City of Miami residents won't be given much of a choice when it comes to exercising their right to democracy during the November 5th mayoral elections. Despite an early fund-raising lead, commissioner Francis Suarez dropped out due to some minor campaign hickups and his wife's pregnancy, leaving the city without a credible alternative to the meh Tomas Regalado administration.
However, there will be three other names on the ballot. None of them have raised much money or garnered much support, but in the spirit of democracy we figured we'd at least introduce them to you.
Total Money Raised: $6496
Occuptation: Author, multiple degree holder, other than that his LinkedIn and Web site make it unclear.
Benjamin appears to have the most detailed campaign of any of the also-rans. It involves creating more bike paths, increasing school security, an ambitious city-wide sports competition program for children and the elderly, fighting unemployment, cutting taxes and spending, converting public transportation and buildings to wind and solar energy by 2020, balancing the budget, cutting down on light pollution, and affordable housing for the homeless. His entire campaign promise can be found here.
"I believe the spark of possibility burns deep within every child, that ordinary people can do extraordinary things," he writes on his site. "The history of our great City can only be understood if you have the passion and that constant striving to do better, no matter where you are or who you are."
Total Money Raised: $164
Occupation: Warehouse Worker
Though Miami city politics are nonpartisan, Baumann has officially aligned his campaign with the Socialist Workers Party. According to articles in the Militant, Baumann has embraced a non-starter in Miami politics: support for the Cuban 5, the convicted Communist spies who have been turned into national heroes by the Castro regime. In comparison, his other campaign tenants aren't so extreme. He supports taxi drivers against the county's efforts to mandate credit card machines in their cabs (despite this being a county, not a city issue), is demanding action against Miami Beach police for the death of Israel Hernandez (again, not a City of Miami concern), and is generally pro-worker.
"I'd use the office to build solidarity with workers' struggles and press for anything that would help break down divisions between workers fostered by the bosses and their government, and strengthen the confidence and mobilization of working people," Baumann told the Militant. "We urge workers to fight for a big raise in the minimum wage and a government-funded public works program to provide millions of jobs for those thrown out of work as a result of the capitalist crisis."
Total Money Raised: $0
Occupation: Retired FPL Employee
Williams is a married father of eight whose family roots in Miami go back to the late 1800s. His campaign website is light on actual policy, but he appears to be against public funding for professional sports stadiums and corruption. He ran for a city commission spot two years ago and laid out more of his politics in this interview.
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"My being elected as your mayor, would mean that for the very first time, there will be a representative from the outside seated on the inside," he writes on his website, YourServant.org. "Not a career politician, or businessman who stands to profit from the position, nor will there be a mayor manipulated by lobbyist, developers, foreign investors, or campaign contributors (not saying it has ever happened), but you be the judge."
He also claims he wants to be the first "real" mayor for the "entire" city of Miami since Maurice Ferre.