JANUARY 16, 2015







There are a lot of things that you can say about Marc Sarnoff - and over the last 4 plus years I’ve pretty much said most of them - but there are two things you can’t say about him: one, that he’s stupid, because that’s the one thing he isn’t. He might be twisted and corrupt, but he’s not stupid.

Secondly, you can’t underestimate him, because if you do you do, you do it at your own risk.

I say this because there are all kinds theories floating around now in response to the decision by his wife Teresa who finally got in the race to replace him as the District 2 Commissioner, as to how easy it will be to beat her because of his unpopularity.

Even if Sarnoff got his dog listed on the ballot, the dog would immediately become the front runner in the race against Grace Solares, Rosy Polamino and Mike Simpson.

Now, I know that this is going to piss a fair number of folks off, but I think a strong dose of reality is needed now before everyone gets all crazy and worked up thinking that any of the current candidates who’ve announced for the District 2 seat will knock Teresa Sarnoff out of the box.

I don’t think they will. 

It’s my opinion, but I don’t think any one of them have the ability to win,  and those who do, and who think Teresa Sarnoff will be a push over will be rudely mistaken.

While I think she can definitely be beaten, it’s going to take a real contender to do it.

I want to be very clear that I take politics and political campaigns seriously. I respect professionalism, craftsmanship and an unvarnished ability to face reality, especially when it comes to being a candidate and/or running a political campaign. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen pass for political campaigns since I’ve been writing this blog have been abysmally amateurish, totally lacking in professionalism and guided by self delusion.

In the last 4 plus years all I’ve seen are wannabe candidates who wanted to be a City Commissioner but who for the most part were absolutely clueless about public policy or what a City Commissioner in Miami’s role really is - in fact, most of these candidates had never ever bothered to show up at a City Commission meeting before, or even during their campaign for Commissioner- and yet they somehow believed that because they had developed a self image of being more honest or smarter than the Commissioner in office, that somehow that gave them a sense of entitlement that allowed them to think that regardless of their lack of skill or knowledge, and with little or no money and marginal support they were still destined to win.

It only works that way in the movies, and those movies usually suck!

Incumbents seldom if ever roll over and just let you take their seat. You have to be smart, raise a lot of money, get a lot of folks on the street to volunteer for you, and most importantly be willing to punch your opponent in the mouth at every opportunity if you intend to unseat an incumbent.

Make no mistake, Teresa Sarnoff has entered this race as the incumbent.   She’s going to have the money, the professional staff, a willingness to get out and work to learn how to be a credible candidate, and most importantly of all, a husband who will do all the punching in the mouth that’s needed.


At this point I can’t say anything about the totally unknown candidate Mike Simpson, because no one ever heard about him before he announced he was running for the District 2 seat, and no one has heard anything more from him after he announced, and when it comes to money, other than the $100 he loaned his campaign, and another $100 dollars from a relative, he hasn’t raised a penny.

Being a complete unknown is a formidable hurdle to overcome if you don’t have suitcases full of money and a professional campaign staff to lift you out of obscurity, and unless Simpson is secretly an independently wealthy guy who is willing to spend $1 or so million to make himself into a credible candidate, then his odds of even getting a couple hundred votes will be a herculean task.

So, the first thought I have is that Mike Simpson should find some other Walter Mitty dream to pursue. Nobody knows you, you don’t seem to have any money, and you obviously have never cared that much about what happens in the City of Miami, because no one has ever seen or heard of you inside City Hall before you decided to become a candidate.

As for Grace Solares and Rosy Polamino, both of them are the wrong candidates running in the wrong District to take advantage of their strengths.

They’re both sincere and committed to the betterment of the City of Miami, but I personally don’t believe that either one is capable of reaching beyond their core constituency - which unfortunately creates a real problem since in this case it’s a constituency that they share - to topple Teresa Sarnoff.

They’ll split their base, and lose all of the Sarnoff votes, which is my polite way of saying they don’t have a chance in hell of winning.

If Grace and Rosy were running in District 1, or 3, or 4, their “community activist” credentials would be considered a major asset. But they’re NOT running in a largely residential District were neighborhood associations and the credentials of being a “community activist” will have much sway.

Yes, I know, there are supposedly all those folks who live in Coconut Grove who hate Sarnoff. They’ve supposedly hated him for years. In fact they hated him so much that when he ran for reelection in 2011, they stayed home in large numbers while he went on to easily win a second term.

Then there are all those folks who live in the Roads, and conventional wisdom says that most of them will come out to vote against Teresa Sarnoff and probably vote for Grace Solares.

Conventional wisdom has led many a political candidate into oblivion.

Even if folks in the Grove, the Roads and even Morningside did come out and vote overwhelmingly against Teresa Sarnoff, they’d still be trounced by the Brickell/Downtown condo crowd, who have more potential voters than all the folks in the Grove, the Roads and Morningside combined.

The demographics of District 2 have changed drastically, even since 2011, and it will be the Brickell/Downtown vote that will dominate and determine who wins this election.

The Brickell/Downtown area is where much of the city’s business class is located. It’s home to the city’s legal establishment and the banking industry, and all of it is dominated by the big developers.

Whether you agree with his tactics or not, over the last 8 years Sarnoff became the developers best friend in the City of Miami, making it possible through his manipulation of the various city departments and employees to insure that they got all the help that they needed in building their condo towers and making money.

It’s these very same developers who are reciprocating with sizable donations to Sarnoff’s ECO, and who will contribute even more to Teresa Sarnoff’s campaign account.

All of the other candidates who’ve announced their candidacy to date haven’t the collective ability to raise anywhere near the amount of money that Sarnoff has raised just in the last 3 months through his ECO, much less all the money that he will raise throughout the rest of the year.

In politics, like elsewhere in life, money talks, and bullshit walks, and the money crowd as of now is definitely in the Sarnoff camp, starting with the big developers like Jorge Perez, Nir Shohani, Nitin Motwani, Pedro and David Martin to name just a few.

And it’s not just the developers, it’s also the real estate firms that sell the condos, starting with Cervera Real Estate, whose boss lady sits on the DDA Board, and where Teresa Sarnoff just became a real estate associate.  Cervera Reality has over 240 real estate agents, and all of those agents have client lists of folks they’ve sold Brickell and downtown condos to for developers like Jorge Perez. So when they’re told to go out and start talking up Teresa Sarnoff’s candidacy - and you can bet that that will happen sooner rather than later - they will do just that.

For many of the Brickell/Downtown folks, if  given a choice between voting for a candidate who will be tailoring her campaign talks to coincide with their economic self-interest, or voting for a candidate(s) who will be painted as anti-business, anti-growth, and anti-everything else because of their histories as “community activists,” who do you think the smart money crowd will vote for?

That’s the reality that I believe faces Grace Solares and Rosy Polamino. Neither have the ability to match the kind of financial or networking capability that Sarnoff will be able to call on, and neither one of these ladies can come anywhere close to making themselves into a credible pro-business candidate regardless of how many times they click their heels and say that they can. 

They just can’t!

This campaign will be a game of political hardball, financed with big money and with spitballs flying by at a hundred miles an hour. These are   facts that most people are clueless to either acknowledge or understand.

Like I said, somebody needs to say these things now because the real focus in 2015 is to make sure that Teresa Sarnoff DOES NOT get elected!   That’s the goal! That’s the ONLY goal! The goal is to WIN and defeat Teresa Sarnoff! 

To do that, you’ll need to have people who are capable and willing to deal with the hard realities of what it will take to accomplish that goal, and you need a real, credible candidate capable of actually winning. Anything other than winning and ending the Sarnoff saga in Miami politics is a circle-jerk and a waste of peoples time and money.

Right now the door is wide open for a candidate who can step to the plate with legitimate credentials that will establish him/her as reasonably pro business and not anti-growth.

The candidate will have to have access to, and be able to convince people to give him/her the kind of money needed to finance a real campaign, and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, they will need to convince people that they are an honest person, who if elected, will not turn out to be a corrupt, lying, weasel dick like Marc Sarnoff turned out to be.

While Johnny Winton had his faults, you need a candidate with Johnny Winton like credentials. You need someone who who won’t scare the business community, either because of their past history of being anti growth, or because of their cluelessness as to what being the City Commissioner for District 2 really entails.

Ironically, in Miami that’s almost like asking for a miracle. Politics has become so corrosive and corrupting a process that unlike many American cities, we suffer from a dismally small pool of up-and-coming potential candidates looking for an opportunity to run for public office.

Marc Sarnoff has capitalized off of that phenomena by helping to make the system more corrupt, and now as a beneficiary of that corruption he is  exploiting the lack of quality candidates to run his wife as his replacement.

For those who care about the future of Miami, there is no greater danger facing the city than allowing Marc Sarnoff to keep his control over District 2 for 4 more years by using his wife as his sock puppet.

So, if you believe that the City of Miami cannot deal with another 4 years of Marc Sarnoff, then the time has come to recruit a real candidate who can defeat Teresa Sarnoff.

Good luck!