Miami-Dade County Charter Amendments, 6 (May 2011)

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Six Miami-Dade County Charter Amendment measures were on the May 24, 2011 ballot in Miami-Dade County.

All six measures were defeated.[1]

There was a recount on the proposed lobbying measure, even with the additional provisional ballots that had yet to be counted there would not be enough to make a clear winner. This was the first hand recount since the 2000 Presidential election.[2] The recount showed that the lobbying measure was ultimately defeated along with the rest of the charter amendments.[3]

The one amendment that was in question, slightly being approved at first, was that which stated that officials could not lobby for two years after their last term in public office. It was noted that public enthusiasm was likely lower than usual for this type of election because these amendments were never discussed with the public prior to them being put on the ballot, there was no voter education as some critics stated. Further attempts at charter reform are expected as there is still the desire by the public for reforms and elected officials see that as a main campaigning point for election.[4]

Charter amendments included, limiting term limits to twelve years for commissioners, allowing non-notarized ballot petitions, allowing for a two-thirds vote for new proposed charter amendments by the commission, eliminating the strong mayor form of government, banning county officials from lobbying for two years after their term ends and placing the Inspector General into the charter.

Background

Some criticized the commission for not taking enough initiative towards greater reform, though commissioners noted that these amendments were a step in the right direction to further changes.[5] Commissioner Carlos Gimenez had requested that another meeting be held in order to remove two of the proposed amendments from the May ballot. The two amendments he wanted removed was the twelve year term limit on commissioners and the proposed elimination of the strong mayor form of government. Another commissioner stated that he would rather see all six amendments removed and have them start over. Advocates of change noted that these would have just given more power back to the commission and would not have been beneficial to residents.[6]

Not enough commissioners backed Gimenez so another meeting was not held to look at removing the proposed amendments.[7]

Further criticism had come from Norman Braman, the head of the political action committee People Who Want Honest Government and an advocate for more extensive reforms, who was trying to push for shorter term limits and more comprehensive charter reforms but the commission blocked his attempts and noted that they would not consider his proposals. He stated that the commission would rather postpone more reforms and not let other residents have their say on the issues.[8]

Poll

A poll undertaken by the Miami Herald prior to the election showed that while most residents who were asked thought that corruption was the most important issue in the county, none of the proposed amendments received a majority of votes in favor of it. The poll also showed that a majority of those asked felt that fixing the commission was more important than amending the charter at this point. Those asked also noted that reducing the pay of government employees was the best way, in their opinion, to fix the budget deficit expected in the coming year.[9]

Media endorsements

  • The Miami Herald had given their recommendations for the proposed six amendments.
Question 1: NO
Question 2: YES
Question 3: YES
Question 4: YES
Question 5: NO
Question 6: YES[10]

Additional reading

References