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ELAINE DE VALLE DIDN’T LIKE ME CALLING HER A SHILL

IN FACT, I THINK THAT BESIDES BEING A SHILL, HER BEHAVIOR HAS BEEN UNETHICAL  BECAUSE  WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU CALL SOMEONE WHO PUBLISHES A POLITICAL BLOG THAT CRITICIZES POLITICIANS WHILE MOONLIGHTING AS A CAMPAIGN WORKER FOR SOME OF THE OPPONENTS OF THESE POLITICIANS, ALL THE WHILE REFUSING TO EITHER ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SHE IS ON THEIR PAYROLL,  OR REFUSING TO REVEAL THAT SHE’S A PAID CAMPAIGN WORKER WHEN SHE CONTINUES TO ATTACK HER EMPLOYER’S OPPONENT

FEBRUARY 12, 2016

I will never forget the first time I met Elaine De Valle, AKA “Ladra.”


It was at the campaign party for Carlos Gimenez after he won his first primary election to eventually become Miami-Dade County Mayor.  I had gone to get some photos and meet a friend of mine, and during the evening my friend and I started chit-chatting with Elaine.  Somehow or another we started talking shop and stories that we were working on - just gossipy kinds of things - and I recall at one point making an offhand remark about something that I was going to tell them that I wanted them to consider “off the record.”


Without missing a beat, Elaine replied, “I don’t do off the record.  Everything with me is on the record.”


I made it a point from that moment to never to engage in any conversation of substance with Elaine De Valle.


Now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t appreciate or enjoy some of the stories that she wrote, or that I envied her snarky writing style, because I’m always envious of people who write with a snarky style, and on occasion I sent her info on stories that dealt with the parts of Miami-Dade County that she covers.  I even re-tweeted links to some of her stories because I thought the stories were good and deserved as big an audience as possible.


She was a fellow blogger and since the areas and stories we covered seldom overlapped I didn’t give her, or her ‘journalistic’ behavior all that much thought.


That changed in August of 2014, with the publication of this story by Patricia Mazzei in the Herald.

I was amazed, and I think a lot of other people were also amazed at the brazenness of her solicitation.  It’s true that she has ads on her site, but I also know that she has an ad manager who handles the placement of those ads on her account. 


The notion that after having written all the of negative stories that she had written about Curbelo, that she would then personally attempt to solicit an ad buy from him made me realize that maybe the reason that Elaine also liked to assume an alter-ego identity as “Ladra” was that she might also be batshit crazy, because no one with any political or journalistic sense - especially someone who had worked for a big city newspaper like the Miami Herald for almost 20 years - would consider this acceptable behavior when writing about politicians.


Four months after this incident De Valle showed up on the campaign finance reports of Ralph Cabrera, who was running for Mayor of Coral Gables as a consultant. The 4 campaign reports that I obtained indicate that she collected a total of $7000.

On January 12th, 6 days after she received her first check from the Cabrera campaign, she wrote another story disparaging the decision of Cason for deciding to run for mayor again, and midway through the story she slipped in another mention that Cabrera was her choice, but what she didn’t do was reveal that she that her real relationship with the Cabrera campaign was that she was officially on his campaign payroll, which meant that Cabrera was not only “her choice,” but also her employer.

On November 18, 2014, before she had officially signed on with Cabrera’s campaign she wrote a glowing article of why Cabrera should run for Mayor of Coral Gables and included a pledge of support and help.

On December 10, 2014, in a disparaging story about current Mayor Jim Cason’s decision to run for reelection as mayor, she slipped in a mention that she was now “helping Cabrera” with his website and social media.

If you go to her website, you’ll see that she continued to write attack pieces against Cason. You can read some of them HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.


There are more stories, but I’ve stopped here because the link to the last story included De Valle’s attempt to defend herself about what were becoming serious questions about her ethical behavior in being part of Cabrera’s campaign while continuing to use her blog to write attack pieces against Cabrera’s opponent, and pretending that what she did on her blog was separate and unrelated to what she was doing as a paid campaign worker.

It turned out that the voters didn’t agree with De Valle’s opinion on Cabrera being the “right person for this job.”


He lost the election.


But it didn’t matter all that much to De Valle, because weeks later she took her talents from the Cabrera campaign to the Jeffrey Duane Porter campaign who was running for Mayor of Homestead.

She collected $3975.00 for her services, and like the Cabrera campaign, a search of her blog reveals that none of the three stories she posted on her blog promoting Porter revealed that she was on his payroll.  You can read them HERE, HERE and HERE.


Like her failure to acknowledge that she was collecting a pay check from the Cabrera campaign, the closest that De Valle came to acknowledging that she was on Porter’s payroll, in the 3 stories that I found was her reference that she thought he was one of the good guys.

This time, Porter won.


On January 10, 2016, De Valle, parlayed her previous attacks on Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, along with her fangirl support for Raquel Regalado, to announce on her blog that she was joining the Regalado For Mayor campaign, because as she claimed, “There comes a time when you have to put your blood and sweat and guts where your big mouth is.”

Who could argue with that, or for deciding to announce her signing on with the campaign before people started criticizing her for not doing so.  De Valle was going off to war to fight shoulder to shoulder with Raquelita for truth, justice and the American Way.


That is, until I called her a shill in a twitter exchange after she fired off an attack that Carlos Gimenez’s policies and treatment of the Miami-Dade Police Department was the cause of several recent shooting in Liberty City

I’ll be the first to admit that trying to engage in a reasoned public policy debate using Twitter’s 144 characters is not the smartest thing in the world. 


But none the less, I did, and do think that to attempt to lay the blame for the killings that occur inside the city limits of Miami, Miami Gardens, Opa-Locka and the other cities and municipalities where they’ve been occurring on Carlos Gimenez, when you’re working for his campaign opponent is indeed a classic example of shilling, in the worst way.


De Valle took offense to my calling her a shill, and called me at the beginning of the week to tell me that she thought that I was being unfair, even going so far as to ask me if I knew the dictionary definition of shilling. 


I told her that I didn’t and she then went on to provide me with a dictionary definition that was pejorative, negative and included language of someone who was being paid to promote the interests of someone else.


She claimed that this definition could not apply to her because she was only working on Regalado’s campaign as a “media consultant” helping to work on her campaign website and crafting positive messages, and that her comments about Gimenez weren’t part of her campaign activities.


As De Valle might say in Spanish, that was all Caca De Toro.


Now I don’t care who Elaine De Valle wants to support or attack on her website, or even whose political campaign she chooses to go to work for, but I do care, and I think a lot of other people also care that when someone like De Valle, or me, or anyone else who writes about the behavior of politicians as we do, that we do so based on some real information and that our opinions, no matter what they are, are ours alone, and not the result of our being paid to express those opinions.


When you sign on to work on someone’s political campaign and start collecting a paycheck, you loose that independent status and become a paid partisan who as De Valle wrote agrees, “to put your blood and sweat and guts where your big mouth is.”


What that means is that once you start collecting a paycheck from a political candidate and open your ‘BIG MOUTH,’ that ‘BIG MOUTH’ no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the campaign, and you have an obligation to make sure that every time you open it, people are aware that you’re doing so on behalf of your candidate!


To claim otherwise is not only bullshit, but it’s unethical, sleazy and unprincipled, and if someone like De Valle with almost 20 years of experience inside a major Newspaper claims not to know any better then on top of everything else she’s a moron.


Therefore Elaine, anytime you decide to attack Carlos Gimenez while you’re on Raquel Regalado’s payroll, you have an obligation to make it very clear that you are doing so as a representative of her campaign, because whether you want to admit it or not, that’s a big part of the reason you’re collecting $3500 a month from her campaign.


Every time you don’t and get caught doing so, you deserve being called an unethical shill!


It’s Miami, Bitches!

Hispancizewire.com