David Smiley of the Herald broke the “news” a couple days ago that Grace Solares had proclaimed herself as the “Queen Of Miami,” while attending a city meeting, and that in a followup, Christian Ulvert, her campaign consultant issued a statement tclaiming that, “There is no doubt that Grace Solares is the queen of good government and holding city hall accountable.”

While I think a lot of folks would be surprised to learn that Grace would refer to herself  - even jokingly - as the “Queen Of Miami,” I don’t think anyone would be surprised if I were to tell you that she was a once a registered Republican, until 14 days after she filed her initial campaign papers when she decided to change her Party Registration from Republican to No Party Affiliation.

Changing your party affiliation from Republican or Democrat to No Party Affiliation is not a prerequisite in order to run for a nonpartisan office, and in fact none of the others candidates for any of the open City Commission seats have, as far as I can determine either changed or disassociated from their political party affiliation as a result of becoming a candidate.

For a lot of people, their political party affiliation, like their religious affiliation, is a core part of their identity, and to forsake that part of their identity is a pretty serious thing.

Along with the information that I received about Grace changing her party affiliation, I also received information that the reason that she had made the change was because Ulvert, her campaign consultant who had been the Political Director of the Florida Democratic Party until he was unceremoniously “kicked to the curb” after the massive losses that the Democratic party suffered in the 2014 election, decided taking on someone like Solares as a client and molding her into the kind of candidate able to get the support of various unions and the Democratic Party where he still welded influence, was a way to show he was still a player.

I wrote Grace and asked her about all of this and she acknowledged changing her affiliation, but categorically denied that Ulvert’s political activities or efforts to get the various union and Democratic Party endorsements had anything to do with her decision to change her affiliation. Here’s what she had to say:

        “More importantly, I had been a registered Republican for many

        years but the last time that I voted a “Republican Ticket” or for all

        Republican candidates was when I voted for Ronald Reagan.  I long

        ago stopped voting for a Party  -  I have long voted for individuals/

        candidates and what he/she stands for.  As a result I decided

        to remove myself from any party affiliation because non-party

        affiliation depicts the person that I truly am:  an independent.”

Of course I would never expect Grace - or any other candidate - to admit that they decided to forsake their party affiliation in order to improve their chances to get political endorsements, but a decision to make that change 27 years after she supposedly quit voting only for Republican candidates,  and two weeks after filing her papers to become a political candidate does make one wonder why she was so busy and/or distracted that she didn’t decide to make this change until now.

But, that’s just one of several issues related to the way in which Solares is now attempting to present herself as an outsider who, as Ulvert claimed “is the queen of good government and holding city hall accountable.”


A couple days before she called herself the “Queen Of Miami,” the political committee Taxpayers Engaged, chaired by Christian Ulvert and funded by Solares supporters, sent out a mailer portraying Marc and Teresa Sarnoff as being in the pockets of special interests.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

Ulvert’s claim was that the inspiration for this parody of the Monopoly game was based on a comment that Sarnoff made when he first ran for City Commission that, “When someone gives you a half a million dollars, they expect to get a return on their investment, and that return means large high-rise buildings in Miami.  That’s the bottom line.”

I think a lot of people would agree that over the last 8 years Sarnoff demonstrated just what a good investment he was to all of those developers that gave him money, but for anyone associated with Grace Solares’ campaign - especially her Campaign Consultant - to imply that she is a local version of Snow White to Sarnoff’s Wicked Witch of the West are being led down the Primrose Path.

As I wrote in my August 14th story about Grace taking sizable donations to both her campaign account and to this Taxpayers Engaged political committee from several pretty sleazy people, starting with convicted swindler Stephen Kneapler, along with Fausto and Remedios Diaz Oliver who were convicted of trying to defraud the government aren’t indications that her bullshit detector or moral compass is all that much better than the Sarnoffs, because contrary to any claims made by Solares or her supporters that she is an outsider, are ridiculous.  Grace has always been an insider, and has always played the game as an insider.

Her relationship with Kneapler, who in one way or another has been attached to both Regalado and the City of Miami’s tit going all the way back to the 80’s, should give people real reason to question any commitment Solares‘ might make not to follow Sarnoff’s steps in engaging in Pay-For-Play with her own stable of deep pocket benefactors.  Kneapler and his family have so far have ponied up $25,000 to Solares’ campaign, and that’s in addition to the money I’ve rumor has it he provided to help finance her lawsuit against the The Harbour In Coconut Grove” project.

Nor can Solares claim that she’s always been opposed to Sarnoff’s sleazy behavior, because before she was against Marc Sarnoff, she was one of his strongest supporters. 

At the November 25, 2009 Special City Commission meeting that was held to deal with the sudden resignation of Commissioner Angel Gonzalez as part of a plea deal regarding his daughter receiving a no-show job, Grace expressed her concerns about the dangers of the remaining Commissioners appointing someone to finish Gonzalez’s term who might turn around and get voted out of office 9 months later. 

To bolster her argument she cited Sarnoff’s own race against Linda Haskins when she was appointed to replace Johnny Winton after he had been removed from office over his fight with Metro cops at the airport, only to lose to Sarnoff in 2007.

Here’ is how Grace described her involvement and support of Sarnoff in that race.

        “So this is an extremely important issue. About those of you

        who are worried about an incumbent -- you call an incumbent

        somebody who you appoint today being in here for the ten

        years, that is an absolute and total fallacy. Why? Because

        Linda Haskins was appointed to that seat when Johnny Winton

        left. What happened to Linda Haskins? I walked -- this man

        didn't have any money, $70,000 -- I think he had 780. We, the

         people, walked for him. We, the people, wrote letters for him.

        We, the people, got people to vote for him. With $70,000

        against $800,000, she lost; he won. So to say here today

        that you cannot appoint someone to a seat only because that

        person is going to be there for the next ten years to me is


Sarnoff had by then been in office 2 years and started exhibiting some of the nasty traits that has now become known for.

In 2010, when Sarnoff ran for reelection, and when even more time and revelations about Sarnoff’s proclivity for screwing the taxpayers had become public, including but not limited to his involvement in the creation and support of the Global Agreement that resulted in Solares becoming a Co-Plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the agreement and the vote that Sarnoff cast that allowed Marlin’s Stadium to be built, Solares still had no problem in giving him a $500 donation.

For all of her efforts to portray herself an an activist, Solares is better known within the hothouse of City Hall politics as a staunch Regalado ally, who showed her allegiance early on, when after becoming the President of Neighborhoods United, orchestrated a move away from their previous political neutrality to have that group endorse Regalado for Mayor in 2009. 

It’s been this alliance with Regalado that led to his appointing her to the Charter Committee last year, and why he’s supporting her campaign. If elected, she would become, like Willie Gort, just another Regalado crony on the Commission.

After suffering through 8 years of insolence and arrogance with Sarnoff, I think many folks in Miami believe that they’re entitled to a change, because the last thing anyone needs is a City Commissioner who even jokingly considers herself as a Queen. 

Miami has had more than their fill of Queenly behavior with Sarnoff.

It’s always Miami, Bitches!