Norman Braman, the auto billionaire who bankrolled the successful effort earlier this year to recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and supported the same effort against former Commissioner Natacha Seijas, has named his potential next targets.
Speaking Monday morning on WQBA-AM (1140), a Spanish-language radio station, Braman said the charter amendments Miami-Dade commissioners agreed last week to place on the Jan. 31 ballot do not go far enough towards reforming business as usual in county government.
"You have the same group of commissioners -- Commissioner [Joe] Martinez, Commissioner [Jose] 'Pepe' Diaz and some of the others -- that just do not want change," Braman told host Bernadette Pardo. "They want to hold on to their power and not give the voters here, the people here, the type of change that's necessary, that we all voted for. They haven't learned."
"I would be very tempted to see if Commissioner Martinez and Commissioner Diaz are right as far as how they felt their voters feel about them," Braman added, noting that Martinez said people in Miami-Dade like their commissioners. "There may be only one way to find out -- and that is to place a recall for some of them to find out exactly how the people in their districts feel about their performance."
Braman called the proposals that will be on January's ballot -- limiting commissioners to two, four-year terms without outside employment and salaries of more than $92,000 a year, based on a state formula; and making it easier to place citizen initiatives on the county ballot -- "a step in the right direction," though he said he would like the change to apply retroactively to sitting commissioners.
He praised Commissioners Esteban Bovo, Rebeca Sosa, Lynda Bell and Xavier Suarez for pushing for the changes.
But he also said he'll be looking for commissioners to try to place more questions on the ballot in the body's Dec. 3 meeting -- including a measure allowing all unincorporated areas of the county to join cities so the Miami-Dade government can focus on regional issues.
"I believe that most of the commissioners want to do as little as possible," Braman said.