Thursday, April 7, 2011

Recalls

88% of the voters cast a YES to recall the Miami-Dade mayor and a commissioner last month. And this was a mayor who won just two years ago with 66% of the vote and who had reshaped the office of the mayor based on his personal credibility a year before that. No real scandal, no "smoking gun", was attached to the recall. The fall from grace was sudden and a mass reaction to bad governance of the county in a bad time.

People were angry over three things - increased property taxes, reduced services and the extravagance of the mayor on official expenses. Nor were they too happy over perceived raises given to public employees while the taxpayers watch their own livelihoods fall apart.

I've written about my own ambivalence on the subject of recalls in general and this one in particular, but the more I have read and listened, I have come to understand that this recall was not about the candidates but a way to get the attention of the county government to fix the most egregious abuses.

The message seems to be falling on deaf ears in the county commission as they dither on whether the core issues, deep charter reform, will even be considered. Fred Grimm said it best in his article in the Miami Herald on April 8:

The county commissioners heard the wrathful voice of the voter. The message was plenty clear. “Give yourself an $86,097 raise, dammit!

Talk about clueless!

Miami Voice is keeping the pressure up. Until the county commission openly and fairly puts the reform agenda at the top of the priority list, they will continue the recalls. Check their website here.

This might as well be the case in North Bay Village. Last year, taxes went up, services are cut, expensive personnel contracts were approved and city workers did not participate in the cuts. Overall it was a bad response to a bad situation.

It's time for us to do for North Bay Village what Miami Voice, the PAC that has been pushing the charter changes, is doing for the county.

We need to pull together and demand charter changes that at a minimum comprise the following:


    1. A Charter Amendment requiring a supermajority (4 out of 5) of the commission to raise millage rates.

    2. A Charter Amendment requiring a supermajority of the commission to grant tax concessions.

    3. A Charter Amendment allowing for a citizen vote on tax rates in the event that the majority of the commission wants a millage rate increase but cannot achieve a supermajority.

    4. A Charter Amendment prohibiting post electoral employment or contracts with the city for two years after last service.

    5. A Charter Amendment establishing open, transparent contracting procedures for any purchase over $10,000 including generally accepted standards for RFP's and employee contracts with evaluation groups to include citizens. All such evaluation groups must be approved by the commission.

If they don't listen, let's start the recalls.

Keep checking back as this evolves. In the meantime, here's the agenda for next Tuesday's Commission Meeting:

4-12-2011 City Commission Meeting

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