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Thursday, April 16, 2015

District 2 candidates meet Grove Isle residents

Photo courtesy Ken Russell
On Wednesday night, there was a debate at Grove Isle between the District 2 commission candidates. It wasn't really a debate, as it was a cordial evening consisting of the candidates answering brief questions posed by the moderator. There really was not much disagreement and they were all very polite to each other. All the candidates showed up except for Teresa Sarnoff.

William Armbrister, Javier Gonzalez, Seth Sklarey, Rosa Palomino, Mike Simpson, Grace Solares, Ken Russell and Lorry Woods were present. They made it quite clear about Teresa's absence by having a paper nameplate on the table in front of an empty chair the whole time. It spoke volumes.

Teresa gave the excuse of a scheduling conflict, for not being there, but Ken Russell said, “I spoke to the Developer and he said he didn’t feel appropriate coming today. He has donated twice the maximum limit to Commissioner Sarnoff’s wife, who is also running, which may explain a little bit about why she’s not here.” 

Most, if not all major developers in Miami have donated to Teresa's campaign, while ignoring the other candidates when it comes to donations. The Grove Isle residents are not fans of the Sarnoffs and in this case, it doesn't appear as if Teresa will be getting their votes, despite Grove Isle Associates, the Grove Isle developers, donating the money to Teresa.

The residents are at odds with the developers over the new plans for the developers to add more major construction to the island.

There is a large anti-development anti-construction sentiment in the city and the developers who have donated to certain campaigns and not others may regret it in the end. I feel they should donate to all or none in order to remain neutral, which most are not.

The majority of the candidates feel that voters and residents are left out of the political process and that the city commission does what they want regardless of whatever rules and laws they break to get their way. Grace Solares was very clear on this. Rosa Palomino said, "They [the current commissioners] are protecting clients and special interests."

Ken Russell was good at playing to his audience, as he spoke with the Grove Isle developer earlier in the day and he reported his conversation to the audience, who liked what they heard. It personally pertained to them. I loved what Grace said about developers coming into a neighborhood and destroying the quality of life for the residents who have lived in that neighborhood for 30 years. This is the crux of all development issues. They come in, destroy the quality of life, take their millions and leave, heading to their next project and neighborhood. This happens all over the country, not just Miami and Coconut Grove.

None of the candidates are in favor of Grove Isle Associates' plans to add more structures to the island. Mike Simpson brought up an excellent point about over-population. South Bayshore Drive is the same size it has always been he said, yet development is overtaking the area but not accommodating the extra traffic.

Grove Isle resident Alan Goldfarb brought up the subject of too many candidates splitting the vote. The consensus is that no one wants Teresa Sarnoff to carry on Marc Sarnoff's job as basically giving him a third term, except for the developers. He was told that the process will sort itself out. The winner needs 51% of the vote, so unless Teresa gets this, everyone has a chance.

"By having more candidates we keep out big money and we bring out more voters," said Javier Gonzalez. "This is a good thing, this will not split the vote. If we expand the voter base, there is no way big money can win. We've done the numbers," he continued.

"This election is not about money," said Rosa Palomino. Ken Russell, disagreed and felt that money was essential to the election. "When you choose money, you choose to be compromised," said William Armbrister.

Apathy is the problem and it starts at the voting booth. People need to show up and vote. That is the first step. Only 6% of registered voters turned up to vote last time.

Activist Al Crespo took a video of Wednesday night's Grove Isle event. You can watch it here.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Ken. Tell it like it is.

April 16, 2015 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very smart of Ken to mention money is essential to the election because he is keeping the avenue open for big money interest to make a choice of either continue feeding the monster that has made Miami the laughing stock of politics or commit to a fair playing field where everyone benefits.

April 16, 2015 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would anyone think Teresa would show up? Why would she? I mean there were seven other people there. She probably hasn't listened to seven other people in her life!

Ken is good. But he is wrong to think that if we keep Teresa to say 49 percent that somebody can be elected in a runoff. No, because by that time the non-developer electors and those of us who care will have fragmented. For example, if I get all hyped up about Grace Solores, how enthusiastic am I going to get about Ken Russell two weeks later in a runoff that will probably be held in August at midnight on the night of the greatest eclipse of our lifetimes?

We ought to have one candidate to run against Teresa. She is, after all, the incumbent.

April 16, 2015 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace Solares brought her 20 years of experience educating elected officials and trying to encourage them to act in the best interests of the residents. Grace is the only candidate who does not need training. Teresa Sarnoff allegedly has gotten a ton of money from the developers of the proposed Grove Isle project who need Marc Sarnoff's help.

April 17, 2015 1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace means well but she has never ever "educated" a public official. She has attacked them, insulted them, berated them, belittled them, and sued them....repeatedly If anyone thinks she will have any impact on City Government is dreaming. She will just sit there ranting and being totally ignored by the people she has mistreated all these years....

April 18, 2015 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russell is absolutely right about the numbers. The one thing all the other candidates agree on is NO MORE SARNOFFS. They will absolutely all rally around whoever survives the primary and runs against Teresa. And if each of them has cultivated a following, they will tell their voters to support the Non-Sarnoff Candidate. And BTW, the election is in November, not August.

April 18, 2015 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The system is broken Mr. Russell. As long as money is used to influence politicians and lobbyists are hired to convince politicians what interests they should buy into, the system will continue to be corrupt. District 2 has over 40,000 registered voters - Mr. Russell when you state that there are 80,000 people in District 2 - what are you referring to? Are you basing the percentage of voters from 2011 on 40,000 or 80,000? Separately, Uber is not a taxi company that allows a rider to request all taxis in the city. That is not possible and it's not how Uber operates. It is a technology company that facilitates, via an app, for a registered Uber rider to request a private driver that has been vetted and approved by Uber. It does not own or manage any taxis. In the information age it's very difficult to distribute inaccurate information and it does not help in fixing a system that is already broken.

April 18, 2015 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous - 3:58 PM

Are the numbers for likely or unlikely voters? If you think that unlikely voters from 2011 will turn out to vote for a non-partisan municipal election I have a "bridge to sell you." The "cultivated following" that you are referring to are the same likely voters from 2011 that now have more options. The overall number will not increase by much. It's more than likely that it will be the same voters that turned out in 2011. Have you seen the "following" that each candidate had in the previous election? If there is a run-off election in 2015, it will be quite the challenge for the opposing candidate to outnumber Sarnoff's absentee ballots the second time around. For a reason they've won two straight elections and if someone can't figure that out, the special interests will deliver them their third term with Teresa at the helm. This is not a game in the park, it's bare knuckle Miami politics.

April 18, 2015 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sarnoff's have spent 8 years buying the votes at the old age homes and collecting names and numbers of absentee ballot voters. It is not fair, but these are loopholes they exploit.

April 20, 2015 4:31 PM  

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