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NUMBER 95 - JUNE 17, 2019
THIS STORY IS 100% TRUE. I COULDN'T HAVE MADE IT UP, EVEN IF I WAS USING DRUGS. THE KLINKER WANTED ME TO GIVE HIM A BATTLEFIELD PROMOTION
A couple months ago, on one of my rare visits to a city commission meeting, I went up to talk with City Attorney Victoria Mendez during a break to discuss some finer points of law with her.
When I finished, I turned to walk away, and I heard City Manager Emilio Gonzalez call me, so I turned around and walked over to where he was sitting.
This is what he said," Listen Al, I'm not really happy with this nickname you've given me. Do you think that maybe you could give me a new nickname, like General Burkhalter."
His request caught me by surprise, and my mind turned into a pinball machine as I was first amazed that he would admit that my giving him the nickname Colonel Klink had gotten under his skin, secondly, that he would actually ask me to give him a new nickname, and thirdly, I hadn't a clue who General Burkhalter was.
The reason for that is that I've probably only watched 2 or 3 episodes of Hogan's Heros in my entire life, and that was when it was first on TV.
I came up with the nickname of Colonel Klink because Gonzalez is a retired US Army Colonel who never passes up an opportunity to make some sort of reference to his army career, and also because the image of the bumbling "I know nothing," Colonel Klink has become part of our cultural zeitgeist.
I figured that the nickname fit Gonzalez's behavior as city manager, and the overwhelming embrace of that nickname by city employees and a lot of the regulars at city hall would seem to support my decision and obviously served to piss off Gonzalez.
So anyhow, there I was, listening to Gonzalez asking me to give him a new nickname, and the only thing I could think to say was, who is General Burk-whatever?
This led to a discussion by both Gonzalez, and the gentleman who had been talking to him when he called me over about who General Burkhalter was, and a whole back-story about how all of the actors who played the Germans in this TV series were Jews who had actually fled Germany during the time of the Nazis, and how the only reason they agreed to be in the TV series was if they could turn their characters into foolish caricatures.
It was all really interesting, but as they talked about the history of Hogan's Heros the thought that came into my mind was that here I was listening to Emilio Gonzalez yakking off about some TV characters and instead of just asking me if I'd quit using the nickname of Colonel Klink - which I wouldn't have, but which would have at least seemed a straightforward way to address the issue - was actually asking me for the equivalent of a battlefield promotion to give him a new nickname that included a promotion from Colonel to General.
I shit you not.
I didn't write about this at the time because there was something needy about his willingness to accept of being made fun of if the rank of the cartoonish character that was the basis for his nickname was elevated to that of General that it actually made me feel embarrassed for him.
I'm writing about it now, because things were said both during and after last week's commission meeting that will in the weeks and months to come represent a paradigm shift in my relationship with some of the folks at City Hall, including the Colonel, and since I have repeatedly made it clear that I'm more than happy to play any game that anyone wants to play, with the understanding that at a certain point the game will be played by my rules, I'm putting aside any remaining empathy I might have about any of these people because the City of Miami, from top to bottom, has not only become a criminal kleptocracy that plunders and pisses away the taxpayers money, but that people like Gonzalez have shown a level of cowardice and disrespect to the citizens who pay their inflated salaries and expense accounts that warrants nothing other than open contempt for their behavior and decision making.
Buckle up bitches, because you can't win, and I can't lose!
BECAUSE THE KLINKER LIKES TO POSE FOR PHOTOS, I THINK THERE'S A WAY THAT THE CITY COULD RECOUP THE MONEY THAT IT NOW SPENDS ON HIS TRAPSING AROUND WITH A PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER IN TOW
Among the things that distinguish Colonel Klink from his predecessors is that he spend an inordinate amount of time going around the city on so-called site visits while making sure to pose for photographs that end up on his Twitter page.
When you think about it, all of these "photo ops" end up costing the taxpayers a lot of money because he travels like your usual Banana Republic bureaucrat with a personal SUV and driver/bodyguard and a small phalanx of aides, including one who's principal job is to take photos.
In fact, I spent almost an hour going through all of the photos on his Twitter account - there are dozens and dozens - and chose the following 4 examples with various forms of attire and poses that the Colonel employs to fulfil his duties as City Manager.
There's the casual, the Cuban, the semi-official and the official.
Since the Colonel has a couple standard facial expressions, and poses, I think that the taxpayers would be better served if the city were to purchase 4 full body cardboard cut-outs of the Colonel and then have a low level city employee take the cutouts to all of the various functions and meetings where the only purpose for the Colonel's appearance is to have his photo taken.
Folks could just line up, stand next to the cut out, and have the aide take their photo.
In fact, given his level of delegation when it comes to actually doing the things that a city manager is expected to do, the city could just fire him, and put a cut-out behind his desk, and few people would know the difference.
Better yet, I think that there is a way to turn the Colonel's need to be photographed into a money maker. Cut-outs of the Colonel could be set up at City Hall, Bayside, and other locations where citizens and tourists frequent, and these folks could all get their photo taken with the Colonel for a buck that would include giving them a password that would allow them to download the photo.
If the city really wanted to make some real money, they could get the Colonel to dress up like Colonel Klink, including having him wear a monocle.
I guarantee that that would definitely be a money maker for the city, and when Halloween comes around, they could get a cut-out of Commissioner "Comemoerda" carollo dressed up like Dracula, and that would not only scare the shit out of the little kiddies, but could become a real money maker for the city if they licensed the image to some national company, because having a Joe Carollo dressed as Dracila cut-out in any American city during Halloween would definitely bring in the crowds.
Who says, I never come up with positived ideas for the city to get out of debt?