Florida Public Employees
February 27, 2014
By: Elaine De Valle, Ladra – Political Coltadito
Spotted at a Coral Gables eatery the other day: Carlos “CJ” Gimenez, the county mayor’s son, and Hialeah Council Vice President Luis Gonzalez, who is considering a run at the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser’s Office.
While, he wouldn’t tell me what they discussed, Gonzalez confirmed to Ladra Wednesday that the two had met for “not lunch” but coffee or “something like that.”
Could it be that CJ was there to pledge his daddy’s support for Gonzalez? Well, that is, if former State Rep. Marcelo Llorente, who came in No. 3 in the 2011 countywide mayoral recall race, doesn’t decide to go for it.
Gonzalez wouldn’t confirm that when I asked him about the rumors. But he couldn’t stop smiling, either.
“We’re still in conversation,” Gonzalez told me, which sounds sorta like confirmation that he and CJ, the attorney/lobbyist son of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, at least talked about the property appraiser’s position.
The mayor might be interested in getting a “friendly” in that office since he did nothing but butt heads with former Property Appraiser and former State Rep. Carlos “C-Lo” Lopez-Cantera, who was tapped as Lieutenant Governor by Gov. Rick Scott, making the choice elected position, which pays $190,000 a year, suddenly available. C-Lo sued Miami-Dade County last year to gain more independent control over his office and, county insiders say, he was unwilling to let the budget needs dictate property values.
Two candidates, former Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia — who lost in a tight race to C-Lo and only by absentee ballots — and Alex Dominguez, who lost two races recently (one for state rep and another for Miami commissioner).
And while it may not be what Llorente had in mind in terms of his next step in public office, he hasn’t made up his mind.
“I’ve gotten a lot of calls urging me. I’m not going to definitely rule it out,” Llorente told Ladra, declining to answer if one of those callers was Gimenez.
But he didn’t say no, either.
“I’m not going to answer about anyone in specific,” Llorente said. “A lot of elected officials have called me, a lot of people.”
The post has it’s plus side. “It’s an opportunity to get a position that is countywide that I think is incredibly important,” Llorente told me. On the downside: He just had his third baby a year ago and relishes family time, he said.
Plus, he’s doing well where he is, growing in prominence as a lobbyist. Perhaps because of his perceived access to the mayor, a friend he endorsed in the runoff between Gimenez and former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina.
“I’m happy where I’m at. I’m enjoying life,” Llorente said, adding that he does see elected office again in his future, but wants to wait for the “right position.
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