Book Presentation and Discussion:
America's Casablanca: A "True Novel" about Miami's Emergence from Bankruptcy and Corruption
SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2020
Books & Books Coral Gables
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Please join former Miami City Manager and City Attorney Jose Garcia-Pedrosa as he discusses his new book, America's Casablanca: A "True Novel" about Miami's Emergence from Bankruptcy and Corruption. Mr. Pedrosa will be introduced by Adolfo Henriques, who chaired Miami’s Oversight Board in 1998-99 after the city went bankrupt and currently serves as Vice Chair of The Related Group
As the 20th century drew to a close, Miami’s reputation as a place where, in the words of an earlier tourism slogan, “the rules are different here”, placed it at the center of a surreal world of drugs, violence, sex, and unapologetic lifestyles, filled with episodes illustrative of what the locals came to know as a “Miami moment” — a temporary lapse of reality, an unexpected turn of events, amusing yet so bizarre as to strain credibility, widen the eyes in amazement, and push Miami’s frontier image closer to the Casablanca of Humphrey Bogart fame. America’s Casablanca will transport you to that time, when Miami achieved the dubious distinction of having the greatest number of federal corruption cases in the nation, leading “George” magazine to name it as one of the 10 most corrupt cities in America. Among the many reasons for the city’s fateful situation was the simple fact that almost everyone had come from somewhere else, often looking for a second chance. No one asked a lot of questions of others, because no one wanted to answer questions about themselves. It was, in short, the old Wild West, updated and moved east and south, to a place where reality could be so strange as to masquerade as fiction – a place where a person’s reputation could be laundered even more easily than money.
As a former City Manager, City Attorney, and civic figure who managed to maintain his integrity in the snake pit of Miami politics, Jose Garcia-Pedrosa draws on his first-hand knowledge of that world, giving you a unique insight into otherwise incredible goings-on. His understanding of events and their protagonists is irreplaceable, and despite the painful wounds inflicted on him by some of those events and by some of those protagonists, Garcia-Pedrosa emerges with the optimism that if one continues to toil, to persevere, and to hope, one’s belief in oneself will, sooner or later, be amply rewarded, sometimes in surprising ways. And so, he leaves off with the lesson that he learned and hopes to have inspired in this book: aim high, overcome adversity, and summon the courage needed in order to succeed in life, remembering that the greatest failure lies in failing to try at all.