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Miami-Dade commission to lawmakers: Please don't file bills that undermine county powers

Miami-Dade commissioners thanked the county's legislative delegation on Tuesday for listening to local concerns in the regular session that ended earlier this month in Tallahassee. But they also lamented that Miami-Dade lawmakers sponsored legislation that the county opposed -- in particular, a measure on pre-trial release programs and another one doing away with the county's pit-bull ban.

"Our own people were trying to kill us," Chairman Joe Martinez said. (On the pit-bull legislation, which died after the county agreed to put the issue on the ballot, Martinez added: "We will keep our word.")

Commissioner Dennis Moss said local lawmakers try to undermine county powers, and asked state Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera what the county can do to work with lawmakers, instead of spending time and money fighting them. "I don't know that other delegations basically hammer their counties the way it seems our delegation does," Moss said.

Lopez-Cantera, a term-limited Miami Republican and head of the delegation, suggested commissioners keep open lines of communication with lawmakers to talk about issues. On Monday, Lopez-Cantera and other lawmakers visited Mayor Carlos Gimenez and touted how much the delegation can get accomplished when they work together.

"My suggestion, based on my experience with this board, is to have an open dialogue," he said.

Lopez-Cantera himself has filed an unsuccessful bill the past two years that would have allowed lawmakers to place Miami-Dade charter amendments on the local ballot. That power currently rests on the county commission and citizens who collect petition signatures.