Anti-Social

KB Council Allison McCormick + Local and National Political Roundup

August 22, 2020 Tony Winton & Thom Mozloom Season 1 Episode 9
Anti-Social
KB Council Allison McCormick + Local and National Political Roundup
Chapters
00:00:01
Allison McCormick Interview
00:18:50
Fernand Amandi
Anti-Social
KB Council Allison McCormick + Local and National Political Roundup
Aug 22, 2020 Season 1 Episode 9
Tony Winton & Thom Mozloom

"A" IS FOR ALLISON: On this episode, TEN -- count them TEN candidates are vying for three spots on the Key Biscayne Village Council. We start in the A's by interviewing candidate and current Council Member Allison McCormick who is seeking a second term. We ask about a $100 million sea level rise bond issue, traffic, and civility at sometimes fractious council meetings.
 
Also, friend of the show Fernand Amandi, a nationally-known pollster, joins us to talk about the Democratic National Convention and the Miami-Dade County races for mayor and District 7 commissioner. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

"A" IS FOR ALLISON: On this episode, TEN -- count them TEN candidates are vying for three spots on the Key Biscayne Village Council. We start in the A's by interviewing candidate and current Council Member Allison McCormick who is seeking a second term. We ask about a $100 million sea level rise bond issue, traffic, and civility at sometimes fractious council meetings.
 
Also, friend of the show Fernand Amandi, a nationally-known pollster, joins us to talk about the Democratic National Convention and the Miami-Dade County races for mayor and District 7 commissioner. 

Tony Winton :

Live This is anti social on WSQF FM in Key Biscayne, it's a radio show that takes the nonsense that's being talked about on social media and tries to make some sense of it. I'm Tony Winton.

Thom Mozloom :

And to be clear, we don't hate social media. I'm Thom Mozloom we just hate the stupid part of social media. Tony here with me is a 30 year veteran journalist who's starting a brand new news outlet on Key Biscayne, the Key Biscayne Independent. You're gonna want to keep your eyes open for that. He takes things very seriously. And if it comes out of his mouth, you can bet it's true.

Tony Winton :

And Thom is a former journalist who has turned to what he affectioiately calls the dark side. I don't know why he says that. He now runs the M Network, which is a branding and strategic communications firm here in Miami. Thom has done a lot of political work and has even worked on several presidential campaigns.

Thom Mozloom :

That's true, but I don't think any of that experience matters Tony, not one bit when it comes to this year's village council election. There are 10 candidates involved. And I'm thrilled that alphabetical order are starting in the A's commission. Your your Commissioner McCormick is with us today. I don't know that this is really an election as much as well. Let me see if we could do this musically, Tony.

Tony Winton :

I don't know that doesn't seem to be the one that we want it. But actually,

Thom Mozloom :

it's a crowded field.

Tony Winton :

Yes, it actually is. It is. It actually reminds me more of like a game show, right?

Thom Mozloom :

Yeah. Oh my gosh.

Tony Winton :

We're not our sound effects aren't working.

Thom Mozloom :

single button right

Tony Winton :

here we go. (Limbo Music)

Thom Mozloom :

It's a limbo, but it's it's definitely musical chairs. It's 10 people wandering around for three seats.

Tony Winton :

Well, you know, one of the lyrics in this is how low can you go,

Thom Mozloom :

stop. Stop being nice. It's the village you guys are all civilized out there. It's not like it's not like us heathens in the city of Miami. Well, it's,

Tony Winton :

we're gonna be civilized on this show. Let's put it that way.

Thom Mozloom :

Okay.

Allison McCormick :

We're gonna be civilized in the election, too.

Tony Winton :

a that is a promise. Right. I get that.

Allison McCormick :

Certainly from me

Thom Mozloom :

first campaign promise of the of the actual election.

Unknown Speaker :

And joining us is Allison McCormick, a member of the village council who was standing for re election. Thank you for joining us here on Anti-Social

Allison McCormick :

Than you for having me.

Tony Winton :

So 10 candidates, what do you make of that?

Allison McCormick :

I think that's what Key Biscayne is all about. Right? It's a village incorporated by its residents for its residents. And we volunteer and we, we all do our part. And everyone who has something to say has a right to come out and say it. I think it's kind of kind of cool.

Tony Winton :

Yeah. 10 we have 10 candidates for three seats. It seems I mean, I can't remember that many people running at all at the same time. Is that historic?

Allison McCormick :

I'm not sure I had. I haven't lived on the key that long. I had six the last time when I ran four years ago. And I will say it was absolutely civil. I mean, you don't know who you're going to be working with? And, you know, we're at large, right? We're not districted. So any three of the 10 of us could be elected

Thom Mozloom :

in a field that large. Obviously, name recognition matters. But how do you? How do you stand out from the crowd?

Allison McCormick :

Well, the amazing thing about Key Biscayne that really is different than anywhere else is the residents are extremely educated and very, very involved. I think we had five different forums the last time and people in addition to watching them and asking questions at them. People reach out to you and they email you they call you. I mean, my cell phone number is on the website at the village and Key Biscayne like it's a small town. So I think, really, it's about getting out and meeting people and hearing what people want.

Tony Winton :

But there is a very, very big issue, not just for the people who were voting for counsel. There's another very big issue about a.

Thom Mozloom :

What is it? Tony? Is it $100? million? (sound effect)

Tony Winton :

Yes, we're talking about the resiliency bond It's my favorite thing to talk about.

Allison McCormick :

I'm so glad that you love that

Thom Mozloom :

I do, I do

Allison McCormick :

But I have to tell you, it's not one $100 million bond. We're asking people about giving themselves the option of using general obligation bonds to fund major infrastructure projects over the, you know, the next 10 years. Right. So it's fun to say $100 million, but it's not. That's just not what it is.

Tony Winton :

Well, that's the borrowing authority. But But what's interesting is, is that the council kind of split the split the difference on the two motions that were in front of it, there was the motion that would allow borrowing up to 100 million but it's really ineffective because There's a debt cap in the village charter, which would prevent you from even getting I think getting close to that number might even be

Allison McCormick :

right now it would put us about 67 million.

Tony Winton :

Right. So so it's not that hundred million is kind of like a vapor number anyway.

Allison McCormick :

Although I think that that vote is a really important one for you know, people talk all the time about property values and investors coming to the island. And I think a statement from the residents that they're that committed to to resiliency by approving a bond question that could total up to $100 million is a huge statement.

Tony Winton :

You're clearly a proponent of it. And many of the people who are in this race are clearly opposed to it.

Allison McCormick :

Yeah.

Tony Winton :

And have used -- I believe they call you "Lady Bond" if I'm not mistaken

Allison McCormick :

I always wanted to be a Bond Girl.

Thom Mozloom :

That is the coolest name. I love "Mayor Bond." "Lady Bond" is pretty darn cool.

Allison McCormick :

I think I should have one of those posters

Tony Winton :

Like "Charlie's Angels"? Is that what we're looking at? Okay,

Allison McCormick :

A Bond girl, right?

Thom Mozloom :

We'll shoot you in silhouette.

Tony Winton :

But why what why is uh, you know, other municipalities in the in the county and around the nation have routinely approved bonds? Not all of them are for resiliency, there are all kinds of other public works projects. Why do you think there is this divide? And and and how do you think it will play out?

Allison McCormick :

I think the divide is about a not a great understanding of what we're doing yet. And my hope is that through the education campaign that the village is doing that people will understand it more, I think it's a scary number. People are worried about the economy. And people are, you know, they want to know, what is it mean, I said earlier that that residents a village keeps hitting are extremely educated and very, very engaged. So they want to know, they want to know what is this mean, and what is it ultimately what is it going to mean on their tax bill?

Thom Mozloom :

How do you think COVID is gonna play out throughout the election? Is that gonna affect you guys on Key Biscayne at the very local level or

Allison McCormick :

Well it's certainly gonna change I think campaigning, you know, we're gonna have to do a lot more virtual. And it's TBD if people are going to be standing on the corner. That's a big part of Key Biscayne running. And a lot of people didn't like that. I loved it. That was my favorite part of campaigning last time was standing on the corner and watching people go to work and waving

Tony Winton :

I have to tell you having done it and I should as a disclosure, I did run for council two years ago I was unsuccessful so I get to have fun here.

Thom Mozloom :

You're one of very few people on Key Biscayne not running for village council this year.

Tony Winton :

Thank you. But I can this this tradition of standing on the corner it's not terribly safe, or they weren't they were there were a few I can only just say there were a few close calls. And we know it's also just

Allison McCormick :

Did you stand in middle?

Tony Winton :

I stood in the middle I stood on the side I really we kind of moved around, you know, we try to share the spot a little bit but but you also learn just how dangerous Crandon Boulevard is. I mean, not just for us holding the signs at least we're doing something to create some attention so people see us. Joggers, cyclists, kids going to school, school buses making all kinds of crazy turns. You really notice this the level of traffic that's out there. And then in polling -- I was going to talk about campaign issues. When when polls are done on in not just in Key Biscayne, but in Miami generally traffic is always up. There is one of the number one issues and certainly gets a lot of attention. In Key Biscayne.

Allison McCormick :

Traffic is always a major concern of our residents. Traffic and open space are always top of the list in surveys. And you're right standing on that corner. It is really eye opening. And I'm happy to say that one of the improvements I think we've done over the last four years is the the crossing guards that we have upped the number of crossing guards and the hours to help people get safely across cranium.

Thom Mozloom :

And of course when we come to traffic and Key Biscayne, one of the big issues that is really not spoken but heard loud and clear is many people would prefer to just blow up the Rickenbacker Causeway and keep the rest of us out.

Allison McCormick :

(crosstalk) A lot of people like to go to work The "fortress Key Biscayne" model that we've talked about. But that's improved a lot over the last couple of years. Have you seen a more welcoming Key Biscayne? And what do you do to sort of encourage that? I think you're talking really about the traffic, right? Yeah. And so traffic in Miami is always a huge issue. And if you were, you know, if you live in Coral Gables going to and from work, it's going to take you a really long time and keep this game we really, we'd like to have a smooth commute. And I think it's something that you'll pass councils and future councils, I'm sure will continue is this constant dialogue that's necessary to really be looking after what's happening on the causeway and how we can try to have some sort of a say and in an area that we have no say.

Tony Winton :

We have just a few minutes left. One issue that I hear a lot and we've talked about it on this program is the notion of civility in these council meetings and You've been there now, you're running for reelection. You certainly witnessed it firsthand of how sometimes these meetings and I'll be quite candid with you they get out of control. There's there was one incident about a year ago where the mayor actually had to gavel the meeting to a close. And there was a 15 minute unplanned recess, just so that tempers could cool down. A couple of weeks ago, we had another similar thing where people talking over each other and interrupting each other. And I'm not, I don't want to get into a "who did what." I'm just saying, at the moment. What is what now that we have 10 people running, you're on running for re election? What can you tell the voters about the way that the council is going to conduct itself and present itself? I'm here with a marketing expert, you know, this is your brand in part, you know, the way that the way that you act? So what can you say to that?

Allison McCormick :

Well, I hope that in those instances I tried to, to lend some calm and and try to to help move our issues forward and sort of diffuse some of that? But I know you did a podcast about us maybe we really need to get stricter with the Robert's Rules. I think traditionally, the councils were people work together in a more relaxed atmosphere. And it seems that that that's not working. So I would agree with your podcast, I think we need to have a shift and I think we need to be more Robert's Rules and follow follow with what we can do and how long people have to talk and you know, I said it before I'm I hope that this is not "how low can you go." in the in the election, but I would say it also for up on the dais, as far as I go, that that stuff's not okay. So I do what I can, and I'm certainly behind trying to take any shift.

Thom Mozloom :

But you see that it's gotten tenser,

Allison McCormick :

I sit in the middle, like - yees, I see it.

Thom Mozloom :

Do you think that is a function of where we are politically today, do we think it is part of a political divide where the left is far left, the right is far left, and they can't have anything to talk about anymore? Or is it just a, just a?

Allison McCormick :

I'm not I'm not sure if it's that or I think, you know, people are really, really passionate about what they believe is right for their community. And I think that sometimes when you get a little bit more laxed in the way you conduct a meeting, the doors open for too much talk or too much emotion. So I would say, I'm not giving up on Key Biscayne yet. I think we all love the Key and we all want what's best. So I think it's passion.

Tony Winton :

There's a saying that the more contentious the issue, the more you need the rules.

Allison McCormick :

I think that's right.

Thom Mozloom :

All right. I'm going to give you a minute and a half. It's your stump speech since we're going to be interviewing as many candidates as we can. Tell us why. Why Why you deserve another shot at

Tony Winton :

Your closing argument.

Thom Mozloom :

There you go.

Allison McCormick :

Okay. So I, I think what I would really like to say is that I'm not done. I feel like we have started so many amazing things. And I get it. And I'm so committed to it. And I want to keep going. I mean, I hoped we would talk about the beach, because I'm so proud of the work we've done to try to get Key Biscayne included in the federal shoreline protection program. And I want to see that through. I don't want Key Biscayne to keep paying to put sand on our beach. I think that we should be like the rest of Miami Dade County, we should have the federal government helping us and that's something that I want to see through. So vote for me.

Thom Mozloom :

What are your top three issues other than the beach?

Allison McCormick :

Schools. I mean, schools is how I came in. I moved to the key and I got involved in the schools because I have four children. I was I ran for election after living there for four years and helping with the schools and making sure that we have the best possible school options for the residents of the village of Key Biscayne is a huge priority for me

Thom Mozloom :

Excellent. Got anything else, Tony? Any pressing questions?

Unknown Speaker :

We've covered kind of the really big issues I could go on about the, the budget, you're heading into budget cycle here. And

Allison McCormick :

I'm really excited about the budget. We've been working so hard. And I know people are so nervous about where the economy is going. But I think people are gonna be really pleased with what we've been able to accomplish.

Tony Winton :

I know..I have to ask this since we have a minute or so right? Collective bargaining, you're in -- the Village is now in bargaining with its municipal unions, the the fire the police and with the the General Staff. The village has taken a pretty strong line, basically, they've told the unions that they are going to they want to zero, no increase, a complete freeze.

Allison McCormick :

So the budget as it is now does not incorporate the total freeze. And I think we'll have to talk about it some more. I mean, I it's I think everybody knows how I feel about our public safety and our village staff as a whole. I think we have amazing people. I think we live out adjacent to the city of Miami. And we're the safest city in Florida year after year. Our Fire Department is phenomenal. If you've ever had to call the services, like second to none, it's amazing. So I if our staff is listening, I hope they know they're appreciated and any any requests for for freezes and all that comes from fear of the economy and we we got to work with them to protect our residents and our millage rate, but also to make sure that our staff is appreciated because they are amazing.

Thom Mozloom :

All right, Commissioner, thanks for being on the show today. We really appreciate

Allison McCormick :

Thanks for having me

Thom Mozloom :

I have to be honest, Tony though. Like I feel like it was like a ridiculously softball interview. And it's because she's so nice. I couldn't ask her a hard question. I really I feel like

Allison McCormick :

Well, I told you my cell phone numbers on the village web site. You can call me.

Tony Winton :

we had there. I that was a pretty hard question. I don't know.

Thom Mozloom :

All right.

Tony Winton :

We can ask hard questions in a nice way.

Thom Mozloom :

Did we do that?

Tony Winton :

I mean, let's

Allison McCormick :

See, we're not going low.

Tony Winton :

If we had if we had a whole hour, believe me, there are many, many, many more questions. I wish

Allison McCormick :

I promise to come back.

Tony Winton :

Thank you. And I wish them the problem with the format is we do it weekly. We have 10 candidates, we're looking at the calendar and Thom and I are saying, if I hope everyone comes on the program. You know, this is "A is for Allison" -- we're hoping next week will be B as for Brett. We'll have Councilman Moss here and we could keep going on C might be a problem - a couple of conflicts there. But But we I mean, even with everyone saying yes, I think we're gonna have we may have to add a few extra shows, Thom.

Thom Mozloom :

Yeah, I it's we're going to, we're going to and I'm gonna I'm really gonna have to get tougher. Okay, embarrassing. All right, good.

Tony Winton :

Thank you very much

Thom Mozloom :

Play the music.

Allison McCormick :

Thank you for having me.

Tony Winton :

(Music) And we're back live on WSQF Blink radio Key Biscayne. 94.5. On your FM dial, I'm Tony Winton

Thom Mozloom :

And I'm Thom Mozloom. And as we speak, I'm going to be phoning a friend.

Tony Winton :

Yes, this is the high to high production value that we do here is we actually have to dial for dollars. You know, I, it reminds me of when I was in very, very in my earlier career, we were talking a little bit about it was the college radio stations and the kinds of things that we would do would shock any kind of professional radio engineer and I don't even want to get into the FCC part of the conversation.

Thom Mozloom :

Yeah, well, I he's picked up the line. So I hope our next guest is here. Before I introduce him. Let me say "you're live"

Tony Winton :

Yes, you are live on an FM station, and our guest is on 94.5 WSQF Blink Radio Key Biscayne.

Thom Mozloom :

alright so a key politics are a little bit different than national politics. I've called my friend to talk about national politics it's Fernand Amandi. He is a longtime partner in crime with me We have worked on presidential elections and we have gotten in more trouble.

Tony Winton :

No! Trouble?

Thom Mozloom :

Fernand will tell you about the story -- Hey Fernand, Can I tell him about the the breakfast you hijacked?

Fernand Amandi :

Let's save that one for a future

Thom Mozloom :

All right. Well, welcome to the show. Fernand. Fernand runs Bendixen and Amandi, they are a polling and public opinion research firm best in the business. And they're local. And I got to be honest with you, probably the smartest team doing what they're doing, not just the fact that they could go out and get the public opinion but their analysis and actionability on it is unbelievable. So Fernand, what do you think of the DNC? How'd that go?

Fernand Amandi :

Ah, yeah, you know, I am supporting the Democratic ticket. So I will first say this, they had an income, you know, this is as a branding expert and as an event producer in your own right, they had an almost impossible task. They had to invent on the fly something that we've never seen before in American history

Thom Mozloom :

Fair.

Fernand Amandi :

or American politics, which is a convention without a convention, a big rah rah cheerleading event without people or the energy that comes with that. So I think in the on the balance you whether you give them the passing grade or the family grade, I think they got a passing mark,

Thom Mozloom :

because it was because it was it was an unconventional

Tony Winton :

Oh,

Thom Mozloom :

Bad joke.

Tony Winton :

Yeah. Oh, man. Well, I will say I loved the close with the the cars in the parking lot. I thought that was an inspired touch.

Fernand Amandi :

Yeah, I mean, look A lot of this stuff is, you know, trial by fire kind of the politics of media event improvisation just because there is no, there's no rulebook, there's no playbook for this. And I give them a passing grade But were there a lot of issues that I thought personally were problematic? I do. Was there more good than bad? if you're if you're looking forward from "did it help the democrats chances? I think it was there was a lot more good. But there were also some things that were a little bit to me. If not tone deaf, a little awkward, a little strange and maybe even inappropriate, given where we find ourselves in as a country.

Thom Mozloom :

Are you talking specifically about the Julia Louis-Dreyfus bit that seemed like way left field and, and tone deaf to me.

Fernand Amandi :

You know, the whole the danger with the approach, because you don't have the benefit of the live event in real time with the crowds and The energy that that already builds in where it's almost like a sporting event is that it might feel overproduced, it might feel a little hackneyed, it might feel a little bit weird. And then I think that Julia Louis Dreyfus and the other celebrity hosts that were kind of functioning as I don't know, Ryan Seacrest as the moderator. Well, I don't know what that was. It didn't work for me.

Tony Winton :

Yeah, you know, you like you said, I think that's a fair comment, though, that you were you were inventing it. But let's play the clip that's gotten some of the heat on social media, from Julia Louis Dreyfus. And the context just so our listeners...

Thom Mozloom :

Yeah, you have to add the context.

Tony Winton :

Yeah. our listeners understand what had happened. moments before this, this joke and it was a joke. She's a comedienne, this was a joke. But but the the, the part that had been going out before was a moving interaction with Joe Biden and talking about his faith with a pastor. And of course, Mr. Biden, whether or not you agree with his politics or not, everyone can appreciate the tremendous sorrows and pains that he's had in his life.

Thom Mozloom :

Yeah, yeah

Tony Winton :

So this is an important moment about, about just talking honestly about that. And then that ends and then there's this joke.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (DNC telecast) :

us remember, Joe Biden goes to church so regularly that he doesn't even need tear gas and a bunch of federalized troops to help them get there.

Thom Mozloom :

Yeah, it tone deaf, off color. And if it was a live room, I think they would have skipped the joke because somebody somebody with headsets on would have been looking at going yet. Pass on that one,

Tony Winton :

right.

Thom Mozloom :

does it play into Biden's hands though Fernand because let's be honest, the rub on Joe is that he may not be the greatest live speaker on the planet. In fact, he's sometimes a gaffe machine. Does this type of presentation where it's all on screens and he gets to read the prompter and doesn't have to be distracted by the shiny Gold thing off in the corner and lose his place, does this help him actually stand up and sound mildly coherent?

Fernand Amandi :

You know, that's why I think fundamentally, Tom, the convention was a success because I thought there were two speeches that really stood out that justify the whole enterprise, maybe even three, if you count two of them as a couple. And, of course, it was the Biden speech. I thought Biden gave the best speech of his entire life. It was tonally appropriate. Tonally, not totally, but tonally appropriate. It had the right i think mood it was presented as a defense of the American value system that has defined democracy for 246 years and, and really very well emotionally connected with the contrast of what Trumpism represents as a threat to that American value system in America.

Thom Mozloom :

Yeah, but, Fernando, you're talking about speech writing, if that was the best speech His life that's a low bar. He stood up and made it through. That's great. The speech was well written. There is no doubt about that. It connects on that level. So praise to the speechwriter.

Tony Winton :

But But truthfully, let's compare the opponent. Compare the opponent. Have you seen Donald Trump in front of a teleprompter?

Thom Mozloom :

Low bar, correct, it's a very low bar. I mean, I think I think for him, I think for Biden to energize his base, all he had to do was live through the convention. So everybody goes, Okay. All right, we're fine. He's, he'll be okay.

Fernand Amandi :

You know, Tom, I'm not sure that's the right metric or framework to judge the speech. I think the mission of that speech was, by this metric was Joe Biden (A), able to disprove the ridiculous expectation setting of Team Trump as his being this mentally impaired, you know, little quasi-vegetable, and obviously he did that within 30 seconds of the speech. He was in command he was in control. And he gave the read the remarks well whether they were on a teleprompter or not, but more important than that even -- it was, did he connect emotionally with the viewers? Did he convey who he was? He couldn't read it from the phonebook. It didn't matter the words themselves. Did you buy it?

Tony Winton :

Okay, now we've really hit the low bar. I think I'm gonna play the limbo music again. Let's hit it again. (Limbo Music) Okay, that's the low bar. You asked. You asked for it Amandi. Thats it baby.

Thom Mozloom :

Wow, we got there quick. We got there really great. let's let's let's let's move away from presidential power.

Tony Winton :

Yes, let's let's let's let's talk locally a little bit. We have some we have some heavy stuff going on in Miami Dade County and I don't know if you probably didn't hear the earlier discussion, Fernand, but we have 10 candidates running in the Key Biscayne village council election for three open seats. So so

Thom Mozloom :

it's musical chairs. Exactly. Even it's the city of Miami. I'm When you look at how the race is broke, and I want to talk about two specific races with Fernand,, I want to talk about mayor of Miami. And I want to talk about district seven which encompasses Key Biscayne. Both of those broke -- in the runoffs, it's going to be a Republican, and it's going to be a Democrat. They were both highly partisan races. Is that surprising at all to you, Fernand?

Fernand Amandi :

No, because I I've always said and I think both, both of you know, this, Tony and, Thom, that I think all elections are partisan elections. You know, sometimes they try and get by on the fig leaf that they're not and it's about the community interest, but especially in this hyper polarized hyper political community, which is Miami Dade County. It's just now happening without the fig leaf. I mean, there's no pretenses about ot anymore. And I think whether it's in district seven, or district five or many of the other contested races, where you have a democrat and a republican running against each other, despite the fact that the ballot won't indicate that or of course, the county mayor's race partisanship and the presidential election and the national mood are going to just serve as being proxies for these local elections.

Tony Winton :

What about the electorate? And and that's it we may have just lost you. I think I heard a beeping noise so hopefully we didn't we didn't lose our guests. We'll

Thom Mozloom :

we'll try to call them back. Right I think after the limbo music Tony, he hung up on you. you.

Tony Winton :

Well, remember, I was talking about having some nicer music. That was the idea so maybe we can act we can actually play that while we're while we're doing that. And this is what I was hoping you were going to use for our our election music. The "Mother of Us All." No, you don't like it?

Thom Mozloom :

I like Limbo, I like the Limbo. but i think i think Fernand is back

Tony Winton :

Okay, let's bring him back.

Thom Mozloom :

If you Limbo Fernand, he's going to hang up.

Tony Winton :

OK, thats...He's a nice guy. Come on. Although I've never seen him Limbo, so I really don't know.

Thom Mozloom :

Oh, he's awesome. Are you back Fernand?

Fernand Amandi :

I'm here. Im here.

Thom Mozloom :

Good on you for dropping the call. Man, I lost where I was. Oh, man, we're talking about mayor, the mayor's race. What happened? I want to start before, not with who's in it but who's not what happened to the Pinellas campaign that just imploded before our eyes?

Fernand Amandi :

You know, it really did. And I think it was a shock to a lot of observers, you know, myself included, because in the in the Pinellas campaign, I mean, you almost had every single thing you could ever hope to have for in a campaign that's almost a can't miss campaign. You have a candidate that unquestionably has an experience and track record, much more so than the other two candidates. You have what I think is still the most politically gifted of the three candidates. You know, Pinellas is able to communicate very well. His message very well. He's a hard working candidate. He's always known for putting in the hours he's not a lazy candidate. He also had the biggest war chest by far. I mean, he raised on both, but it was $6 million, or

Tony Winton :

what is that? What is the what is the factor and I heard this very early on. And even here in Miami, I covered this when it happened as a reporter -- is 2000. Elian Gonzalez. And I guess the abiding, how should we put it displeasure of the supporters of Al Gore?

Thom Mozloom :

I can't believe that was it, though.

Fernand Amandi :

You know, I will tell you I mean, I don't know I didn't I don't wasn't part of the internal deliberations. But I have several folks told me that they were shocked by the surprise of what happened. They were not anticipating this result at all. And it's, you know, it's just one of the things you got to say, Well, how did this happen? Because when you have that kind of a campaign war chest and Thom knows this, too, oh my god, you have the ability to do sophisticated research, you have the ability to do messaging and communications, you have the ability to do all that needs to be done so that you're not surprised on election day,

Thom Mozloom :

maybe it's better. He didn't wait.

Tony Winton :

Is there? Is there a sense of how that happened? Was there? Was it a gender gap? Is it any kind of analysis on how that happened?

Fernand Amandi :

Well, I think fundamentally it was the I call it "the Back to the Future campaign". You know, it was Pinellas was not running in 2020. It seemed he was running in 1996 or the year 2000. It was not a campaign that was cognizant of the moment. And the moment is, as we've all been discussing, this is a hyper partisan, politicized environment.

Thom Mozloom :

So I go back to I go back to this, Fernando. I mean, if he couldn't win, at least his way into the runoff with those resources with that name recognition, then I wouldn't trust him to handle the resources of Miami Dade County. I mean, it's just it was...It was a can't miss. But let's talk about the candidates who are in the race, right?

Tony Winton :

Yes. So what how do you How do you view it going forward between Mr. Bovo and Ms. Levine Cava?

Fernand Amandi :

Well, in a nutshell, I mean, I think you're going to have two wildly different approaches. Daniella Levine Cava is going to run as Joe Biden's running mate.for all intents and purposes (laughter) Kamala Harris move over, you know, and she's going to try and make this rep owes this election for mayor, a proxy referendum on the presidential race. And the reason for that, which I actually think is smart. And the only political approach in a county where Hispanics still dominate is because we know that Joe Biden is going to carry Miami Dade County and that's not in dispute at all whether he wins by 175,000 votes, which I think is the absolute floor, or some people think it might even exceed 300,000 votes. He's going to win and as long as she presents herself as the Biden campaign surrogate for Miami Dade County as the Democrat, the proud Democrat, she's gonna win this race On the other hand, Steve Bovo is going to try and do everything in his power to not at all all make this a partisan race for those very same reasons because he knows that the odds and the numbers are starkly put against it.

Thom Mozloom :

Well, Levine Cava has already started that rhetoric. She continually says, Bovo and his friend Donald Trump's, so she's absolutely going to make this a referendum on Trump. The question is, how much distance is Bovo going to try to put between he and president or is it going to embrace that?

Tony Winton :

That's a double edged sword, isn't it?

Fernand Amandi :

I mean, it is but I don't think whether he wants to embrace it or not. The die has been cast. It's a little too late because he has been openly a Trump supporter, you know, even going so far as to receive him at the airport when he's come to Miami Dade County. Yeah, and those images exists those boats that footage exists and he might as well embrace it because it's she's not gonna be able to get away from

Tony Winton :

let's let's move on a little bit to the to another This might spin into a little more local for Key Biscayne,, and just in the election returns. Key Biscayne voted with Ms Cava, Levine Cava, and it wasn't even close not nearly as close as the rest rest of the county. But it also voted for the first place finisher of the in the district seven runoff situation involving the two finalists are going to be Cindy Lerner, former mayor of Pinecrest, and Raquel Regalado, former school board member. Tell us what how does that race look to you?

Fernand Amandi :

Well, that's another one where, you know, I was a little bit surprised by the result, because, you know, some of the conventional wisdom going in said that it would definitely not be decided in this election. In other words, there was going to be a run off and that certainly bore out, Tony. But I think the surprise that most people I think, believed that Raquel Regalado was going to be the largest vote getter in the race that would go to the runoff and the opposite happened. Actually Cindy Lerner was the one that got The most votes and just like we're seeing in the mayor's race and and other races, Cindy Lerner is going to run almost as a shadow of Danielle Levine Cava as the Democratic candidate running against the Republican candidate in Raquel Regalado. And I don't see a scenario where Cindy Lerner does not get elected in November because of the demographics because of the large democratic turnout in a district that already is leaning strongly towards democratic voter registration.

Tony Winton :

What do you think I'm getting throwing us in a bit? Of course, the current district seven. Representative is Xavier Suarez, who was also running for mayor didn't seem to catch fire at any point. What's what was happening there?

Fernand Amandi :

Could you repeat that? Because I have had a little hard time here and Tony.

Thom Mozloom :

Sure. Xavier Suarez. His campaign never caught fire yet. You know, his son is mayor of Miami and he's got the name recognition. What do you think happened there?

Fernand Amandi :

I mean, a couple of things. I mean, Xavier Suarez had a lot going for him coming into this election, which the mother's milk of politics certainly is to have money, he had a little bit of money, not exactly the most in the field, but a million dollars plus, which is a credible amount. But more importantly, he also had a lot of name identification. Some of it from his own history, and in some of the frankly, was piggyback on the confusion around the last name that he shares with a son who has been in the news a lot recently. And and I think where he got bedeviled was A, he ran as an independent candidate. Again, this hyper polarized hyper partisan era to kind of get squeezed in the middle without loyalty to any country or any party or any part of the county, I think, was a problem, but also, he didn't have a robust campaign apparatus. He didn't really have also a message that was the defining message, which made the case for why him and why not see Bovo why not Daniella Levine Cava, why not Alex Pinellas, and I think, fundamentally that's what got us And had a disappointing I know to him personally fourth place finish.

Thom Mozloom :

So for now and thanks for coming on the show we're gonna we're gonna hit a break really hard here but before we let you go there is no doubt that this election at every level national state local is going to be a bloodbath everybody is going to be incredibly divisive and it's going to be difficult to watch. Are you the kind of guy that's going to grab your popcorn and enjoy it like a horror movie? Or are you going to be horrified with the rest of America?

Fernand Amandi :

I mean, I I hear that you're laughing and I guess in some perverse Twilight Zone way it is, you know, gallows humor funny, but I'll be honest with you, Tom. You know, the reason I've always enjoyed horror movies so much is I know that when the movie is over, I get to go home and back to reality all the danger that was on escapist there for the screen for two hours was not going to happen. Unfortunately, I do believe that there is a horrific choice here. I'm not so sure that the American people have given me complete confidence that they're going to make the right choice. And I'm very worried, regardless of who wins, that there's going to be violence that there's going to be a tremendous sense of, of anger. And I think the country unfortunately might, barring a landslide type of win. I think the country could further divide itself

Tony Winton :

and there and as you I want to give a shout out to your podcast, Strange Days. Fascinating interview you had with an election expert just recently talking about the uncertainties, the insecurity in the systems and the potential for really not even knowing what's going to happen for days after the election is Election Day.

Thom Mozloom :

Allright, Fernand. I will call you after we're done off the off the air and we'll keep going with the conversation. It was great having you

Fernand Amandi :

make sure you bring Mr. Daniels with you, by the way.

Thom Mozloom :

My buddy jack, He's, uh, he comes wherever I go, my friend. Thank you.

Fernand Amandi :

All right. Thank you, Tony. Thank you Thom.

Tony Winton :

So what do you think's gonna happen? I'm just curious.

Thom Mozloom :

I I think for Fernand's right, I think cities are gonna burn. I really do. I'm, I laugh about it in the dark gallows humor sort of way. But I think that we have reached a point in our society, left and right, have moved so far apart that there's no room in the middle for a real conversation. And I think Fernando onto it, I think you sort of have to you sort of have to pray for a blowout, like a landslide victory. So it's so convincing. There's no room for doubt. And there's nobody thinking, Oh, well, it was rigged. But both sides have played that card already. They're both both sides are trying to cast the election into doubt the Democrats.

Tony Winton :

Well

Thom Mozloom :

The Republicans, that's a that's a political move right now.

Tony Winton :

I don't doubt that there's that. That there are extreme statements on both sides. But I also think that just to just as a, as someone watching the conduct of this election to be worried about false equivalence, I don't think that you can talk about... One party is not talking about locking up voting machines or rounding up mailboxes. One party is not talking about that. So I think that there is a distinction you can make about the, the intensity level, it's certainly true that there's attacks going on both sides, there's gonna be negative ads on both sides and a lot of negativity. And a lot of people get turned off by that. That's true, right? What i don't think -- I think it's a mistake to simply say, well, one side does it the other side, do it, they're both the same. I think that's lazy.

Thom Mozloom :

Well, the false equivalency that you're talking about is one side wants to take away the mailboxes and the other side wants to take away your guns.

Tony Winton :

Do they?

Thom Mozloom :

they're both very intense issues that people are going to flip out about. They're very emotional, if you just say it, like I said it, and that's the conversation that's being had exactly like that. That on your phones and on your computers and all your social media. Does one side want to take away? Well, yeah, I mean that's that's what Joe Biden said I'm coming after your AR-14's 15's and 16's. But you know, and he's following suit with Beto O'Rourke Well, if you're a if you're a pro Second Amendment guy, that's alarming that's just as extreme as you know, the mail system is going to fall apart.

Tony Winton :

School shootings?

Thom Mozloom :

Nothing stops a bad guy with a gun quite as effectively as a good guy with a gun. s

Tony Winton :

Let's not -- you can, you know, I'm trying to again put them in there. Depending on how you feel about weaponry. There is a problem with gun gun violence in the United States.

Thom Mozloom :

We could do a whole show on schools

Tony Winton :

We shouuld do a whole show. We had our school person here , right.

Thom Mozloom :

We should have done it. We asked -- I didn't ask the hard question

Tony Winton :

you didn't

Thom Mozloom :

See I told you told you

Tony Winton :

OK She will have to get

Thom Mozloom :

my gut was right. I did not ask the hard question

Tony Winton :

but we will have hard questions on a future show

Thom Mozloom :

I've disgusted myself.

Tony Winton :

Okay.

Thom Mozloom :

Well, on that note, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for listening to us banter this week. You're listening to anti social radio.

Tony Winton :

I'm Tony Winton.

Thom Mozloom :

I'm Thom Mozloom. This is WSQF-LP. Portions of this program were pre recorded.

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