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NUMBER 16 - APRIL 8, 2018
The video of the recent dustup at a City of Miami Sea Level Rise Committee, where a woman named Maggie Fernandez claimed she was so mistreated that she left the meeting in tears ought to become mandatory viewing for anyone before they sign on to be on any city committee.
Now, I have no real position on the merits of having a sea level rise of climate change committee given that I have a far more dystopian view of the future of South Florida in the next 20 years that many other people who believe that a magic solution will miraculously be discovered that will make the ice caps quit melting and the sea water quit rising, but I do have a basic respect for folks who think otherwise and are willing to put their money where their mouths are metaphorically by being on such a committee, and I know from my own past experience at civic activism, that your ass can get calloused, and your brain can turn to mush from having to listen to people who show up with half baked ideas and want you to embrace them with the same enthusiasm that they have,
What I don't have, and what I think some of the members of that committee also don't have is the tolerance to suffer smart-mouthed partisans with an agenda gladly, and that's the category where I'd stick Maggie Fernandez.
The Miami Herald, Miami New Times and WLRN were all quick to write stories about Fernandez's self-described trama at being spoken to rudely by committee member, architect Reinaldo Borges, and in the New Times story, "Fernández says she left the meeting in tears and immediately texted Mayor Francis Suarez to say she has "never, ever been spoken to like that to anyone, let alone an appointed member on a [government] committee." (Fernández provided New Times with screen shots of her texts.)"
New Times, relied on two short video clips of the meeting edited by local documentary film director Billy Corbin. One clip was 34 seconds long, and the other was 1:48 long. The Miami Herald story also included a version of Corbin's 2nd video expanded to 2:39.
Neither comes anywhere near doing justice to what actually occurred between Ms. Fernandez and the members of the Committee.
I had a suspicion that that was the case, and so I went and got a copy of the meeting and watched the whole thing, and have made video clips of the two exchanges between Ms. Fernandez and the Committee in their entirety.
In addition, I've also included a copy of the entire meeting at the bottom, because even though I don't necessarily agree with some of what was said, or even the possible directions that the committee discussed taking, I do believe that far more folks than normally pay attention to this kind of stuff need to become aware of these discussions.
Clip #1 covers the presentation that Ms. Fernandez requested time to make to the committee about the possibility of getting them to support a Resolution to the City Commission to start monitoring the costs associated with climate change.
In the New Times story this exchange is where, "Fernández says she felt like she was "shot down, like there was a door being shut in [her] face.""
If you watch the video of this exchange in its entirety you'll see that that was not what happened, and in fact not what the Chairman and others said, or even implied.
Watch it for yourself, and see if you believe that this is what she was told, or whether instead she was encouraged to work out the details of how the the city's administration - who are the ones who would be responsible for the actual monitoring of the costs that she was concerned about - could do what she wanted, and the Chairman went so far as volunteering to meet with her and the Mayor to see how this could be done.
In short, she showed up in front of a committee comprised of volunteers seeking their support to get the city to do something she wanted done, while the actual people she should have gone to was the City Commission, because they are the ones who set policy and would be responsible for collecting the data she wanted collected.
It's obvious that she was interested in trying to get the committee to become her allies in her quest, but the committee was not out of place in requesting more information from her before committing themselves.
IF YOU DON'T SUFFER FOOLS, OR DRAMA QUEENS LIGHTLY, THEN DON'T VOLUNTEER FOR A PUBLIC BOARD IN THE CITY OF MIAMI, BECAUSE THE PUSSY MAYOR WILL MORE THAN LIKELY THROW YOU UNDER A BUS
Clip #2 is where the craziness broke out, and quite frankly I believe that Billy Corbin did a great disservice by not including the first 2:54 of this exchange, because if he had, you would have heard Ms. Fernandez make some comments starting with a claim that she needed a drink after watching the committee in action, and then interjecting that she was not trying to be an "asshole," as she told the members that,
"This is not for you all, you all are lovely, and great to look
at - but I'm so tired, this is for the Mayor, the Commissioners
and the City Manager - so tired of standing at this podium
and seeing only men - and white men - so tired of it. There's
a room full of women here who have stayed for the entire
meeting, who I'm certain would love to take some of the
positions here on the Sea Level Rise Taskforce, and I'm
certain will get stuff done. So let this be a wakeup call - and
you guys are my friends, so what do I know? Ugh, Ugh, you
know I'm not trying to be an asshole - Oops! But, come on
let's do it, lets get some resolutions to send to the city
commission. Let's do something..."
And of course, it was after she finished her rant when architect Reinaldo Borges started to respond by saying,
"I wish your energy and enthusiasm for changing the world.."
That Fernandez immediately interrupted by stating:
"Well, I don't appreciate being mansplained..."
It was only after all that that Borges, obviously a man that does not suffer fools gladly, and justifiably so in my opinion, went off after she refused to allow him to continue to speak without continuing to interrupt him:
"If you don't want to listen, then forget about showing up
here again because this is not a climate change meeting..."
It then became a squabble among the other members and Fernandez, while Borges decided he'd had too much fun that night and walked off the dias.
True, Borges shouldn't have told her not to come back, although he would have been well in his rights to express any number of choice comments about her behavior, and of course lacking in the reportage of this incident was the context of provocation initiated by Ms. Fernandez, who in school yard terms started the fight, and then ran away and started telling her friends and the teacher that bad Reinaldo said nasty things to her and made her cry.
This is exactly what happened because within an hour of the meeting she went on Twitter, because that's what any self-entitled, and social media savvy whiner does today when they don't get their way.
There were no shortage of people quick to jump on the train with her.
By the next day, Suarez, WLRN as well as a growing number of uninformed folks were jumping on board the bandwagon, and it only took a couple more days for a Greek chorus of Billy Corbin, Grant Stern and a few others to convince Francis Suarez, to replace Borges.
As I've repeatedly written and opined, my personal opinion is that the residents of Miami-Dade County are in for very serious water problems long before the streets, as the Miami Herald claimed last week might start flooding every day.
I'm also not a person that sees any kind of a municipal committee, be it climate change, sea level rise, or shit gonna happen, what'da we do, as capable of doing anything of real consequence before the shit starts hitting the fan.
But at the same time, if there seems to be some in the public who want to believe that at a municipal level this world-wide calamity can be dealt with, then go for it, understanding though, that above and beyond all of the problems that the actual calamity will cause, we are talking about the City of Miami here, and between the corrupt politicians on the take, the greedy developers who are hell bent on pouring concrete on every vacant piece of land in the county before insurance companies decide to quit selling insurance to anyone in South Florida, and factoring in the batshit crazy people who manage, like turds, to float to the top of the punch bowl, then go for it.
That doesn't mean however that Ms. Fernandez should get a free pass over her bullshit comments made to the committee that were clearly as sexist, if not more so than any comments that she claims were made to her, nor that Francis Suarez, Miami's Pussy Mayor - and yes in the eyes and ears of snowflake millennials that's probably sexist AND offensive, but none the less apt and definitively descriptive - has once again demonstrated a failure of leadership, first by obviously not looking at the video of this meeting, and secondly for being so willing to throw Reinaldo Borges under the bus.
In the 9 years that I've been covering City Hall I've heard all kinds of batshit crazy sexist, racist, and insane comments made by the Mayor, members of the Commission, the public, and even me on several occasions, and never once has a single one of those comments elicited the kind of response that the exchange between Ms. Fernandez and the members of the Sea Level Rise Committee has stirred up.
That Francis Suarez would on the basis of being badgered by Ms. Fernandez, Billy Corbin and Grant Stern decide to throw Borges under the bus should serve as a warning for anyone currently, or in the future who might be asked to serve on a city board or commission.
If you get attacked by some citizen with an agenda, don't expect Francis Suarez to have your back, because a dollar to a donut says you'll end up being road kill on the highway of his ambition that when required means sucking up to a handful of cunning, doe-eyed millennial opportunists.
It's Miami, Bitches!
HERE'S THE VIDEO OF THE COMPETE MEETING
It wasn't until April 2nd that Fernandez Tweeted on this again, and by then she had gotten Billy Corbin and Grant Stern to champion her cause, and they were hot and heavy on lobbying Francis Suarez.
I'm still pretty shaken up...and I'm tough. As City resident and business owner, I hope the @CityofMiami and @FrancisSuarez considers my request of itemizing the costs of climate, and exapands the scope of this committee to address climate mitigation. https://t.co/Y6q6bE7lkV— Maggie Fernandez (@SustainableMags) April 2, 2018