How badly does North Miami City Clerk Michael Etienne want to keep his taxpayer funded government job? So badly that he’s willing to knock any challengers out of the race before the campaign even starts.
As I reported yesterday, Michael’s seat was being challenged by Janet Reed, who arrived at City Hall yesterday at 11:30 a.m. to file. The qualifying deadline was 12:00 noon.
As Lance Dixon reported today in the Miami Herald in North Miami candidate says she was intentionally kept off ballot, she “was missing a necessary second form of identification to complete the application so she stepped out to get it.”
When she returned, Michael told his Deputy Clerk Stephanie Thomas “to process another candidate’s application first.” That other candidate was mayoral candidate Jean Marcellus, who arrived at City Hall at approximately 11:55 a..m.
I know he arrived at that time because that was the exact moment I received a telephone call from a source advising me that Marcellus had just rushed in to pay with a check drawn on a newly opened campaign bank account.
Another source told me that Janet Reed had already returned to the Clerk’s office with her documentation, but the Deputy Clerk processed Jean’s paperwork ahead of her. Janet Reed told the Herald that by the time his filing was processed, it was after noon, and the Clerk refused to process her application.
Michael Etienne told the reporter that Ms. Reed returned after twelve, but she disputes his account.
Sources told me that the Police Department was called to the scene, but there was nothing they could do because this was not a police matter.
Shortly after noon, the 2015 Ballot, which was certified by Deputy Clerk Stephanie Thomas, was already posted to the city’s website. I’m told that the city is already in the process of printing out the paper ballots for the May 12, 2015 election.
This entire situation reeks of corruption! Ms. Reed was indeed being given the runaround by Michael Etienne, who continues to abuse his power at every turn. Does it surprise anyone in North Miami that he would do whatever it takes to make sure his challenger would be disqualified?
This is total, unmitigated BULLSHIT! There should have been another clerk to process Ms. Reed’s paperwork, or she should have been permitted to complete her application as soon as the clerk was finished with Marcellus.
Interestingly, Ms. Reed told the Herald that she contacted Christina White, the Miami-Dade Elections Department’s deputy supervisor of elections, who told her that she couldn’t help her. This is the same Christina White who, when contacted by Councilman Scott Galvin regarding suspected absentee ballot fraud during the city’s 2013 election, couldn’t even answer a direct question about the “irregularity of the absentee ballot count.”
The Councilman and Ms. White had exchanged an exasperating round of emails, which I reported on June 18, 2013. The deputy supervisor’s responses were so evasive, it was hard to figure out whether she was dodging the questions or just plain too stupid to understand them. I wrote:
The fact that she doesn’t get it actually makes her perfectly suited to be a Deputy Supervisor of a completely clueless Department of Elections run by an equally mindless Supervisor in the form of Penelope Townsend. The electorate has been concerned with what has been recently coined “low information voters,” but what they really should be worried about is “low information election officials.”
It doesn’t surprise me at all that a deputy supervisor of the Miami-Dade Elections Department would protect Michael Etienne from having a potential opponent. They work closely together during elections, and it certainly behooves the supervisor, Penelope Townsend, to keep city clerks happy. She is appointed, not elected, and therefore, complaints made against her by elected officials can cost her a much coveted job. No one at County Hall, and certainly not Mayor Gimenez, gives a rat’s ass if citizens have complaints against elected officials. They are obviously a “protected class.”
Janet Reed told the Herald she will contact the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust to complain about the injustice perpetrated on her by Michael Etienne’s office.
Good luck with that.
Ms. Reed should immediately demand the video from the surveillance camera at City Hall, which should show her re-entering the building prior to 12:00 noon, so she can prove she arrived before the deadline.
I also strongly suggest that she contact an attorney immediately!
Then she needs to contact the Florida Elections Commission at (850) 922-4539, and follow up with a formal complaint (download here), print, email a copy to email@example.com, and mail a hard copy to:
Florida Elections Commission
107 West Gaines Street, Suite 224
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1050
Her second telephone call should be to the Florida Office of the Attorney General, Pam Bondi. The fraud hotline is 866-966-7226. After making that call, Ms. Reed should file a formal complaint (download here), print and mail to:
Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Note to Ms. Reed: If you need any assistance with anything at all, including finding a good attorney and filing the formal complaints, I will be more than happy to help you get the justice you deserve. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Miami voters, I strongly urge you to speak out. Please call the City Manager tomorrow morning at 9:00 and don’t stop calling until you reach him. His telephone number is 305-895-9888.
You can also start sending your emails to him NOW! His email is email@example.com.
Let Aleem Ghany know that this time Michael Etienne has gone too far. You need to DEMAND that he do SOMETHING TO FIX THIS MESS!
I also urge you to attend your next city council meeting and let the Mayor and Council that you aren’t going to put up with the fraud and corruption at City Hall or in the Police Department.
People, this is YOUR CITY. You deserve a fair, open and transparent government, FREE OF FRAUD AND CORRUPTION!
There’s only so much I can do. The ball is in your court!
“Spreading the Wealth”