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Committee formed to try and recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez

@doug_hanks

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A fledgling attempt to recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez entered an early paperwork phase this week, with its organizer creating a committee to back the challenge.

Retired firefighter Jack Garcia is heading the effort, joined by a group of college students involved in local politics. The campaign has a Facebook page with 2,800 likes, a new website, recallgimenez.com, and now a political committee called "A Better Dade."  

Hand-written forms creating A Better Dade were filed with county election officials Wednesday, and a County Hall press conference inaugurating the push is set for noon on Monday.  

"There's no billionaire here,'' Garcia, 55, said in reference to Norman Braman, the auto magnate who successfully led (and funded) the 2011 recall effort against Gimenez's predecessor, Carlos Alvarez. "I'm a novice in all this." 

In a statement, Gimenez's chief spokesman said the mayor "refuses to be distracted by a recall effort."

"The previous mayor was recalled in part because he raised taxes in order to fund salary and benefit increases for union workers,'' wrote Mike Hernandez, Gimenez's communications chief. "Mayor Gimenez has not increased tax rates and has held the line on employee salaries and benefits."

Garcia entered the media spotlight this summer when his adult son died in a July 4 boating accident off Biscayne Bay. He had been a leading critic of Miami-Dade not funding a dedicated squad for the county's largest fireboat. Garcia suggested in a press conference shortly after the accident that having the vessel in the water might have helped find any survivors not killed on impact.

Four people died, and police have not released their final report detailing the causes of the collision. 

On Friday, Garcia said "the whole purpose of this recall is not only the boating accident. Nothing would have prevented that." 

Instead, he's taking aim at Gimenez's repeated budget cuts and general opposition to tax increases. "Nobody wants to raise taxes,'' Garcia said. "But they're cutting on the wrong end." He cited Gimenez's backing new subsidies for the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Beach Convention Center without steering significant new dollars to the fire department and other services. 

A Facebook posting announcing the press conference includes the hashtag "#RecallTheRodent." "A lot of the guys I work with think he is a rat,'' Garcia said. 

For now, there is no official recall effort. Garcia said the plan is to file the actual paperwork launching the recall drive in October. Once the forms are submitted, Garcia's group would have 120 days to collect more than 50,000 signatures. 

A Better Dade lists Garcia as chairman, with the vice-chairman title going to Antonio J. Diaz,  a 19-year-old junior at Florida International University. Diaz is also running for a seat on the Miami city council, and he and friends formed a company last year to help with local races. He said they contacted Garcia once his recall push began receiving media attention in recent weeks.

While new to the political scene, Diaz said he was surprised to discover what he called a rookie mistake by Gimenez's team. Nobody had registered the website recallgimenez.com

"When you run for office," he said, "the first thing you do is buy 'recallyourname.com'"

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

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AnthonyVOP

Wait.

His kid gets killed and he blames the mayor and so he wants to stick the taxpayers with the bill?

Had to be a overpaid, juvenile fireman....Jeez!

Diane Lawrence

I am glad that a recall movement has started. This mayor isn't very bright. He let the grass in the parks grow to unmanageable heights and in my neighborhood park it took days to correct the mess. We don't want this to go on every month --- phone calls and emails to our commissioner and to the mayor. Homeowners would rather have their property tax raised than to have to take charge of making sure our park is mowed. Then there's the lack of police presence -- 3 hours to respond to a house alarm and then tell the victim to "Arm yourself." Gimenez also betrayed the group that has worked so hard to stop the expensive and pitiful euthanasia of animals who aren't adopted. The No Kill issue was to be put on the ballot and we were betrayed by this administration.

Overpaid much?

County employees are overpaid. No surprise there is no money to cut the grass and protect the citizens.

Starlet Myra

We are not overpaid! We have not received a salary raise in 5 to 6 years. We had a salary cut between 13% to 16% in the last 3 to 4 years, we lost lot of employees that is why the citizens are not receiving the proper care and another 700 cut are expected for this coming fiscal year. In the private sector employee in our positions earn twice what we earn working for the county and they have benefits too.

wakeupandsmelltheroses

Actually, a majority of the "employees" lost were those that did not actually exist. There were unfilled positions that were eliminated. As to cut salaries between 13 - 16% in last 3 to 4 years, what about the 25-26% increases from 2003 until 2008? I guess those didn't count in your head.

I can't even believe you brought up the private sector. There is no way they earn twice more than a county employee in a similar position. And even worse, there is no one on the private sector that has a better health care plan than county employees, and we certainly do not have FRS Pensions that will pay me 80% of my best 5 years for life! Seriously, lets get some real perspective here.

Maybe it is time as citizens to force privatization on the county through a ballot initiative. Take it out of the hands of the Commission that runs scared every time the union folk bark. If the unions continue to work against the taxpayer without reason, they may force this community to take an action that they will forever regret.

tanya Pacheco

Time to recall this mayor whom only mission is to appear seen with the super stars! !!!

Take himDown

Privatization ends up costing more in law suits. City of south Miami just rejected
Privatizing sanitation. The private prison system is a disgusting
Mess. See this Comedy Central take on the horror

http://youtu.be/_Pz3syET3DY

Melinda Munger

I believe you cannot have a first class community unless you want to pay for it. As it is, Gimenez and his ilk have their little gated communities and the rest of us simply do not matter
Schools, libraries, well-trained and supervised police should be well paid. Fire rescue should well manned and equipped These are the basics of a well-run county
And we all should be willing to pay our fair share to make that happen. Or it's the GUYs Behind the gates versus the rest of us - in our favelas.

Terri M

Ok, what Firefighter works 2 days a week? I've never heard such an outrageous statement in my life. My husband works for Metro Dade Fire Dept. No he is not a firefighter. He is a helicopter mechanic. He works 4 10 hour days. The firefighters and pilots work 7 days on and 7 days off. That means they cannot leave the fire station for 7 days, except for calls. They are "on duty" 24/7. Some stations have 48 hours on duty. That means any calls in that 48 hours are their responsibility and means they work a 48 hour week in 2 days. Most firefighters do not make $110,000 as their base salary. They make that much due to overtime because there are not enough firefighters or police officers. The Mayor's statement about salaries is a misrepresentation because the annual amount he quotes includes OT. My husband has been with the county for almost 5 years and has taken a pay cut EVERY YEAR! In fact during the last salary negotiation, the Mayor tried to cut the salaries of many workers up to 30%. Could you afford a 30% cut in pay? The union was able to negotiate it down to 15%, with the promise that at the end of the contract the workers would get back their reductions. Well guess what, he reneged on that promise and is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the county employees and the employees have had enough. Most people in the last few years have gotten either no raises or very small raises. However, the employees of the county have gotten nothing, but pay reductions for 5 years. When will it stop. Yes, I agree there too many chiefs and not enough Indians, but in this case the chiefs are not the ones that are suffering, it is the Indians. When the Mayor was elected, my husband got a 15% pay reduction, but one of the Mayor's office cronies got a 74% raise! And yes, that is a party of the public records. The Miami Herald ran an article on this fact. And many other people in his office also got big raises, while the rest of the workers got the shaft.

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