Our mild-mannered billionaire mayor-recaller now thinks he's king. Auto magnate Norman Braman, riding on his successful campaign to recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, is lightly hinting at more recalls of sitting county commissioners unless they follow his reform agenda. However, county commissioners are now saying they won't be so easily bossed around.
Commissioners certainly aren't tone deaf to the lessons of the recall and have put together a package of reforms to the county charter that could wind up on the May 24 ballot, the likely date of the special election to replace Alvarez. Among the more notable changes would be a 12-year term limit for commissioners (current commissioners wouldn't be affected until 2024), a ban on outside employment, and a giant raise in salary to about $92,000 a year (which, to be fair, would lessen the need for potentially conflicting outside employment in the first place). The amendments would also dial back Alvarez's strong-mayor reforms and allow a charter-change tax force to put charter amendments directly on the ballot, completely side-stepping the commission.
Braman though doesn't think it goes far enough, so he sent a letter to the commissioners urging them to go further. In an interview with the Miami Herald, he says the possibility of more recalls is certainly an option. Braman wants terms limited to only two four-year terms, the number of commissioners reduced from 13 to nine, and to ban commissioners from lobbying the body for ten years.
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But sitting commissioners aren't willing to go lockstep with Braman's so-called covenant.
"I personally don't think threatening commissioners or telling them, giving them mandates if you do this or you don't do that, then we'll do this," District 12 Commissioner José "Pepe" Diaz tells WSVN.
While Braman certainly has gained political capital owing to his successful engineering of the Alvarez recall, he certainly seems to be throwing his money and influence around. Ultimately, Braman's threats can be carried out only by the Miami-Dade electorate.