Currently viewing the tag: "Strong Mayor"

We some how bypassed this article last week, but, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez vetoed commission recommendations to approve a number of projects outside of the UDB. The veto will likely stand given that the commission lacks the 2/3 majority to override the mayor, presuming that none of the commissioners switch sides…


“If Miami-Dade moves outside the UDB, it will affect our delivery of services and strain already taxed resources,” Alvarez wrote. “Police and fire rescue services would be spread over a greater area, resulting in longer response times due to greater distances and road congestion.”

Meanwhile, on the losing end of the veto, Lowes’ attorney Juan Mayol laments about not having short drives to buy plywood:


“We are hopeful that the county commissioners will continue to recognize that these hard-working families are tired of overcrowded schools and long drives to buy such simple things as plywood or a garden hose.”

How often are people in Kendall buying plywood or garden hoses? Are these necessary commodities in suburbia? Does anyone else appreciate how he combined critical issues (traffic and education) with such an asinine comment? In any case, I’m glad to see the line will be held till 2009 at the earliest, expanding the UDB, contrary to Mayol’s belief, will further strain our transit infrastructure, water resources, and economy to impermissible levels.

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It’s rare that I get very political nowadays on the website, but, I think it is important that we take some time out today to speak of the implications that tomorrow’s election will have on all the residents of Miami-Dade county. I decided to write this after asking someone if they were planning to vote on Tuesday to which they replied, “How can I vote, it doesn’t concern my Mayor?” Come again? What county do we all live in, he is your mayor. The ridiculous confusion that has been caused by every neighborhood incorporating to escape the typical political tyranny in our county is absolutely absurd. Palmetto Bay, Doral, Pinecrest, Coral Gables, Aventura, Sunny Isles, El Portal, Medley, Florida City, etc, you get the point; they are all blips on the radar, ask most people from these municipalities where they live and I guarantee the majority declare Miami home. Nowhere else can you find such a clutter of municipalities all bunched upon each other direly seeking to create a name for themselves in the local and even global marketplace.

Unfortunately, we’re all to blame for this mess, not because we live in Kendall or Sweetwater or some other godforsaken suburb with a cutesy name that is desperately seeking to escape the abuse of local corrupt politicians, but, for electing most of them in the first place to positions that they were wholly unqualified or just too incompetent to hold. The strong mayor reform seeks to correct the injustices caused by the political scene in Miami basically since the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter was drafted in 1957. Ok, so you’re wondering how exactly this is going to solve the problem? The strong mayor referendum is a win-win for all the citizens in Miami-Dade County, both in the unincorporated areas and swath of independent municipalities because it allows all of us to have greater oversight over our county government. Think about it this way: the way it is now, hypothetically, if the commish over in district 11 is a bumbling idiot who is accepting loads of money from developers to approve a mega project in a your district, there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. You can send them a letter, yippee. At best you can hope that said commissioner will be recalled by the constituents in his/her own district, which as we all witnessed recently is highly unlikely. With the strong mayor, yes we place all the power in the hands of a single person, but we are all within the boundaries of his mayoral rule. Also, consider the salary differences between mayor and commissioners, we’re also likely to see some qualified and dedicated individuals running for office, given that it is a full time job unlike the county commission’s 12k annual salary which essentially requires all members to seek “consulting” jobs in fields where they quite often have zero to no experience. In the end, I’m all for removing the power from the unnecessary and proven to be inept county commission. We’ve all had enough with the current state of affairs, evidenced by the recent surge of individual municipalities, it’s time to vote for a change and hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.

The next best step in fixing the mess we have created thus far would be to- dare I say it- abolish all the municipalities within the county, bringing us all under one umbrella of local government. Essentially revert to what the Miami-Dade County home rule charter was originally intended to accomplish. Now, I’m not suggesting that this needs to occur, but, if managed properly (yeah, fat chance) a solitary county government could operate more efficiently than the insane bureaucracy that exists today. Cities would gain independent councils, capable of pressing for the interests of the neighborhood only. Transit wise, the agency would be able to make better decisions for the benefit of the whole county preventing bureaucratic debacles from occurring such as when Miami Beach politicians derailed (pun intended) plans to bring streetcars to the area.

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