JoeyM SuperDork
5/1/12 7:02 a.m.

Have you ever bought a brand new cars only to forget where you put it? How about 300 of them? Probably not – unless you're Miami-Dade County, which was recently reunited with 298 vehicles it bought brand new between 2006 and 2007. The county "discovered" this fleet of no-mileage vehicles after reading about them in a Spanish-language newspaper there (see the source for more images). Most of the misplaced motorcade is made up of Toyota Prius hybrids whose warranties either expired with very few miles on the odo or will very soon. Looking to save some face, the county has rushed at least 123 of the hybrids into service. The Toyota warranty covered the hybrid bits for eight years or 100,000 miles, but we're not sure if that covers cars parked for five of those eight. We're also not sure what that much time in Miami heat and humidity does to an unused hybrid powertrain, but it can't be good. The county, as you probably guessed, is looking into how it lost so many cars. The leading theory is that they might be part of Carlos Alvarez's time as mayor. He was the mayor during the period the Toyotas were purchased, but a 2011 recall election successfully removed him from office. Apparently the voters "felt, among other reasons, that he had been behind multiple acts of misappropriation of funds." We've tried to contact Toyota to see what kind of warranty support these cars will get but haven't had any luck so far. We'll update with their response.
Grtechguy PowerDork
5/1/12 7:06 a.m.

From the sublink:

Miami-Dade County bought six years ago hundreds of hybrid cars, police cars and vans - with zero miles! - In 2006, but 170 of them have never been used. Cost to taxpayers: $ 4 million. Now the case has become a scandalous political Pandora's box. The president of the Miami Dade County Commission, Joe Martinez,-who is running for county mayor, announced Thursday the creation of a committee of investigation of mismanagement and corruption, following revelations that the vehicles remained parked in a building parking at 2100 41st Street Northwest, in the Earlington Heights for six years. Martinez said the committee shall consist of five commissioners to review all documentation related to the case. "It's outrageous," said Martinez. "These new vehicles were bought out of control package and were stationed in a building for years. This is not the first time it happens. So you have to investigate this case and determine exactly what happened so it does not happen again. " The case was revealed Tuesday by News America newscast Channel 41 in Miami, after an eight-month investigation. In October, the news team found that 293 vehicles were "rusty" in the parking building. But seeing that the political storm was coming, the County put into circulation between 123 and 135 of them, depending on the officer to be interviewed. The Director of Corporate Services, Lester Sola, told El Nuevo Herald that 135 Toyota hybrid car, Prius, and had replaced old vehicles of various County departments that recorded more than 130,000 miles of travel and maintenance of which demanded a high cost. "We are making every effort to use these vehicles as soon as possible and reduce costs to taxpayers," said Sola to El Nuevo Herald. "We are in the process of assigning these vehicles are in the building departments require" Sola said that all vehicles are still under warranty. He said the priority is to protect the County investment already made and give the best possible use of cars. Commissioner Javier Souto explained that a county employee was informed in early 2010 that hundreds of vehicles were not used "were rusting" in the building of Earlington Heights. In February of that year, Souto requested information from the administration of then Mayor Carlos Alvarez on the reason for the storage of a large number of hybrid cars and trucks. "I was concerned about the secrecy with which you handled that and nobody knew anything," said Souto. "I saw that covered him all along." Two months ago, Souto returned to the parking lot and realized that although many vehicles had been taken out of the building were still dozens of new patrol cars, vans and pickup "For sure it was not known why they bought so many vehicles," Souto criticized. "The irony is that after the purchase were abandoned in the parking lot." Sola said his department is currently analyzing the measures taken by the previous administration during a period in which they had more employees and the vehicle use policy was "wider". "Now the assignment of vehicles is restricted," said Sola. "So we first analyze what happened and not to advance any opinion. After that we will take corrective action. " Read more here:
Curmudgeon MegaDork
5/1/12 7:33 a.m.

An excellent example of the kind of government waste which could be cut out. That was what, $4 million? Multiply that by, say, 1,000 municipalities across the country making similar bungles (or outright theft/graft) and pretty soon you are talking real money.

HappyAndy Dork
5/1/12 7:34 a.m.

Its nice to see that Philly isn't the only city with that level of incompetency and corruption.

HiTempguy SuperDork
5/1/12 8:35 a.m.
Curmudgeon wrote: An excellent example of the kind of government waste which could be cut out. That was what, $4 million? Multiply that by, say, 1,000 municipalities across the country making similar bungles (or outright theft/graft) and pretty soon you are talking real money.

Hopefully someone comes in here and says everyone makes mistakes.

Yea, maybe I forgot to lock the door this morning, but I sure didn't buy a car and forget about it!

Twin_Cam UltraDork
5/1/12 8:50 a.m.
HappyAndy wrote: Its nice to see that Philly isn't the only city with that level of incompetency and corruption.

You heard about Harrisburg lately? Losing some cars makes what Harrisburg has been doing for the past decade look trivial.

Florida. I don't understand how people function in that heat, I would imagine stuff like this happens all the time when 105* and it's so humid you can't see straight...AT NIGHT. How does the mag get published at all?

racerfink Dork
5/1/12 9:58 a.m.

It RARELY gets over 100 along the coasts in Florida. There's enough breeze coming in off the Atlantic and Gulf to make sure of that. Now, with all the yankees coming down and putting up half-empty strip malls ever quarter mile, it's a wonder the temperature ever goes down any more with all that concrete, brick, and asphalt.

cwh UberDork
5/1/12 10:04 a.m.

Yes, it rarely gets above 95, but at night it only drops to 90. In August, temps in the 90's, and humidity in the 90's as well. Oppressive does not begin to cover it. Fortunately, all the politicians in Miami come from an island even hotter. It is virtually impossible for an Anglo American or African American to get elected there..

jonnyd330 Reader
5/1/12 10:53 a.m.

The heat isn't that bad if you are near the coast. On the other hand living in Orlando now that is oppressive heat.

Twin_Cam UltraDork
5/1/12 11:20 a.m.

One of my good friends (he was one of my groomsman at my wedding) lives in Orlando. He plays piano at Jellyrolls in Epcot. He never wears shorts- ever. Blue jeans only. I have no idea how he survives.

Appleseed PowerDork
5/1/12 1:10 p.m.

Right now Chicago is laughing.

Drewsifer Dork
5/2/12 9:45 a.m.

Miama, I am disappoint.

JoeyM SuperDork
5/2/12 1:54 p.m.
Appleseed wrote: Right now Chicago is laughing.

I should work for the tourism dept.

Welcome to Florida. Enjoy your stay, but know that we are all doomed. Large slimy snails - that we cannot touch without getting parasites - are going to eat our homes until they resemble swiss cheese. We'll try to retreat into the bushes, but will be unable to cope with the stinging caterpillars and nile monitors. A few brave souls will attempt to take refuge in the ocean, but will be forced back onto land by sharks, stinging jellyfish, and other poisonous creatures. None of that will matter, anyway, though, because the strawberry farmers will cause a mega-sinkhole that will engulf the entire state. (Oddly, the Burmese pythons will be welcomed, because they'll try to prevent the disaster by eating the strawberry farmers. Sadly, this will happen too late to matter.) The only areas that will survive are tacky places like the amusement park districts and I-drive, which are already entirely artificial. Palmetto bugs will take over the state, and will elect one of their own as governor. He'll do a better job than Rick Scott, though not as well as Jeb Bush.
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