Welcome to the Grapevine

The only place for Coconut Grove, FL News, Views & Opinions - Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Friday, October 12, 2018

'Strong Mayor is disastrous for our City'

Dear Grove residents:

Yesterday, after receiving many flyers asking me to vote for the Strong / Accountable Mayor, I received my absentee ballot and voted NO on the Strong Mayor. I urge you to do the same.

As you may have read in printed statements by Mayor Gimenez and Op-Eds by former City and County Manager Merrett Stierheim in the Herald and Miami Today, and others, the Strong Mayor initiative is not a good type of government for our City. Let us quickly examine some of the changes, even though there are many other issues that are quite worrisome.

Allow me first to clarify that my opposition to the Strong Mayor is not an indictment of our present Mayor, it is because of a huge fear of who comes after him. This change will not be reverted once the present Mayor leaves office. It will stay on the books until someone in the future changes the Charter again, which may be many years from now, or even never.

The flyers we have been receiving urging us to approve the Strong Mayor, state that this new form of government will bring us more “responsibility, transparency, efficiency and a recall process simpler and clear” and that it will do away with the “influence traffickers and special interests who think they own the city."   I fail to see how this is going to happen since, after all, the Mayor will remain the same, the commissioners will remain the same, the city manager will remain the same although without the written title, the employees will remain the same, the lobbyists will remain the same and the special interests will remain the same. The only real change is that the Mayor will receive an enormous amount of power which will be extraordinarily dangerous for the citizens of the city since our elected district commissioners’s powers will be highly diminished and diluted.

The Strong Mayor will be the direct boss of all City departments with the power to hire and fire at will, without any supervision. He will be conducting the business and be the boss of Code Enforcement, Building, Capital Improvement Program, Department of Real Estate Asset Management, Emergency Management, Economic Initiatives, Finance, Fire Rescue, Government Relations, Grants Administration, Hearing Boards, Housing & Community Development, etc., and hiring and firing the City Clerk and the City Attorney. Everyone, without exception, will be hired and fired by him. There will be no checks and balances in this proposed new form of government. If the commissioners do not vote the way the Strong Mayor wants them to vote, he/she has the power to order NOTHING done in those commissioners’ districts. This change is wholly undemocratic and a huge danger to the residents of the City.

Last but not least, let us address the so called “recall process simpler and clearer.”  We have always had the recall ability in the City of Miami Charter. However, the methodology was what was lacking. While providing methodology, it is an empty amendment because if the citizens do not have $1,000,000.00 laying around in their petty cash accounts, they will not be able to implement that methodology. We all know that the initiative to place the Strong Mayor on the ballot cost the committee that pursued the initiative, a $1,000,000.00 to gather the required signatures. So, if you have a million dollars to spend in a recall, set it aside for the future.  Otherwise this amendment is useless and a sham.

A Strong Mayor form of government is disastrous for our City. Let us retain the type of government that we presently have.

I respectfully urge you, again, to VOTE NO ON THE STRONG MAYOR - PUNCH #383

Grace Solares

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...

A quick review on Grace reveals she files a ton of lawsuits against the CITY of Miami that go nowhere. She claims to be a champion of the people, against over development and challenged Sarnoff, which would make her a friend of the old Grove concept and a Grape favorite to publish a Letter to the Editor. She appears to be opposed to unfettered overdevelopment by special interest. Who wouldn't want to help the poor disenfranchised anywhere, world. However, a strong mayor with the sort of power Grave outlines would have no such power free from individuals like Grace herself, i.e., if any individual, a future mayor, did something an individual did not like, they could simply file a lawsuit/complaint, like Grave has done numerous times and hope for the best. The fact is no one can simply fire someone or replace someone without just cause otherwise the person wronged can simply file a federal complaint and have their day in court. I believe a strong mayor could quickly eliminate a wrong, even if mistaken, quick time and save us taxpayers a ton of money. A lawsuit would put the brakes on any perceived wrong doing until the subject matter passes through the legal process of checks and balances. Jobie Steppe

October 12, 2018 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Robin Parker said...

I won't follow or agree with anyone who wouldn't sign-in...I'm against a 'strong' mayor and anything today that is approved or proposed by city or county commissioners...Both strongly appear to have promoted agendas that promise personal rewards. Robin Parker

October 12, 2018 6:23 PM  
Blogger Elvis Cruz said...

There have been several analyses written by public-spirited prominent citizens on why this charter amendment is a bad idea. Below is one written by Merrett Stierheim, a former City and County manager who is held in high esteem for his distinguished record.

= = = = = = =

Strong mayor for Miami? Think twice

Winston Churchill said, “no one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

City of Miami residents would be wise to heed Churchill’s advice since their mayor is proposing changing the city’s government by eliminating the professional manager and appointing a staff controlled by the mayor.

Voters may reason that ceding policy and management authority to a single elected individual is a better form of democracy than what they enjoy today. But are residents really better served when power is consolidated under only one politician?

We get some answers by examining the Progressive Era of the early 1900s, which was rife with corruption flowing from executive mayor governments. The mayor made policy and executive decisions in what was known as the “boss system.” If the “grease” was not an outright bribe, it was some sort of “influence peddling” resulting in decisions benefiting special interests, not the community. The subsequent revolt against those “political machines” led to the rise of Council Manager governments akin to the corporate structure.

In Miami’s current government, residents are stockholders, who pay taxes and own the city.

So, we must ask ourselves, why would Miami residents consider doing away with a government system that is less corruptible, provides fairer representation and is more efficient?

A substantial number of Miami voters are hard-working, foreign born citizens who came from countries where they experienced abuse and corruption when political power was concentrated under one individual. It remains to be seen if these voters decide to abandon the current system and opt for something akin to why so many fled their homelands.



= = = = = = =

I will be voting no.

Elvis Cruz
631 NE 57 Street
Miami, FL 33137
305 754 1420

October 12, 2018 8:33 PM  
Blogger Grant Sheehan said...

Elvis, thank you for your post. I agree completely, VOTE NO!

October 13, 2018 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you people serious? Take Coconut Grove for a prime example. Every comment regarding CG has been a vehement hostile, call to arms against MIAMI CITY GOVERNMENT for what it has allowed to happen "to the old Grove". Crooked politicians allowing self serving developers, etc., etc., & etc., to build -0- lot lines, ugly monstrous MacMansions, trees & canopies destroyed, rape, pillage, insane commercial rental rates. You folks voted these corrupt mentalities into office and sat by as the developers pulled your pants down and applied the Vaseline. A strong mayor is the only solution to nip this corruption in the bud. When a strong mayor reacts and stops this corruption the only choice left for those mindless corrupt mentalities, you people bemoan, is to go to court - - - - where you can become a friend of the court and submit an intelligent argument as to why we should not have, say, zero lot line construction, ugly massive MacMansions in the Grove. But, that train has come and gone, as you sat by doing absolutely nothing to preserve the OLD Grove. You didn't act before, and U won't act no matter what, so let a strong mayor act now and in the future. What you have to do now is take a good look at whoever this strong mayor is going to be and make sure this person is the right person to place some trust in. Jobie Steppe

October 13, 2018 11:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home