Miami’s Joe Carollo feeds thousands to stay in office as recall talk starts again

Anyone who wonders how corrupt Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo keeps getting re-elected just has to look at last week’s food distribution gimmick.

Over three days, Carollo says he distributed 7,000 bags of food to families in District 3 for the holidays. The bags weighed 50 pounds and were valued at $100. Some included a donated pork pernil for the traditional Cuban Noche Buena meal. His staff went to three different parks to distribute the red bags. A lot of elderly voters got them delivered to their homes.

His office said it was the largest food distribution in the state of Florida.

“It’s become a tradition,” Carollo told Univision 23. “I think this year more than any other, with the high cost of living and inflation, our people are much more needy.”

So is the commissioner.

Read related: Miami redistricting cuts Coconut Grove into three rather than add districts

This PR move comes just as talk returns about another recall effort to oust Carollo. He’s more vulnerable now that he’s attacked the homeless population, suggesting a concentration camp on Virginia Key, and divided Coconut Grove into three districts so he could protect his home from a lawsuit. He has also cost the city millions in lawsuits and illegal street closures along Coral Way.

An effort to recall Carollo in 2020 died in court after the commissioner’s lawyers and city attorneys argued that the 1,900 plus signatures had been delivered late. Miami-Dade Judge Martin Fine ruled the signatures — which were turned in electronically the day before the deadline — valid. They were delivered physically a day after, however, and a three-judge appeals panel ruled that they were not valid because there is no language on electronic delivery in the law.

Read related: Miami’s Joe Carollo tries to recall the recall by getting petitioners to recant

Former City Manager Joe Arriola — who funded much of the first recall campaign — was on Raul Martinez‘s Sin Mordaza podcast recently saying that he was ready to start another recall. Denise Galvez, an active citizen who ran for office in District 4, has been on social media calling Carollo out and encouraging another recall effort.

“Stand in line and get your free $100 bag of food paid for by our tax dollars,” wrote Galvez on her city watchdog Instagram account, mentioning the $700,000 in value, according to his own press release.

“Money that won’t be going to any actual city needs like cleaning our streets, providing more police … affordable housing or rent-relief for people getting evicted,” Galvez said. “But then again, it’s really all about solidifying his base and getting people to vote for him in elections or perhaps in upcoming recall he will defend in 2023.

“This is how Carollo keeps winning elections,” she wrote. “He buys off his voters every chance he gets!”

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