New Times' Guide to Tuesday's Election
by Kristin Bjornson
Whether you are a "nasty woman" or a "bad hombre," this election cycle has been some kind of joke. And soon the electorate will deliver its punch line.
"GOP, you're fired!"
Though the boundless bizarre badinage of the presidential race is getting more attention than your 13-year-old cousin on Instagram, Florida's local elections are likely to have a more direct effect on your life.
So here's our take on next Tuesday's vote:
Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons/ United States Congress via Wikimedia Commons
Rube Versus Smurph
Marco Rubio, the Republican junior senator, is squaring off against Patrick Murphy, the Democratic U.S. representative from Jupiter.
From his baby face and high-heeled boots to those comments about Donald Trump's hands and spray tan, the Cuban-American with a severe side part has lived the American dream. No, not the megamall to be built in Northwest Miami-Dade. As Drake famously rapped, Rubio "started from the bottom; now he here." The senator's wife is a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, for crying out loud.
He's a Republican with a proclaimed fondness for Ted Kennedy. And one of his most influential life moments happened at a foam party where he ruined his shoes. Hell, his brother-in-law was a genuine Miami coke dealer who went to prison.
Marquito ought to be a big-time favorite, but he just isn't. Despite calling Trump a "con artist," he continues to endorse the Republican presidential nominee. Rubio didn't even pull his endorsement of Donald Dork after learning the multimillionaire violated the Cuban trade embargo, made outrageous statements on the infamous Access Hollywood tape, and sniffled too much after three successive debates. Rubio's awkward dance with Trump is vertigo-inducing.
Perhaps President Obama put it best when, at a recent event in Miami Gardens, he emphatically addressed the absent senator: "Come on, man."
Murphy is best known in this race as "not Rubio." His signature achievement: a drunken arrest while in college at the University of Miami. Then there are those accusations of resumé-padding. He is now featured in Politics Weekly in the section "Politicians: They Are Just Like Us."
His politically driven name change from Erin (his middle/college drinking name) to Patrick has us all wondering: Who doesn't need a rebrand? Are we right, Beyoncé?
photos: Miami-Dade County Office of the Mayor/Marta Xochilt Perez
Hey, Freud. Have we got a ballot item for you. The Miami-Dade mayoral race pits incumbent Carlos Gimenez — AKA the face you've seen a thousand times but can't remember — against Raquel Regalado, the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado (yes, those are two different offices).
She's a six-year county school board member. Gimenez has been in office for five years.
These two agree on nothing. To say there is bad blood is an understatement. We haven't seen a feud like this since Kim K. joined the fight between Taylor Swift and Kanye West.
Gimenez, who's often thin-skinned, has generally been an effective mayor. Kind of. His greatest claim to fame and the one he'll probably ride all the way to reelection involves bringing ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft to Miami-Dade.
Regalado first fired on Gimenez after the county alcalde criticized her dad. She accused Gimenez of trying to make her and her father out to be one and the same. He responded, "You are the queen of making it up."
She then called him "the king of denial."
They do have two things in common, though. Both are Republicans. And neither supports Donald Trump. Which goes to show that if these frenemies can find something to agree on, the answer to peaceful resolutions everywhere might be the absence of Trump.
Alicia Machado may just end up chief of staff at County Hall.
Could this be Miami one day?
Photo by Laszlo66/Shutterstock.com
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Shady Business With Solar
Don't believe the smiling-sun ads. Amendment 1, which is backed by the utility industry, has been described by Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente as a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
Oppose it and you might wake up to a horse head in your sheets. What is it really? An attempt to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar while being marketed as a pro-solar amendment. Best of all, it is championed by a Tea Party group known as the Green Tea Coalition. We kid you not.
What is the Green Tea Coalition? A group of "less savvy, less informed Tea Party groups," according to a vice president at the James Madison Institute, a public policy research organization in Tallahassee. With all of this free-market trickery, we're thinking Michele Bachmann probably received another mandate from God on this one and passed it on to her Florida affiliates.
This amendment removes incentives for consumers to take on the big upfront costs of installing solar panels in their homes and businesses. And it will allow utility companies to monopolize solar energy in the future.
How did it get onto the ballot? How do you think? The utility companies, silly. Backed by a group called Consumers for Smart Solar, it seeks to keep the solar market strictly in the hands of the utilities and prevent homeowners or businesses from contracting with solar companies. It was created with cash from utilities such as Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power Company, and Tampa Electric, as well as groups tied to political crime duo the billionaire Koch brothers.
According to the Energy and Policy Institute, "Consumers for Smart Solar is a utility and fossil fuel-funded campaign designed to confuse voters, attack the pro-solar Floridians for Solar Choice Ballot initiative, and protect the monopoly utilities."
The amendment has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing. Monopoly was such a better game when it involved a guy in a top hat and the low probability of jail time. This all seems criminal.
Courtesy of Surterra Therapeutics
Like Taking Candy From a Baby?
Amendment 2, the oft-described measure to allow medical marijuana, has overwhelming support in polls. Even the argument of the opponents seems a bit hazy. Kids will end up eating pot like candy? Really?
In reality, if the amendment passes, you are likelier to see abuela and abuelo than anyone under age 9 in line at Taco Bell or "La Vaquita." That's because while Amendment 2 does allow for edible forms of marijuana, it does not specifically identify candy. In fact, Amendment 2 is largely proposed for the benefit of those suffering from debilitating diseases or conditions that affect mostly older people, such as ALS, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
The amendment is expected to pass with more than $5 million raised in support. But don't expect the party to get too wild. The Republican-dominated Florida Legislature will lay down house rules, meaning limited measures and no loud music after 10 p.m.
There is no proof that legalized medical marijuana will lead to higher rates of drug use among youths.
Nineteen of the 24 states that have voted on medical marijuana legalization have passed the measure. (There is also the nation's capital — D.C., or the republic of Dank Chronic.) None of them has seen a substantial increase in childhood consumption.
Plus, Amendment 2 requires that the Department of Health monitor marijuana production and distribution centers and issue ID cards for patients and caregivers. We aren't Colorado yet — and frankly it's ridiculous that Florida is only now voting on legalized medical marijuana while Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada vote on recreational pot.
So for now, you'll have to hold off on that "Netflix and smoke" text.
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