Only Rebeca Sosa, Javier Souto, Juan Carlos Zapata, and Jose "Pepe" Diaz voted for Bush on January 23, when the commission chose five MDX members. He was passed over for Maritza Gutierrez, a Hispanic marketing guru married to lobbyist and political consultant Armando Gutierrez; ex-Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre; and lobbyists Alfredo Gonzalez, Rick Rodriguez-Pina, and Robert Holland.
Sosa tells Riptide she doesn't know why nine of her colleagues rejected Bush (who didn't respond to two messages for comment). "Maybe they had already made commitments to the other nominees," she says. "But I chose him because I thought adding a young voice with some fresh ideas would be good for MDX."
Recently, transportation activists -- most notably bloggers at Transit Miami -- have criticized the makeup of the MDX board for being stacked with lobbyists and pro-development forces (of the 13 members, only one is a real transit expert: Gus Pego, the Miami district secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation). The result: votes that often favor building more roads, which in turn encourages more construction of residential homes and commercial properties.
Take for instance a vote in November, when MDX announced a plan to add toll booths on South Dixie Highway on the southern end of Miami-Dade. Transit Miami argued the move would do little to help Dade motorists. "Let's kill this awful idea and send MDX packing," blog contributor Felipe Azenha wrote.
Sosa, though, rebuts those criticisms and defends the new, Bush-less appointees. "We have a hard time finding people willing to sit on any board," she says. "We demand they invest a significant amount of their time. It's not easy to get competent individuals to serve."