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Former lawmaker upset his photo was used in Miami Beach campaign flier

@cveiga Flier

You may have seen his picture at the bottom of an email blast for Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower’s latest run for city office, but former state Rep. Luis Garcia wants everyone to know he is “adamantly opposed” to Bower’s candidacy.

Garcia sent out his own email blast stating, in capital letters, that Bower “does NOT HAVE MY support,” and that his photo was used in the campaign ad without permission.

Said Bower: “I am very sorry that that went out. It was something that I didn’t look at it close enough, and it was my fault. I will make sure that it never happens again.”

In the campaign ad, Garcia, a Democrat, appears in a small picture at the very bottom, alongside photos of other Florida pols, including former Gov. Charlie Crist. In the Garcia photo, the former representative appears to be patting Bower on the back.

“I hope that this campaign at such a critical time in Miami Beach will not deteriorate into more dirty tricks and underhanded attempts to confuse the voters and distract from the real issues,” Garcia wrote. “There are too many examples of a lack of integrity in our leadership and we do not need more of this behavior.”

He also wrote that he endorses Bower’s opponent, Sherry Kaplan Roberts, for the Group III commission race. Also running in that race: Michael C. Grieco and Joshua Dunkelman.

Bower is running for commission after being term-limited as mayor. She became mayor after reaching her term limit as a commissioner. But Bower can run again because the city’s rules only limit the number of consecutive years someone can serve as mayor (six years) or commissioner (eight years). Because of the way Miami Beach’s charter is written, anyone can switch between mayor and council person, and never be term-limited out of either position.

Detractors say that’s a loophole. An attempt earlier this year to put a cap on the total number of years served in elected office failed.

Miami Beach’s general election is scheduled for Nov. 5.

--CHRISTINA VEIGA

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