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Former Mayor Penelas Mulling Another Run At Politics

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Alex Penelas is talking about making another run for mayor, but this time he says things wouldn’t be the same.

“You know, I view this so much differently now,” he told CBS4’s Gio Benitez.

Penelas was first elected as Miami-Dade’s mayor 14 years ago.

“You know, the community is in crisis,” he said.

He’s considering a run for county mayor, again.

Voters fired Carlos Alvarez last month, so the election would be for the 18 months left in his term.

“And just as soon as I got in, I want to get out. No commitments beyond those 18 months, because I’m not going to make a commitment,” he said.

He says this is not the comeback of Alex Penelas, telling CBS4 News that he’s tired of politics.

“They’re worse than ever,” he said.

Penelas had his fair share of criticism, including a 2004 statement from former Vice President, and fellow democrat, Al Gore. Gore called Penelas “the single most treacherous and dishonest person” he death with in the 2000 election.

You know, that’s one of the reasons people are fed up with politics. It’s quotes just like that,” he said.

In 2000, the Elian Gonzalez saga outraged Penelas. He spoke out against the Clinton administration for sending the six-year-old boy back to Cuba.

“My handling of the Elian thing? Absolutely I would change. Listen, it doesn’t change the way I feel about the issue, but I needed to remember that at that time, I shouldn’t have spoken from emotion. I needed to speak as the mayor, the law-abiding mayor,” he said.

Penelas says he’s learned a lot.

“I wasted too much time with the trappings of the office of mayor, the celebrity of being mayor. I should have spent more time governing,” he said.

Though Penelas wouldn’t say that he’s definitely running, he says if elected, he would focus on the budget, union contracts, and charter reform.

Penelas says he will make a decision very soon.

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