Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-Election Response From Raul Martinez

Dear Friend,

I decided to run for Congress because I wanted our children and grandchildren to live a better, safer and more prosperous life than even we have been blessed to live. Public service has shaped who I am as a person, and no matter where life leads me, public service will always be a major part of my life.

Although our campaign came up short this election, together we pushed the South Florida community, and even the country, to think about and discuss important issues that not only affect us here at home but affect our friends and family throughout the world. I would have been honored to represent you in Congress, but I know that our next President, Barack Obama, will fight for many of the same changes we fought for during this campaign.

Thank you for all the support you gave me throughout this journey. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. I would never have made it this far if it were not for your support, and I hope some day I can do just as much for you as you have done for me.

As a citizen of Florida and this great country, I will continue to fight for you and give back to the community in any way I can. While we may not have won this election, we all won by becoming more actively involved in the democratic process, fighting for what we believe in and exercising one of the most awesome freedoms that the world has ever seen - the right to vote.

Thank you again for your support and I will always remember the thousands of people who stood by my side in our campaign to change this country for the better. You will not be forgotten, and I will continue to speak for you so that your voice is heard throughout our community on the important issues that we fought for together. I will continue this journey for the rest of my life, and while we all have our own path, I look forward to seeing you again along the way.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DCCC Takes on Lincoln

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FL-21, FL-25: Miami New Times writes off the Diaz-Balart brothers

Here's a long and good read about victory around the corner for Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez, and oblivion for the Diaz-Balart slime machine and the two brothers who dishonor their elected office in the U.S. House of Representatives.

See this post on Miami-Dade Dems for one of the examples of dirty politics the brothers practice -- a TV ad intended to boost the fortunes of Mario Diaz-Balart. But Mario, how are you going to explain this at the Pearly Gates? What about the Commandment to Bear No False Witness? His elder brother Lincoln Diaz-Balart has been almost as bad in his noir TV ads against Raul Martinez.

Thanks goodness that the Miami New Times has seen its way through all that crap to write that this year is the "end of the dynasty" for the Diaz-Balarts. Would that the Miami Herald had been equally perceptive.

Anyway, please make a cup of coffee and sit down for a lengthy read through the thinking that will put at least two more Democrats in the U.S. House from South Florida.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fla. Dems Good on Environment, Reps Not So Much

The League of Conservation Voters released their scorecards for Congress. Can you guess what the pattern is? Of Florida Republicans, only Ileana Ros-Lehtinen does as good as any Democrat and that's only one person. Beyond that, all Democrats do way better than all Republicans. No shocker there.

Alcee Hastings (D), 92%
Ron Klein (D), 92%
Timothy Mahoney (D), 92%
Kendrick Meek (D), 92%
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), 92%
Bill Nelson (D), 91%
F. Allen Boyd (D), 85%
Corrine Brown (D), 85%
Kathy Castor (D), 85%
Robert Wexler (D), 69%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), 69%
Vern Buchanan (R), 62%
Gus Bilirakis (R), 38%
Ginny Brown-Waite (R), 38%
Mario Diaz-Balart (R), 38%
C.W. Bill Young (R), 38%
Mel Martinez (R), 36%
Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R), 31%
Ander Crenshaw (R), 15%
Ric Keller (R), 15%
Connie Mack (R), 8%
John Mica (R), 8%
Adam Putnam (R), 8%
Dave Weldon (R), 8%
Tom Feeney (R), 0%
Jeff Miller (R), 0%
Cliff Stearns (R), 0%

Esquire Endorsement

Esquire endorsed Raul Martinez over Lincoln:

Diaz-Balart's bête noire--and raison d'être--has always been Fidel Castro. He made a career of opposing any concessions to the Cuban leader. Fidel's moved on. And Miami's Cuban-Americans have, too.

DCCC Takes on the Diaz-Balarts

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Republicans Don't Support Troops As Well As Dems

Check out the latest scorecards from Disabled American Veterans and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America...


Bill Nelson, 100
Allen Boyd, 100
Corrine Brown, 100
Kendrick Meek, 100
Robert Wexler, 100
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 100
Alcee Hastings, 100

Mel Martinez, 60
Jeff Miller, 66
Ander Crenshaw, 66
Ginny Brown-Waite, 66
Cliff Stearns, 66
John Mica, 66
Ric Keller, 50
C.W. Bill Young, 66
Adam Putnam, 66
Connie Mack, 66
David Weldon, 66
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 66
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, 66
Tom Feeney, 66
Mario Diaz-Balart, 66

Notice a pattern here? All of the Dems have 100%, while none of the Republicans has anything better than a mid-range "D." So much for supporting disabled troops.


Bill Nelson, A+
Allen Boyd, A
Corrine Brown, A
Kathy Castor, A
Timothy Mahoney, A
Kendrick Meek, B
Robert Wexler, A
D. Wasserman Schultz, A+
Ron Klein, A+
Alcee Hastings, A

Mel Martinez, B
Jeff Miller, B
Ander Crenshaw, B
G. Brown-Waite, B
Cliff Stearns, B
John Mica, B
Ric Keller, A
Gus Bilirakis, A
C.W. Bill Young, B
Adam Putnam, C
Vern Buchanan, B
Connie Mack, B
Dave Weldon, C
I. Ros-Lehtinen, A
L. Diaz-Balart, B
Tom Feeney, B
M. Diaz-Balart, B

Republicans do a little better on this one, with Keller, Bilirakis and Ros-Lehtinen all getting an "A." Dems still do better, Meek has the lowest grade on our side of the aisle, and he still has a "B." The only "A+" grades amongst Florida's delegation are Dems and the only grades below "B" are all Republicans. Again, which party actually supports the troops?

Is Lincoln Complicit in Allowing an American Citizen Being Tortured?

I'm not sure what to think about this one, but it's worth taking a look:

American Citizen Tortured by Danish Police with the complicity silence of USA government.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lincoln Diaz-Balart's Corruption

Miami Herald

Now things are really heating up! Raul Martinez and state Democrats at a Miami press conference today looked to tie Lincoln Diaz-Balart to Puerto Rican senator Jorge de Castro Font, who was arrested by the FBI.

Dems charge that de Castro Font has "implicated" Diaz-Balart by alleging to "have traveled to Miami with Congressman Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico to deliver a suitcase full of cash for Diaz-Balart's re-election campaign." The money was allegedly from a prominent PR family.

Diaz-Balart's campaign has called it a "desperate attack" and the congressman told reporters today that he got two checks from the family in 2006 -- totalling about $400.

De Castro Font in an interview with a PR TV station, said the alleged trip took place in 2005 -- long before Diaz-Balart's challenge from Martinez. De Castro Font has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 31 criminal counts including bribery, wire fraud and money laundering. He’s also peeved that Fortuño has tried to distance himself from him since the scandal broke, and even tried to remove him from the November ballot. Fortuño is running for governor, and de Castro Font seeks reelection.

In interview, Font claims that the cash for Diaz-Balart was given through the Fonalledas family.

"These are serious allegations that Diaz-Balart must address," the Florida Democratic Party said in a press release. "Did Lincoln Diaz-Balart meet with the Puerto Rican Senator Jorge de Castro Font and Luis Fortuño? Did he accept $50,000 in cash? Where was this money reported? Is there proof of these contributions and a record?"

A quick check of Federal Election Commission records show that a Jaime Fonalledas did write 2 $200 checks to Diaz-Balart on Feb. 24 2006.

Miami Debate

Video of the Miami congressional candidates debate with Annette Taddeo, Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Great New Anti-Diaz-Balarts Website

Meet the Diaz-Balart Brothers.

Diaz-Balart Family Really Hates Ethics

From the Miami Herald:

Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart has procured millions in federal funding to benefit a small Miami-Dade defense-contracting group that has donated tens of thousands of dollars to his political campaign and that of his brother, fellow U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

Medley contractors Locust USA and Mark Two Engineering began contributing to the Diaz-Balarts' campaigns and political action committees in 2001, the year Locust secured its first small defense contract. Through this year, those contributions totaled more than $67,000.

Locust was awarded $20.8 million in Pentagon research and development contracts from 2001-2007, federal contracting records show.

At least 44 percent, $9.2 million, came through Congressional earmarks sponsored by Lincoln Diaz-Balart, The Miami Herald found. The largest -- $3.7 million -- came in 2006.

''My work on behalf of Locust USA is meant to add jobs to our local economy by putting our community at the forefront of military technology development,'' Diaz-Balart wrote in reply to Herald questions.

Campaign spokesman Carlos Curbelo said there's ''no relationship'' between the earmarks and political contributions. ``We have a very strong firewall between our campaign and the government office.''

I'm calling bullshit. There's no way that there is a "firewall" between something this big. Any member of Congress that didn't know he was getting this kind of money from a contractor would know that turning around and securing earmarks for that very same contractor would be a conflict of interest. An honest and ethical member of Congress would recuse himself from that particular earmark process. But not a Diaz-Balart.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FL-21, FL-25: Good news for Martinez and Garcia campaigns

Here we are at five weeks to election day – meaning three weeks to start of early voting – and the momentum looks positive for the Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia challenges to the Diaz-Balart rubber-stamps.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bob Graham Endorses Raul Martinez

WPLG-Ch.10 Calls Diaz-Balart a Liar

That's because Lincoln is a liar.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Diaz-Balart Family Hates Ethics

Progreso Weekly:

I am pretty sure it was 1990 or 1991. Our second meeting was the only time I have broken bread with Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart. The place was the old Centrust Tower in downtown Miami. There was a little restaurant on one of the floors, halfway up the building. That's where we met.

The Centrust no longer exists. The building now carries a Bank of America sign. Lincoln and Mario no longer serve in the Florida legislature. They are now both members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Let me back up a bit. At the time I was a real estate broker. I was working with two Colombian investors here in Miami. They were father and son. Their last name was Pinsky. They were looking at properties to buy in Miami. They also represented a Colombian group who wanted to build a hotel in Costa Rica.

It's funny, but you never know where life, or in this case the possibility of a business, will lead you. I had mentioned the Pinskys to my father, who was then trying to enjoy his first retirement from Consolidated Bank. He put me in touch with wealthy investors from Miami who said they had connections to some people with strong ties to Costa Rica. They set up a first meeting with whom they termed as friends. We would be having coffee. Invited to the meeting were the Pinskys and my father, who were there with me, and the persons with the connection to Costa Rica, whose identity remained a mystery until the meeting. We had been told they had "incredible" sources. One of them, I was informed, was a Florida state senator.

Sitting down at our table when we arrived were Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart. Not good, I thought. We proceeded. Lincoln was then a Florida state senator and Mario a young and recently elected state House member. I must be fair and tell you that although my insides kept sending warning signals, the informal and quick meeting went well -- it was actually pleasant. The conversation centered on the Pinkys’ plans.

A lunch meeting was then arranged for a couple of days later. It was like night and day. The two brothers were there again. But this time, I saw the real Lincoln show up -- aggressive, as if almost mad. And Mario, as would become so usual, simply stared and nodded his head as his older brother spoke.

Anything was possible in Costa Rica, we were told by Lincoln. Their father, Rafael Diaz-Balart, would be able to handle any and all requests. He had, we were told, a very close friendship with the Costa Rican president. We were led to believe they were almost business partners.

Lincoln then threw down the gauntlet. He may have even hit the table as he addressed the Pinskys. Toward the end of the lunch, with neck-veins popping, red-faced and squeezed-together eyes, he demanded, "For this thing to happen you have to show good faith. You must deposit $100,000 in an escrow account under our control," he told my clients.

No deal ever went through. It was the last time any of us sat at a table with the Diaz-Balart brothers. Later on I was to find out that Rafael Diaz-Balart was under investigation in Spain for money lost by European investors in some kind of scheme.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cry foul: Lincoln Diaz-Balart won't debate Raul Martinez

Sorry, little mistake in the headline. Replace the word foul with fowl, for chicken. That should be the modifier for Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who's not up to the challenge of meeting his challenger in the debate arena.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2 Debates on between Raul Martinez and Lincoln Diaz-Balart

Mark your calendars: Oct. 8 and Oct. 31, the dates for debates between Democratic challenger Raul Martinez and Republican rubber-stamp Lincoln Diaz-Balart, FL-21.

I’m a little surprised. Didn’t figure Diaz-Balart would ever agree to it. What does this mean for the two other congressional races in South Florida, Annette Taddeo vs. rubber-stamp Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in FL-18 and Joe Garcia vs. rubber-stamp Mario Diaz-Balart in FL-25? Will the Democratic challengers finally have something to debate other than the empty chair at the many forums where they appear?

Michael Putney’s column in the Miami Herald gives a thorough rundown of the issues between Raul Martinez and Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Highly recommended reading. Putney is to moderate the first debate, sponsored by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and co-moderate the second, sponsored by the Latin Builders Association, with Myriam Marquez of the Miami Herald. Putney also hopes to host a debate on his ABC Channel 10 at a date to be determined.

Meanwhile, the Martinez campaign calls attention to a Herald column by the afore-mentioned Myrian Marquez urging that the United States ease restrictions on Castro’s Cuba to let more hurricane aid through.

Raul Martinez made that suggestion himself as Cuba reeled from the impact of Gustav, and now that Ike has caused even more damage in Cuba – as well as Haiti and elsewhere in the Carribean – the needs are even greater.

Marquez writes:

No one with any sense is saying dump the Cuba embargo and kiss up to the Castros. But what's so wrong with a 90-day window for Cuban exiles to rush to their families left behind and offer help, as Democratic congressional candidate Raúl Martinez has suggested?

Indeed, what’s wrong with helping people in deep affliction?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Commentary in El Nuevo Herald hints at win for Joe Garcia

Thanks to the Joe Garcia campaign for finding and translating this opinion piece from El Nuevo Herald this past weekend. It concentrates on Joe Garcia's strong chances in the FL-25 race against Mario Diaz-Balart but is just as relevant to Annette Taddeo in FL-18 and Raul Martinez in FL-21: Florida "will not be an island" in the ocean of change coming on election day.

The entire piece is quoted hereunder, and this link goes back to the original Spanish.

It's not hard to guess why Mario Diaz-Balart prefers to avoid Joe Garcia these
days. He doesn't want to bump into him at social gatherings at the Versailles
Restaurant in Little Havana, much less on the radio, television or here in the
Herald. Things happen when, after so many years of a family holding political
power, all of a sudden, there is fatigue of the repeated speeches, the passing
of days, generational shifts or the moment of political realignment in the
country sounds several alarms that warn that the trendy word, change, is not
only coming to the White House, but to the Congress as well. And this is going
to happen to good ol' Joe.

Let's go piece by piece. Nepotism,
regardless how nice the brothers of a dynasty may be, creates antipathy, whether
it be in Florida, California, Texas, China or Vietnam. You also have to add that
the same anti-Castro focus of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, no longer resonates
in 2008. On the contrary, there is a boomerang effect, and you can no longer
duck your head or use the same old story that generated votes in the past.
Cuban-American voters clearly want change in their homeland, along with liberty
and democracy, so they can once again breathe the breeze that stayed behind in
Havana's piers. There is no disagreement on this issue, but alongside this
exiled voting bloc, there is now a new voter. There is the young Cuban American
that was born in the United States, and despite the love he may have for the
grandparents and uncles he may or may not have met, he has a different vision of
the problem. His origins may be in Cuba, but his school, university, wife, kids
and future are in the United States. His first language is English, and he
almost doesn't understand the rhetoric that dates back four decades of exiles
talking about the death of the tyrant or the fall of the regime.

young Cuban Americans are affected by the drama of their peers, and the
nostalgia less than 90 miles from Florida, but what they're more interested
in is that a young politician, that speaks their language, is ready to solve
their daily problems here in the United States. This has been the focus of Mr.
Garcia's campaign. Aside from this generational dilemma, the Diaz-Balarts' and
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen's problem, is that their Democratic opponents for Congress have
surfaced while the country has been inspired by the optimistic change that
Barack Obama signifies. During such a political climate, the standard-bearers of
exile politics represent the exact opposite.

Some things happen
when a candidate arrives that was born on Miami Beach; has longer hair; is known
for being a good guy; is linked to the University of Miami; is well prepared;
and close to various groups of Cuban Americans, prefers to speak less about the
'Cuba libre' we all want, and focuses more on speaking to voters, whose lives
are committed to the country we live in, about pocket-book issues and their
daily lives.

I'm not sure if there will be a electoral dethroning
of the congressional Republicans, but what is felt in forums, letters to the
media and in polls is that change is not only a perception, but rather a real
possibility, with a candidate that shows personal respect toward his opponents
and thinks they are not efficient and that the time for another option is now.
Certain things happen when a veteran politician that follows the line of
Diaz-Balart begins to understand that we find ourselves in a year where China
changes, and that Florida will not be an island in this cry for change, and
that's why he'll find every possible excuse not to be in the same place where he
may have to debate, confront or analyze his rival. Joe Garcia is here to win.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Raul Martinez leads new poll in FL-21

Great news in Roll Call -- poll of 632 likely voters in Fl-21 shows Raul Martinez leading Lincoln Diaz-Balart 48% to 46%. Read the full story in Roll Call.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kos reports on "Democratic resurgence" in Miami-Dade

DailyKos, thanks to Kos himself, Markos Molitsas, has a wonderful rundown of the latest voter registration statistics for Miami-Dade County.

This is the DailyKos Link. We all should study these numbers as we campaign our hearts out for our three congressional candidates, and the DailyKos article is the best place to get it in full detail and nicely laid out with hyperlinks to the official sources.

For this blog I’m only going to report the three districts’ Democratic deficits and show how they’ve shrunk.

  • District 18, where Annette Taddeo challenges long-time Republican rubber-stamp Ileana Ros Lehtinen. The Democrats are only behind 7,129 souls, much better than the deficit of 18,006 in January.
  • District 21, where Raul Martinez has what Kos regards as the hardest role to oust Lincoln Diaz-Balart. The Democrats are behind 24,643, against a deficit of 31,045 in January. It sounds like a big deficit until it’s clear that Republicans always have voted like crazy for Raul Martinez in the district, where he was mayor of Hialeah for many terms.
  • District 25, where Joe Garcia is taking on Mario Diaz-Balart (he who brags untruthfully that our two Democratic congressmen won’t support Garcia). Here the margin has narrowed the most of the three districts, down to 3,624 from 13,348 in January.

No excuses will be accepted for slowing our efforts to recruit new Democratic voters.

Along those lines, I have to say I was sent out to canvass for Annette Taddeo last Saturday and the kit handed to me did not include voter registration forms. There’s no excuse for that. At least a couple.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From the Blogs

Daily Kos: FL-21, FL-25: McCain's shady bundler buddy gave $20,000 to Diaz-Balarts

US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen rejects Medicare fraud remedy

The Miami Herald is outdoing itself lately with investigations. As the staff shrinks, will the good work still have a chance to continue? The answer will have telling effect on our civic culture, and on the jail population. Fewer crooks will be incarcerated if the Herald isn’t able to keep on exposing fraud.