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Challenger launches campaign against Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell

@PatriciaMazzei

Levine kickoffSurrounded by nearly 100 well-wishers bundled up in a chilly Tuesday afternoon, Daniella Levine Cava jumped into the political race to challenge Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell.

Drawing a parallel to the time after 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which devastated the South Miami-Dade district she's seeking to represent, Levine Cava urged her early supporters to join forces to improve their community -- and help her get elected.

"That storm could have torn us apart, but instead it became the tie that bound us," she said. "We can achieve very big results without a big storm."

Before her remarks, Levine Cava was endorsed by Katy Sorenson, Bell's predecessor who represented District 8 for 16 years. Now the head of the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami, she is still beloved by progressive politicians county activists, many of whom attended Tuesday's campaign launch.

Sorenson said she tried to persuade Levine Cava, the founder and then-chief executive of the social-services agency Catalyst Miami, to run for the seat when she retired four years ago. But Levine Cava turned her down at the time -- only to surprise Sorenson recently when she told her she planned to run this year, Sorenson said.

"Daniella has served our community as a beacon of hope for many," she said. "She will be the commissioner to restore public trust."

Backing Levine Cava will be Miami-Dade Democrats, who have their eye on the conservative Bell. Party faithful were out in force Tuesday, and Levine Cava's team repeatedly reminded them that the campaign will need their sweat and dollars to try to unseat Bell.

It is notoriously difficult to defeat incumbent commissioners, and the experienced Bell, who before winning her seat was mayor of Homestead, already has a campaign account of more than $179,000.

Though Bell, who is in a nonpartisan post, has recently sided with labor on some matters -- late last year she voted to restore the pay for sanitation workers, for example -- Levine Cava is likely to lean on labor unions for support. Several union players attended the kickoff, including John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association.

In an interview Monday with the Herald, Levine Cava said she is interested in issues of "fairness," including for public workers.

"I would certainly place a very high priority on a good wage scale for everybody in the county," she said.

Photo credit: C.W. Griffin, Miami Herald staff

Comments

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ed jenkins

Though little is done by these commissioners of note, the voters have been happy with Bell in the few independent decisions she has had to make. Its a bad sign to start out when a candidate cannot even pick a name and has to go by 3 names, the citizens do not approve of this type of indecision and this lady should either pick a last name or withdraw.

Christi Hayes

Ed,

Who says she cannot "pick a name"? She has chosen a name, and it includes both her own surname and that of her husband. No one ever suggests that men change their names when they marry. Women traditionally have been expected to change their names. Frequently today women add their husband's surname to their own name rather than abandon their own last name (historically referred to as her "maiden" name). She was born Daniella Levine and she has chosen to add her husband's surname to her own. She has picked the name Daniella Levine Cava. Let's hope voters focus on her vast experience and commitment to the well-being of the county instead of her name.

Using three or more names may not be common in your culture. It is common in some cultures, and very common in Miami. If having three names means someone is not equipped for public service, this needs to be a much bigger election.

On what do you base the assertion that the voters have been happy with Bell?

Michael

Wait... doesn't "Lynda Chainfence Bell" have three names?

Elaine de Valle AKA Ladra

The only reason the three names seems odd, Christi, is because it is new. It is not like she started calling herself Daniella Levine Cava when she got married. She JUST started using that third name. Just like Annette Taddeo Goldstein recently added her husband's name to hers. It just seems like an afterthought. Why now? Well, it usually has the perception, when it is done in political circles, of being a move to pander to voter blocs. It seems disingenuous. But we shall give her the benefit of the doubt.

Daleta Thurness

I thought we vote and select folks to represent us based on the issues...what does someone's name have to do with it?

ed jenkins

As has been pointed out by some readers there is some funny business going on with this lady and her aliases and the voters are now concerned that they may have a politician trying to hide something. It would be best to find another candidate who does not have these skeletons in her closet.

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