This Week in Florida: A Violent Stripper, A Crazy Naked Man, 4000 Lbs. of Cocaine, & More
Please allow me to introduce Demetrio Perez Jr…
Perez first made national headlines as a City of Miami Commissioner in 1982, when he threatened to banScarface producer Martin Bregman and director Brian DePalma from shooting on city property unless they made changes to Oliver Stone’s screenplay. He claimed that he was concerned with the negative portrayal of Mariel refugees—thousands of whom were dangerous criminals who turned South Florida upside down and contributed violently to our skyrocketing crime rate—and suggested that the character of Tony Montana be rewritten as “a Communist agent, infiltrated into the United States by the Fidel Castro government.”
Interesting perspective: Flee the oppression of Cuba for the freedom of America so that you can censor people here? I guess he wasn’t as pissed about Fidel Castro ruling with an iron fist, as he was that he wasn’t the dictator imposing his dangerous will on the people.
South Florida voters gave him plenty of opportunities to do so, however, as he was later elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board, where uniforms were a typical part of his platform to transform Miami into his own dictatorial playground.
Perez is also a slumlord and a convicted felon who defrauded the federal government and stole from South Florida’s poorest residents in a Section 8 housing scam in Little Havana. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush removed him from the school board following his 21-count federal indictment.
Most intriguingly, he owns a chain of for-profit private grade schools (a conflict that didn’t seem to concern his constituents when he served as a public school board member), where he actually wrote the textbook. The book is basically an insane ideological rant with chapters on dinner table etiquette and “civic morals” (written without irony) and a history lesson on America’s greatest president, Richard Nixon, and how he got a raw deal.
During his brief stay in Miami, Elian Gonzalez attended one of his schools, where he was shamelessly exploited by Perez.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, who recently received $10,000 in campaign contributions from Perez, introduced a resolution that would issue $110 million in bonds to benefit Perez’s private and charter school business ventures. While there is no fiscal responsibility on the part of the taxpayers, Perez would be given the money to buy his private companies from himself and then be paid to run those businesses as non-profit entities, so he’ll no longer have to pay taxes on their revenue
The scheme was endorsed by the Miami-Dade County Commission last week. The resolution passed eight to zero, with no discussion or dissention. This happened after they spent an hour debating and voting on an ordinance to open their meetings with a prayer (that passed, too).
According to Commissioner Barreiro’s chief of staff, “it’s for the children.” If you believe that, I have a baseball stadium I want you to finance.
Welcome to This Week in Florida.
- A Tampa mother-daughter porn duo—known “professionally” as The Sexxxtons—have started a website and released their first DVD (whatever that is). They say their goal is “to be filthy rich.” Well, they’ve certainly accomplished the first half of that mission.
- Christian Slater was among those Floridians disenfranchised in the 2012 election. His ballot was disqualified by Miami-Dade elections officials because “the signature on the provisional ballot certificate envelope did not match the signature on [his] voter registration record.”
- Don’t fret, Christian and my other fellow Floridians: Governor Rick Scott has dispatched “a team of experts” to investigate the “problem” with this year’s voting. Which will likely go a little something like this:
- The University of Miami is already internationally renowned for its shameless inability to protect its studentsand campuses. Last week, after a laptop had been stolen on campus, their emergency alert system (developed following the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting) kicked into action, warning students simply that there was a “black male on campus.” Not an unusual occurrence, even in the upscale, predominantly white and Hispanic City of Coral Gables. Follow up messages contained either no information (see below left) or misinformation (that the suspect was armed).
- Four kittens were discovered inside sandwich bags in a St. Petersburg man’s freezer by a woman who he ordered to fetch him a beer. Three were still alive. As my bubbie always says, “If it’s in the freezer, it lasts forever.”