In advance of the February 10, 2015 North Miami council meeting, Mayor Joseph officially announced via press release that he will not be voting for the proposed Ordinance, which would enable the council to movethe May, 2015 election to August of 2016. This would have also extended the terms of the Mayor and two of his colleagues for an additional sixteen (16) months. With two of the five council members voting against the Ordinance at the first reading, it appears highly unlikely that it will pass on Tuesday night.
As I’ve stated on numerous occasions, holding municipal elections during countywide elections increases voter participation. Over 43% of North Miami voters decided last November’s mayoral race because it was held at the same time as the election for the Governor and members of Congress, while less than 26% of the electorate voted in the previous year’s run-off election held in June. Moving this May’s election to the next Miami-Dade County general election would indeed get out the vote.
Then there’s the money issue. Stand alone municipal elections can cost cities well over $100,000.00, while holding them during county elections can significantly bring down the cost since the polling places are already set up, equipped and staffed.
The residents who opposed moving the election, however, appear to have little concern for increasing voter turnout or saving money.
Regardless of their reasons, the Mayor has obviously paid attention to their pleas and has made up his mind to vote for what he feels is in the best interest of the city.
I certainly hope the residents of North Miami fully appreciate the significance of Mayor Joseph’s decision. Having spent over $212,000.00 during his 2013 bid for mayor, and another $311,000.00 in 2014, most of which was out of his own pocket, I’d have to assume he’d be less than thrilled to take out his wallet again.
Aside from the financial aspect of an election, there is the grueling task of running a campaign, especially so close on the heels of the last contentious race. Mayor Joseph has been in office a scant three months and now he’ll have to get right back on the campaign trail before he’s even had a chance to get comfortable. However, when he ran for Mayor in the Special Election last fall, and hung in there for a run-off, he knew from the start that it was potentially a temporary gig.
Nevertheless, Mayor Joseph has decided that “it is in the best interest of the city and residents to keep the scheduled elections for May 2015.”
Needless to say, the Mayor has my utmost respect for responding to the wishes of his constituents. He is a true mensch.
Needless to say, a lesser man would not be so selfless.
Take Kevin Burns, for example.
Once he won his second two year term on May 11, 2007, the very next year on November 4, 2008, he managed to place a Charter referendum, Election Dates, on the ballot to propose moving the May, 2009 election until November of 2010 to coincide with the subsequent Miami-Dade County election.
Had this Charter Amendment passed, Kevin would have been able to extend his final term from May of 2009 to November of 2010, or an additional eighteen (18) months.
Wow, doesn’t that sound familiar?
But, wait. There’s more!
Another item, Term – Question 1, on that same November 4, 2008 ballot was the proposal to change the Mayor’s two year stint to “a four (4) year term commencing with and including the first Mayoral election to be held after November, 2008.”
Isn’t that special?
Even if the first proposal to move the election did not pass, but Kevin’s second proposal did, he would have automatically granted himself a seat at the head of the dais until May of 2011, or an additional twenty (24) months, in office.
If both Charter Amendments had passed, instead of ending his term in November of 2010, the added two years to his term would have enabled Kevin Burns to occupy the Mayoral seat until November of 2012, thus making Kevin the longest two-term Mayor in the history of North Miami.
But, wait! There’s even more!
If those two proposals weren’t self-serving enough, Kevin was also pushing Term – Question 2, which “proposed that the Charter be amended so that the Mayor shall not have term limits commencing with and including the May, 2007 election.”
It’s bad enough that Kevin wanted to extend his time in office by either delaying the election or increasing the length of his term, or both.
But in case either of the first two proposals failed, he wanted to be able to run for Mayor perpetually and indefinitely. And he was out there in full campaign mode, urging voters to say YES! to all three.
Unfortunately for Kevin, the voters of North Miami overwhelmingly said NO!
57.03% of the voters said NO! to moving the election.
66.82% of the voters said NO! to giving Kevin an extra two years.
71.49% said NO! to letting Kevin be Mayor for Life.
Yet, here he is, rallying his troops, lying to voters that the Mayor and Council are trying to “take away their rights” with this proposed Ordinance!
I guarantee you, if Kevin had won the election last November, he’d be the first one to jump up and down screaming for this Ordinance to pass.
He’d have all his peeps out in full force lobbying the rest of the council to pass the Ordinance.
Yes, a lesser man would be doing all these things.
Mayor Smith Joseph, however, is taking the high road.
As he has done from the beginning of the campaign and throughout his short term so far, Mayor Joseph is putting the best interests of the City of North Miami ahead of his own.
I only hope that North Miami voters show their appreciation on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, by letting him keep his job for two more years.
“Spreading the Wealth”