Class Act, Part II

good characterNorth Miami Mayor Smith Joseph just proved yet again that he is a man of integrity.

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 participationOver 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.

SelflessI 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.”

WTF?

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.

Talk about…

khutzpaUnfortunately 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.

Go Home BatmanAnd all of Kev’s dreams of being King of North Miami went up in smoke.

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.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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10 Comments

  1. Gwen Boyd says:

    Roger that Stephanie….he will continue to be our Mayor!! When things are working very well, stay the course!

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    1. jay says:

      please don’t just focus on the mayor…be aware that at least one council member wants to remove the city manager and the chief of police in order to put their crony in their places. The mayor has pledged to support our current city manager and chief…let’s see how he does, this will be the next test of his leadership. I agree with you, if things are working well, which they now seem to be, then beware of some who wish to make change for their own agenda.

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      1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

        I know there is one up there gunning for the city manager. Aleem is doing an excellent job. The police chief not so much. Sure, Burgess sucks up to the mayor and council and anyone he thinks is in a position to keep him employed. Meanwhile, he won’t fire bad cops and tries to throw good ones under the bus (the ones who didn’t support Burns in the election, for example). Ask Burgess why he let Officer Jodlyn Antoine stay home on PAID leave long after the IA report was finalized and the disposition panel made its recommendation. Ask Burgess why it took him so long to promote Gary Eugene to Assistant Chief, then gave him some bullshit position in October in an attempt to appease him. Hint: Neither was addressed until after the November election. Connect some dots and maybe you’ll start to see a pattern.

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      2. Robert Gruenberg says:

        That one council member should rethink who they want out and why. The manager is doing a good job of running the city, which can’t be said for the last few who’ve had the job. The chief is promoting a corrupt organization and bringing down morale. It’s obvious who needs to be removed.

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  2. James Tracton,JD,PhD says:

    I did not vote for Smith Joseph in the last election. As a matter of act, I fought his getting elected. Now that I know so much more about him, I will be fighting for his reelection.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      I’m glad to hear that. I feel it is extremely important to learn about the candidates before voting. Basing a decision on rumors, campaign rhetoric and empty promises is nowhere as effective as doing the research and learning the facts. I deal in facts and public records, and I intend to put as much information out there as possible before the election.

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  3. jay says:

    i think not enough time has evolved to conclude anything about Mayor Joseph’s track record; nonetheless, he was smart enough to realize a majority of the voters were upset about changing the election. Put in the context of what has been happening in North Miami politics and governance, it is perfectly understandable that voters would question such a move. As for Kevin Burns, who cares he is history and will remain there, he has no place in our city’s future in terms of holding office. Enough already about Kevin Burns, get some new material Stephanie.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Mayor Joseph hasn’t been in office long enough to have a “track record.” So far he appears to be on the right track.

      Kevin Burns, however, does have a track record. All of it self-serving and none of it good. I agree with you that he has no place in your city’s future, however, don’t count him out. I’ve already heard he’s going to run again. It’s what he does. Should he throw his hat into the ring, you’d best believe all the dirt will come out. There will be plenty of “new material.”

      Meanwhile, if you’re tired of hearing Kevin’s name, check out Frantzie Watch. He’s NMB’s version of Burns. Every city has at least one. 🙂

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      1. jay says:

        i take your point!! we all our share of mischuganas! Meanwhile keep up the important work you do…it benefits all of us altho we differ @ times

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  4. Paul says:

    I think the city manager is doing an excellent job, for once we have someone with a good level of intelligence that’s clearly putting our best interests first. We’ve had enough of the cronyism but I don’t agree with keeping Burgess. His bad decisions are an example of the type of leadership we don’t need. We don’t need a chief who keeps bad cops on the police force.

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