News: Diaz was a longtime Democratic activist and fundraiser who registered as an independent after the 1999-2000 custody battle over Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who lost his mother in an attempt to reach U.S. soil.
Diaz was on the team of lawyers who negotiated unsuccessfully with the Clinton administration and then-Attorney General Janet Reno to keep the boy with his Miami relatives. Friends said he became disillusioned with the Democrats.
Among the positive changes during Diaz's first four years: The crime rate has declined steadily each year. The unemployment rate has dropped from 11 percent to 5 percent over the past three years. The city's bonds went from a junk rating to A-plus. Some $20 billion in development projects are under way or in the planning stages.
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