Beamer, Benz or Bentley? - NBC 6 South Florida

Beamer, Benz or Bentley?

Mayor says he would consider getting rid of county's car allowance next year



    Beamer, Benz or Bentley?

    What's a superhero without a Batmobile? Just a regular guy pushing a minivan.

    So no wonder Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez  is looking to upgrade his personal ride, with a little help from taxpayers.

    The mayor with the superhero theme music has county officials reportedly shopping for a a new BMW 550i Gran Turismo Sedan, worth around $75,000 with a few added enhancements required by Alvarez.

    That's about the salary of a few city clerks or bookkeepers.

    It wouldn't be so bad for the head honcho in Miami-Dade to be stylin' and profilin' in a jet black, chromed out Beamer, if it weren't for the fact that Alvarez was a hairpin turn away from laying off 1,700 county employees to balance the county's budget.

    Alvarez said it's not his fault. He's just taking advantage of the car allowance. He said he understands the firestorm, but that he has been driving a Beamer for almost a decade so why change now.

    Alvarez said he would recommend eliminating the car allowance program, but not until next year's budget.

    "You don't enter into public office to make money," Alvarez said. "I'm not going to say, 'I will give this up as some symbolic gesture' because that's not me and that's not going to solve anything."

    The first $800 of any car payment would be funded by taxpayer dollars. The rest would be Alvarez's responsibility because the BMW is his personal car.

    There is nothing illegal about Alvarez using his car allowance on his model of choice, but why not take the opportunity to make a different kind of statement. Why not go green and buy a hybrid or electric car?

    It's a lot easier to look sympathetic to employees who just received pink slips in a bubble car than a pimped out ride.

    Don't be surprised if you see Alvarez or some county official down at Scott Rothstein's auction trying to bid on one of the Ponzi schemer's futuristic rides. We hear those cars are a real steal.

    But no matter how you slice it, Alvarez would be riding in luxury on a discount.

    On second thought, Alvarez might need the V8 engine  pumping out 400 horsepower to speed out of county hall after he announces his next budget.