Only I wasn’t.
It wasn’t even a remote possibility. With a year into my term as a director of the North Miami Beach Little League, I was all about the baseball. I had been politically involved in local and national politics for years as an activist, but I’d much rather help run a sports program than run for office. As I’ve stated on far too many occasions than I care to remember, being a politician isn’t, never was, and never will be on my bucket list.
But back in 2007, someone heard it on the radio. Someone told someone else, and so on. And the next thing you know, people were calling me to ask if I had opened my campaign account yet.
I was all, like, WTF? Who said I was running for office?
Well, they said it on Haitian radio. It must be true.
Only it wasn’t.
But you try telling one fifth of North Miami Beach’s residents that what they heard on Haitian radio isn’t true. And good luck with that. Once election season began, the fact that I wasn’t a contender came as a surprise to everyone but me.
It’s a well known fact in both North Miami Beach and North Miami, that the vast majority of the Haitian population gets their “news” from Haitian radio. Whether it’s true or not. Facts are inconvenient and irrelevant.
The radio show hosts know this. Campaign consultants know this. Politicians know this. Wannabe politicians know this. Everyone takes advantage of it.
Haitian radio hosts and their guests also take advantage of the fact that most non-Haitians don’t speak Creole. So they get away with talking trash in Creole on the air without being challenged by non-Haitians. When I tried to get to the bottom of the rumors about my running for office, I was told, “Creole is too difficult a language to translate.” What they meant was, “We can’t keep track of our own lies and we’re not about to admit anything to you.”
Haitian radio hosts may not want non-Creole speakers to know what they say behind their backs, but they have no problem taking money for campaign ads from Haitian and non-Haitian candidates equally. Serious candidates spend more money on Haitian radio during local elections than on any other type of campaign expenditures, including signage. Elections can be won (and lost) by how much air time a candidate buys on Haitian radio. Unless that candidate happens to count a radio host as a “close, personal friend.” In that case, fees can be magically waived or donated as an “in-kind” contribution.
Now that the North Miami mayoral race is coming to what will most likely be a dramatic close – this is North Miami we’re talking about – the rhetoric on Haitian radio is getting more and more outlandish. Trying to sort through all the lies and rumors being told to get to the truth would be a full time job.
Fortunately, I have plenty of sources who not only listen to Haitian radio, but who are also radio hosts on several different stations. They like me. They tell me stuff. As such, I don’t have to spend too much time or energy (and I don’t even have to speak Creole) to find out the real dirt on what’s going on in the mysterious world of Haitian radio.
Thanks to my peeps, I’m able to dispel a couple of nasty rumors for my readers.
Rumor #1: North Miami Election Gossip
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the rumor that North Miami mayoral candidate Smith Joseph intends to make former Mayor Andre Pierre the City Manager if he wins the election. I’m happy to report that SMITH JOSEPH SAID NO SUCH THING!
On or off Haitian radio.
Not only did I confirm this with Smith Joseph’s people, but I checked with sources inside Haitian radio and avid radio listeners as well. It would be juicy gossip … except that it’s not even remotely true. Dr. Joseph has no plan to push Andre for CM any more than I plan to run for office. If anyone out there disputes this, I challenge you to produce an audio recording of Dr. Joseph making this comment. No translation will be necessary, I have people for that.
Stop and think about this for moment. Smith Joseph and Andre Pierre are intelligent people. We all know this. Both of them are well aware that placing Andre in a position of power would be a dumbass move of epic proportions. Even Andre himself knows full well that he is a controversial political figure. Why would either of them jeopardize Dr. Joseph’s chances to win the election? Andre may still have his supporters, but there are plenty of people who don’t want him back at City Hall in any capacity.
More importantly, keep in mind that the Mayor is only one vote out of five and has no “power” to appoint or hire anyone on his own.
If anyone out there is crazy enough to believe such a ridiculous rumor, get a grip and put it to bed already.
Rumor #2: Frantzie Watch
If the North Miami election weren’t Haitian-radio-newsworthy enough, the campaign of yet another controversial political figure, State Representative Daphne Campbell, is also playing out over the airwaves. Miz Daph is defending her seat for District 108 against challenger Cedon Saintil, Jr., and here’s where it gets crazy.
Or, um, crazier.
A few days ago I received a “tip” that Daphne’s son ran over North Miami Beach Councilman Frantz Pierre with his car.
Yeah, I know. Crazy, right?
The story went like this:
Frantz was out campaigning while wearing one of Cedon Saintil, Jr.’s campaign tee shirts. He knocked on the door of a home that just happened to belong to Daphne Campbell’s son. When the son opened the door, the two of them got into an argument. Frantz left the house and started walking away. Daphne’s son then got into his car, backed out and ran L’il Frantzie P over. Frantzie had to go to the hospital. According to a “source,” Frantz claimed he was run down on purpose. Daphne’s son, of course, said it was an accident.
I spent days trying to confirm this story, which is still being blasted all over Haitian radio.
Here’s the thing … IT’S A LIE!
Here’s the truth:
Last Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 12:30 PM, Ryan Campbell was driving westbound on NE 134th Street approaching 9th Avenue. Frantz Pierre was driving southbound on 9th Avenue approaching 134th Street. Both cars collided at the intersection. Ryan lost control of his car and slammed into a home located at 890 NE 134th Street. Frantz was transported to the hospital.
Both parties said the other was at fault. Ryan said he stopped at the stop sign and that Frantz ran into him as he drove through the intersection. Frantz said Ryan ran the stop sign and then ran into him.
Ryan was charged with the accident.
He also ran over the stop sign. Which … jumped in front of him? (Yeah, that needs some explaining.)
Property damages are estimated at $5,000.00 for the car Ryan was driving, $3,000.00 for the car Frantz was driving, $1,000.00 for damage to the home and $300.00 for damage to the stop sign.
Interesting side note: Neither Frantzie nor Ryan own the cars they were driving. Now that’s weird.
Seriously, I could not make this stuff up if I wanted to.
Here’s the thing. Of all the drivers on the road in Miami-Dade County at any given time of day, the chances of getting into a car accident with someone you know are pretty slim. Even with those small odds, it’s not as if Ryan Campbell woke up one morning and decided to slam a car into his mother’s nemesis. Ryan couldn’t have possibly known that Frantz would be crossing the exact same intersection, at the exact same time that he allegedly ran a stop sign. Or, ran over a stop sign. Or whatever. Even L’il Frantzie P can’t be devious enough to believe that Ryan intentionally hit him. However…
If you believe the chatter on Haitian radio, that’s exactly what happened. At least, that’s the story that the radio “personalities” on Team Frantzie are telling.
And yet, the Creole speakers of North Miami are probably taking it as the Gospel Truth.
What should concern everyone, is that so far not one Haitian radio personality has bothered to do any research to find out what really happened. Did anyone even try to contact the North Miami Police Department to get a copy of the accident report? Does anyone out there even care to know the truth? Apparently not because the truth isn’t sensational enough for talk radio.
I have nothing to gain or lose by dispelling this rumor. As you all know, I am not a fan of either Frantzie or Daphne. I’d love to believe the story that Daphne’s son intentionally tried to run L’il Frantzie P over with his car. You know … poetic justice and all.
But I am nothing if not a truth seeker, however boring the real story might be. In this case, the truth is that Frantz Pierre and Ryan Campbell got into a car accident. With each other.
Coincidence? Yes. Conspiracy? No.
I’m happy to report that no one was seriously hurt or worse. Property can be replaced. People cannot. Even L’il Frantzie P has his place in the world. If only to have a starring role in “Frantzie Watch.”
But if no one on Haitian radio is even remotely interested in telling the truth, I’ll just assume that Everybody Lies.
“Spreading the Wealth”