Jose Garcia-Pedrosa

Cindy Seip

As a former Miami 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 in his book, America’s Casablanca: A “True Novel” about Miami’s Emergence from Bankruptcy and Corruption (Amazon Digital Services). 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 and widen the eyes. 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.