Recall vote date set for Miami-Dade Mayor

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January 14, 2011

Mayor Carlos Alvarez, recall target

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida: After initially delaying the vote due to a "lack of a quorum" two weeks ago, members of the Miami-Dade County Commission finally set a date for the special election in which voters will decide whether or not to recall Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas.[1][2]

The special election, which has been set for March 15th, marks the culmination of a second recall effort mounted against Mayor Alvarez. The first, which began in December 2009, was ultimately squashed after supporters fell short of collecting the necessary 52,108 signatures required to force a recall election.[3] Rumblings about another recall effort against Mayor Alvarez began in September 2010 after county commissioners passed a budget that raised property taxes while at the same increasing the salaries of county employees. On Thursday, September 23rd, the Miami-Dade County Commission, on an eight-to-five vote, passed a $7.3 million budget, which included increases in salaries for county employees worth a total of $132 million as well as a rise in property taxes by "as much as 14 percent in some cases."[4]

This second recall campaign against Alvarez has been led by Norm Braman, the former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles football team and now the owner of a string of automative dealerships throughout Southern Florida. The tipping point for him was what he considered to be the "outrageous tax increase" enacted by the County Commission in the midst of a recession in which "citizens are suffering economically, property values have crumbled, foreclosures are rampant, and unemployment has reached almost 13 percent in our county."[5]

The Mayor, who did not attend Thursday's meetings, released a statement after the vote, saying, "The election date is a great opportunity for voters to cut through the noise and get the facts about Miami-Dade County's budget. It's my hope that reality trumps rhetoric and substance beats out style.[2]

Early voting begins Sunday, February 20th.

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