by Javier Manjarres
Springtime in Miami could only mean babes, bikinis, and the beach- three sure-fire ingredients that always attract even the most cunning of political sharks. Combined with developing political turmoil that continues to ‘chum’ the warm Miami waters and you have all the ingredients for a political feeding frenzy. Ousted Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez got into hot water after negotiating with unions to increase the pay for the Miami-Dade Police and signed off on a property tax increase to pay for it. Interestingly enough, Julio Robaina, the popular Mayor of Hialeah, has negotiated a 12% increase in pay for the Hialeah Police Department, but now is unsure if it will be able to meet this commitment in light of the county and the state’s current economic plight. The only plausible way to cover this pay increase is to raise city property taxes as now former mayor Alvarez attempted to do.
Robaina is considered the frontrunner in the Miami-Dade Mayor’s race, and if his tax increase were to pass, he would not be in office to face the ensuing fiscal backlash were he to win the upcoming Miami-Dade Mayor’s race.
“We need to run government like a business—without affecting core services,”-Julio Robaina.
As a candidate, Mr. Robaina has stated that he wants to reduce duplication in county government, pointing out that it takes visits to five different buildings to get a single county building permit-WSJ
One of his opponents in the mayors’ race is County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, who according the PBA is is “no friend to law enforcement” after naming him the ‘Worst Commissioner’ because he was the only Commissioner to vote against the countywide pay increase for law enforcement. In recent polling. Gimenez comes in second to Robaina, with over 50% of the constituents polled still being undecided. Gimenez responded to a request for an interview by sending over this quote, a veiled jab at his opponents that references the purchase of a new suite at the new Miami Ballpark:
“I’ ve always been an outspoken critic of the blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars and misplaced priorities at County Hall. We need leaders who aren’t going to raise taxes and squander the revenue to bolster their pet projects, give salary increases to their friends, or to buy themselves a nice suite at the new stadium we all just paid for. Our opportunity is now as we start to hold government accountable, restore fiscal responsibility, lower the tax burden, and bring much-needed reforms to County Hall. “-Carlos Gimenez
The third candidate in the race, former State Legislator Marcelo Llorente, recently made his formal announcement to run. Llorente originally entered the race back in 2009 and is on the record of saying that he would cut the Mayor’s office budget as well as his own salary by 10% if elected. Neither Llorente nor Robaina were able to be reached for comment on this story.