A GIRL NAMED JOHN APPEARS ON SOUTH BEACH WEST SIDE
Watch out for a boy named Sue
1 October 2015
By David Arthur Walters PRESS INDEPENDENT
John Elizabeth Alemán, candidate for City Commission Group 6, appeared at a function for that occasion sponsored by the West Avenue Neighborhood Association at the swank Mondrian Hotel on West Avenue.
The gathering was small and intimate. Access to the event was hindered by longstanding road construction on West Avenue and Alton Road associated with repaving and installation of stormwater pumps and road raising that has cost many millions of dollars to businesses in the area over the last two years not to mention the general burden on taxpayers.
John Elizabeth Alemán is a “girl named John” in keeping with the tradition in her family of naming children after her paternal grandfather’s World War II buddy and fellow Army medic.
Mrs. Alemán, who holds a degree in finance, was accompanied by her husband, technology executive Jose Braulio Alemán, a personable gentleman who was obviously very proud of his wife.
He said they met in the information technology business. She eventually retired from Ryder System, where she managed supply chain and transportation software projects, to attend to their children’s upbringing while he advanced his career. She was, however, approached by Mastec and offered a job as its CIO, which was her dream job because she had only been number two in information management at Ryder. She reluctantly agreed to serve as CIO on an interim consultant basis. When pressed to take the job permanently after nine months, she declined inasmuch as she desired to keep her commitment to raising her children.
She is well known in the education community for assisting PTA organizations, winning several county awards including “PTA President of the Year” in 2013. According to her LinkedIn.com page, she currently chairs the Quality Education Committee for the City of Miami Beach.
So education is her strongest suit. Her reputation in that field purportedly won her the endorsement of Commissioners Michael Grieco, a former prosecutor and now a criminal defense lawyer, who was present with his beautiful companion at the function, and Joy Malakoff, a banker, both of whom ardently support education and children’s programs.
Michael Grieco, in fact, has recently formed a nonprofit program entitled Miami Beach Kids First. Mrs. Alemán’s opponent, Mark Samuelian, a businessman and chess master who teaches chess to children and who claims to be much beloved by them, displayed the Miami Beach Kids First logo in a political email blast stating that he supported the program and intended to attend its first fundraiser. Mr. Grieco responded with a blast of his own, charging him with trying to hijack his kids program for political purposes.
Mrs. Alemán also enjoys the endorsement of Mayor Philip Levine, a wealthy developer and propagandist who has become increasingly under fire for his egoistic management style and exaggeration of his accomplishments.
Any specific wrongs done, however, can always be blamed on his city manager except for his association with Commissioner Jonah Wolfson in what appeared to be a shakedown of vendors and developers for hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to Mr. Wolfson’s political action committee, Relentless for Progress, the progress advertised being that purportedly advanced by the mayor.
The mayor, in response to the big stink raised by noted political reporter Michael Putney on television, said that the PAC was legal and that he was self-financing his re-election campaign anyway.
He has plenty of money for that, and is said to have purchased the majority on the commission that he now leads as a de factor strong mayor in city with a weak mayor charter, going so far as to say during the last election cycle that whosoever receives the king’s shilling is the king’s man. A king never has enough money, nonetheless, and one way to have more of it is to use other people’s money instead of one’s own.
Mrs. Alemán insisted that she is not a bought politician. She is independent, she insisted, and is committed to voting her conscience; that is, she will vote for proposals she believes are good for the community, and against the rest.
The reason she said she decided to run for commissioner is that she believes the city is being taken in the right direction. She cited the free trolley along the west side of South Beach, and the success around the new pumps of the stormwater program initiated by the previous regime, except for the road raising aspect, and also the transparency of the current regime in respect to budgeting.
Traffic, of course, is a problem that she will work on, she said. Ironically, increased traffic is created by the overdevelopment that funds political campaigns, and now traffic resolution is a main plank in almost every politician’s platform. Her experience at Ryder would be of advantage to the community in that regard. She mentioned that multi-modal transportation, a system of interlinked vehicles that would take passengers to their destinations, might be part of a good solution.
John Elizabeth Alemán rushed off to a debate on North Beach, so voters are urged to examine it for details.
Most of the neighbors who lingered behind with WAVNA president Gayle Durham thought Mrs. Alemán looked good. Win or lose, she is a good person to know. The view of the sunset was spectacular. The Cuban and Japanese snacks were delicious. The red sangria was better i.e. sweeter than the white, or at least that was the consensus.