The new effort to repeal Miami-Dade's longstanding ban on pit bulls almost died at Wednesday's abbreviated County Commission meeting, but was given another shot amid the Hurricane Matthew scramble.
About two dozen people signed up to speak about Commissioner Bruno Barreiro's proposed ordinance to repeal the 1989 ban. The legislative effort followed a failed bid to repeal it at the ballot box in 2012, when residents by about a 2 to 1 margin voted against removing the law from the county books.
Since the proposed ordinance would still face a committee hearing before a final vote at the commission at a later date, Chairman Jean Monestime asked the would-be speakers if they were willing to hold their comments until the hearing. He said he wanted to speed up the meeting so it could adjourn in advance of Miami-Dade closing its county offices to let workers prepare for Matthew.
The speakers agreed, allowing commissioners to take up the draft ordinance without hearing from the public. But rather than advancing it to a hearing, the 13-member board voted against the legislation. Voting for advancing the legislation were Barreiro and commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Sally Heyman, Daniella Levine Cava, and Xavier Suarez (who added he was a "yes" note "for now.") Commissioner Juan C. Zapata was absent from the meeting.
The 5 to 7 vote would have killed Barreiro's proposal on the spot. But given the odd circumstance of members of the public being asked to delay their comments until a later date, commissioners later agreed to rescind their vote and take up Barreiro's proposed ordinance at the next regular commission meeting. (It appears Monestime, who voted against advancing Barreiro's proposal, didn't realize the bill would end up dying on the first-reading vote.)