT NOT ONLY ARE THEY THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM, BUT THAT NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY'RE REALLY UP TO UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP THEM - THAT'S WHY MAC GLINN IS SMILING, BECAUSE HE THINKS HE'S ONE OF THOSE GUYS
APRIL 24, 2017
A CRESPOGRAM SPECIAL SERIES
Instead, in a Friday story in the Miami Herald about the bond issue's failure to pass, the story stated that, "Glinn, said he's in no hurry to dive back into the fray. "We've all got to take a deep breath and let some time pass..."
The thing that separates a professional politician from an amateur is that when a pro loses, they immediately start looking around for another issue as a way to separate themselves as quickly as possible from failure.
THERE'S NOTHING BETTER FOR AN UP AND COMING DEMOCRATIC POLITICAN LOOKING TO EMBELLISH A "LAW AND ORDER" IMAGE THAN TO PROMISE GUARD GATES AND SECURITY GUARDS AS A WAY TO EASE THE ANGST OF ENTITLED, RICH FOLKS WHO THEN THINK THEY WILL BE PROTECTED FROM THE "CRIMINAL ELEMENT" THEY'VE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE ARE COMING FOR THEM LIKE BARBARIANS AT THE GATE
I was told that in the last two week of the campaign, Mac Glinn had canvasers walking the streets in the area of the Village east of Biscayne Boulevard asking the folks if they would be in favor of having guard gates and security guards to protect them.
Those who said yes, were told that this was one of Glinn's "pet projects," that he hoped to accomplish if he was elected Mayor.
When I got word of this, I sent Glinn an email.
Glinn has not responded to my email, although I suspect that when he does decide to talk about this issue he will be quick to invoke the incident where a handful of animal rights protesters showed up at his house to protest against Glinn's company, Skanska, building an underground vivisection laboratory in Washington state.
As I've written in the past, everyone loves the First Amendment, as long as it's their version of the First Amendment, and the notion that scruffy, unwashed protesters would dare to invade the personal space of wealthy, upper management employees of major corporations who are believed by protesters to be engaged in actions whose consequences will bring pain and death to animals, or pollute our environment, or engage in other actions that many believe will cause serious disruption to our society, our environment or our very existence by showing up at their house to picket and shout using bullhorns has become far more than an issue of protest, and rather has become an issue of class warfare.
The sanctity of personal space has become the one refuge that rich folks - and here I use this description very loosely to include the upper-middle class, whose opinions of themselves have always been linked to looking upwards - will fight tooth and nail to preserve, because as long as they're able to leave the results of what they do at the office, it helps to maintain the fiction that there is a divide between the things they do to make money, and the life that that money allows them to enjoy.
What seldom if ever gets mentioned about the protesters who showed up in Glinn's neighborhood, and certainly not by Glinn, is that by the time the handful of protesters reached Miami Shores, they had been at this for a while in other parts of the country, and everyone knew they were coming.
If, as it seems that Glinn's neighbors were caught by surprise when they discovered protesters on their street, then the fault lies with Glinn and the Miami Shores Village for not properly notifying them, because those neighbors were the only ones that did not know ahead of time that these folks were coming.
Even now, Glinn never fails to invoke the notion that "the safety" of his family was threatened, because that's so much more powerful as a politically charged explanation of what really happened, which was that a bunch of rowdy, noisy protesters showed up and made a bunch of noise for a couple days before moving on to another neighborhood where they did the same thing, and no where no one,in any of these protests get hurt.
Glinn however, recognizes the political value of exploiting this incident whenever the opportunity arrises as a way to embellish and justify a need to create and play up his need to have "law and order credentials," and in the process using the incident to play on the fears of a largely clueless and uninformed majority of Miami Shores residents as to the reality that the real crime rate in the Village is no where as high as they would be led to believe - not withstanding several recent high-profile incidents - and that real solutions to any real crime problems are less driven by "technology" and more by a competently managed police department.
The desire of Glinn to put a guard gate on 96th Street and hire private security guards is not a new idea. The idea was originally floated about 10 years ago, and among it's most vocal supporters then were Alice Burch and her husband..
Now, in addition to Alice Burch, we have Mac Glinn and Sean Brady on the Village Council, and all three of them live east of Biscayne Boulevard.
While I don't know what Brady's position is on this subject, the idea of creating a privileged enclave with a guard gate and security guards that separates one-third of the Village from the other two-thirds is bound to ignite the kind of passionate and divisive debate, including raising ugly issues of class and privilege, that will make the recent debate over the $20 million bond issue seem like the musings by foodies over what kind of wine to drink with fish.
Even though the implementation of any plan to install a guard gate and hire private security would require an election to create a Special Taxing District, the issue would first have to go before the Council fir approval, and among the issues bound to be raised would be who would pay for the election.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POLITICAL CONSULTANTS AND WHORES - WHORES HAVE HIGHER ETHICAL STANDARDS
Even though municipal elections are supposed to be non-partisan, there has always been a partisan nature to the campaigns and election of municipal office holders.
In recent years however, as our politics have become more abrasive and confrontational, the claims that elections for local offices like the Miami Shores Village Council are non-partisan have pretty much gone out the window.
More than any other local candidate, Mac Glinn has exemplified that departure, by hiring - both in 2015 and 2017 - a professional Democratic Party operative named Christian Ulvert to manage his campaigns. This is Ulvert, last week at Glinn's tent in front of the Rec Center.
Ulvert is the guy who I wrote about almost a month ago in a Facebook post, and who unfortunately some folks thought that I would actually get out in the street and have a fistfight with.
In 2014, Ulvert was the Political Director for the Florida Democratic Party when Charlie Crist's campaign for Governor almost sunk the party. As a reward for a job not well done, Ulvert was "kicked to the curb," as some reports described his firing.
In 2015, when I first became aware of Ulvert, he was the campaign manager for Grace Solares, one of the candidates running to replace Miami City Commissioner Marc "Pay to Play" Sarnoff.
I did a lot of stories about that campaign including one about how Solares, a life-long Republican changed her party affiliation from Republican to No Party Affiliation, 14 days after announcing her candidacy, and how I, and others who had provided me with information of what was going on inside the Solares campaign at the time, believed that Ulvert was behind the change, as a way to make Grace more palatable to democrats and local labor unions, who are traditional sources of money and manpower for big city and county campaigns.
Solares came in third in that race, and then I watched Ulvert manage the losing campaigns of several other candidates, including Jason Pizzo, who managed to go through $770,000 of his own money in losing to Daphne Campbell.
In addition to managing Pizzo's campaign, Ulvert was involved in the effort to change the campaign finance law in Miami-Dade County through a referendum that that would have all but abolished the rights of companies who do business with the county, their lobbyists and even their family members from donating money to county commission candidates, while continuing to allow labor unions and their supports to continue their political donations and support.
In a series of stories that I did about this effort to tilt the tables in favor of the unions and other democratic party interest groups, I revealed that Ulvert went from being the individual who incorporated the supposedly community-based group An Accountable Miami-Dade PAC, that claimed to be the folks spearheading this effort - although it was actually an effort by a Washington D.C. Group called Every Voice, who raised almost all of the $438,895.45 that funded this effort from out-of-state donors - and who paid Ulvert $47,171.80 in consulting fees .(Part I & II)
In many ways the whole operation was a very shady deal that eventually resulted in the 3rd District Court of Appeals blocking the referendum from being put on the ballot, and convinced me that Ulvert was a snake who would deal from the top and the bottom of the deck at the same time. referendum
According to Glinn's campaign records, in 2015 and 2017, he paid Ulvert's company Edge Communications a total of $15,291,10, to be his campaign manager.
WHAT'S THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE
It's hard to sort out right now what the short term future holds for the Village and the Council.The division over the bond issue seems to have energized some Villagers, as has the situation involving Councilman Steven Zelkowitz's residence issues, prompting increased interest with the release of his ex-wife's letter to start paying more attention to what's going on in the Village.
I believe that these two issues, along the information in some of the stories that I have written since I started looking into the activities of how the Village has been managed has provided a opportunity for folks to feel more comfortable in expressing their own concerns and criticisms about how Village Manager Tom Benton and Village Attorney Richard Sarafan have been conducting themselves, and that in turn is prompting discussions about demanding more transparency and oversight over the actions of both of these individuals and the Council.
I believe that at the very least there will be some procedural changes coming from Glinn as he takes over as Mayor, because I believe he is smart enough to understand that the heavy-handed behavior of Alice Burch when she was Mayor is not something that he can continue employ in dealing with residents because he knows that that will only serve to antagonize folks and work against his efforts to use his two years as Mayor as a stepping stone to higher office.
At the same time, I don't see him, until more evidence is developed, taking on the task of demanding that Tom Benton resign, or that the Village Attorney be replaced.
Instead, I think he'll try to use both of them, along with the Chief of Police for his own purposes, and that could in the end be his undoing, because what neither he nor Benton, or Sarafan, Zelkowitz or the Chief of Police really understand yet is that there really are no secrets that stay secret in Mayberry or anywhere else, and to mix metaphors, that train has left the station.
I believe that what the residents of Miami Shores need to pay attention to is that Mr. Glinn, like Mr. Smith, wants to go to Washington, only Mr. Glinn might decide that the way to get there is to, like the shark in the aquarium tank is known to do on occasion, eat some of them to get there.
FOUR DAYS and SIX HOURS after I posted this story, I received the following email response to the above email I sent to Mac Glinn.
I CONTINUE TO STAND BY MY CLAIM THAT INDIVIDUALS CLAIMING TO BE FROM THE GLINN CAMPAIGN CANVASSED HOMES ON THE EAST SIDE OF BISCAYNE BOULEVARD, AND ASKED RESIDENTS WHETHER THEY WERE IN FAVOR OF A GUARD GATE AND SECURITY GUARDS, AND STATED THAT MAC GLINN FAVORED THIS OCCURING.
I DO SO BASED ON BOTH EMAIL AND PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS FROM INDIVIDUALS NOT KNOWN TO EACH OTHER WHO CONFIRMED THIS CLAIM TO ME. WHETHER THESE INDIVIDUALS WHO KNOCKED ON PEOPLE'S DOORS WERE IN FACT FROM THE GLINN CAMPAIGN, OR FROM SOMEONE ELSE'S CAMPAIGN ENGAGING IN SOME SORT OF DIRTY TRICK CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY I DO NOT KNOW.
I WOULD ALSO POINT OUT THAT AS ANY REPUTABLE REPORTER WOULD DO, WHEN I WAS FIRST APPROACHED WITH THIS INFORMATION, I IMMEDIATELY SENT GLINN AN EMAIL SEEKING A RESPONSE. THAT HE CHOSE NOT TO RESPOND FOR 4 DAYS, AND UNTIL AFTER I WROTE MY STORY, WAS NOT SOMETHING I COULD CONTROL, BUT IS SOMETHING THAT READERS SHOULD FACTOR INTO DETERMING THE VALIDITY OF THIS ALLEGATION.