In a previous column, I discussed the possibility of the North Miami City Council voting to move the May, 2015 city election to the next Miami-Dade County election on November 8, 2016. As reported by Miami Herald reporter Lance Dixon in North Miami moving forward on changing election date, the council voted 3-2 on the first reading of a proposed Ordinance to do just that.
Councilman Philippe Bien-Aime sponsored the Ordinance and was quoted as stating, “I don’t make my judgment based on who comes here and talks about the subject. I make the judgment based on what I think will be in the best interest of the city of North Miami. I’m ready to take the blame or the credit.”
Mayor Smith Joseph, whose vote broke the tie, was not interviewed for the article. When I contacted him, he told me that the reason he voted in favor of the Ordinance was to give the residents of North Miami who were not able to attend the meeting an additional opportunity to voice their opinion before a second reading, which will most likely be scheduled for the next council meeting on February 10, 2014. He said after he hears from members of the community, he will be in a better position to decide whether or not to vote for it the next time the Ordinance is placed on the Agenda.
North Miami residents need to be aware that, unlike council Resolutions, which only require a one-time simple majority vote to pass or fail, Ordinances require two readings and must be passed by two separate majority votes in order to become law.
Personally, I am in favor of this Ordinance. But, since I don’t live or vote in North Miami, my opinion doesn’t count. Nevertheless, I’ve already spelled out the reasons why I believe this Ordinance should be passed.
I also feel that by allowing this Ordinance to stay alive for two more weeks, it will give all the residents of North Miami a chance to weigh in before the council votes after the second reading.
The “more than a dozen residents and former elected officials,” who voiced their opposition to this Ordinance, are the same twelve or thirteen individuals who show up at North Miami’s council meetings every two weeks. Their opinions are important, but equally important are the opinions of the remaining 59,988 people who don’t or can’t attend the meetings. The Mayor and Council should not base their decisions on the opinions of the few, but rather what is in the best interest of all their constituents.
Since North Miami council members represent individual districts of the city, it is their responsibility to speak to as many residents in their respective districts in order to ascertain a general idea of how those residents want their representatives to vote.
Mayor Smith Joseph, however, represents North Miami at large. As such, every single person who resides within the boundaries of the city are his constituents. He needs to reach out to a much larger group in order to adequately represent all of them. His is not an easy job.
Based on the Miami Herald article, however, I found it quite interesting that most of the residents quoted live in the same area of North Miami, also known as “The East Side.” These are the same voters who supported mayoral candidate Kevin Burns in his run against the eventual winner, Dr. Smith Joseph.
Burns was also quoted as saying, “I wholeheartedly believe you should put this on the May ballot.”
Of course, since he most likely intends to put his own name “on the May ballot,” if there is no election in May, he’ll have nothing to do for the next eighteen months.
He might even have to get a real job.
Oh, the horror!
Resident Carol Preger, who was also interviewed by the Herald, indicated that she wanted the election question to be put on the ballot on May, as did residents Karen Mills-Francis and Kenny Each. All of them were ardent supporters of Kevin Burns.
Their motives were so transparent they might as well have been wearing “Burns for Mayor” buttons and riding shotgun on his Campaign Fire Truck to the meeting.
It would not surprise me one bit that these folks would be all for moving the election if their candidate had won.
In a classic case of Pot Calling Kettle Black, “Teacher” Carline Paul, who had a starring role in The Art of the Scam, swears she will “let the community know how crooked this council is.”
Like Kevin, Carline Paul has a vested interest in not moving the election as she has filed to run against Councilwoman Marie Steril.
(Note to North Miami residents: You do NOT want to vote for Carline Paul! As ethically challenged as Marie may be, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!)
There is nothing new or unique about this particular City Council Controversy. Just as they do in North Miami Beach, the “Same Ten Peeps” (or STPs) will enthusiastically support candidates throughout their campaigns, after which the winners become “The Most Corrupt City Council in History.”
Count on it.
The ones claiming that the current North Miami City Council is corrupt have obviously forgotten all about the Andre Years.
Or the Lucie Years.
Or, especially, the Kevin Burns Years.
Whose abuse of power and alleged back room deals were often overlooked because “he got shit done.”
This Ordinance has not yet been codified. North Miami residents have plenty of time before the second reading of the proposed Ordinance to let their representatives know where they stand about moving the election from May to November of 2016. The Mayor and Council need to hear from you so they can make an educated decision.
The Mayor and Council also need to make sure they listen to as many residents as possible and vote in accordance with the wishes of the majority of their constituents. They need to keep in mind that in a representative form of government, it’s not about them, but about the people who put them in office.
That concludes our Civics lesson of the day. Class dismissed.
“Spreading the Wealth”