Give Money, Get Contracts, Part III

When election time rolls into gear, the union representing Miami-Dade County fire fighters doesn't waste time getting into action. According to campaign financial disclosure reports, Dade County Firefighters Local 1403 contributed $500 each to the reelection campaigns of Bruno Barreiro, Audrey Edmonson, Carlos Gimenez, Barbara Jordan, Joe Martinez, and Natacha Seijas. That should come as no surprise considering the fire union is often exerting its political influence at County Hall. Just this past July 18, Local 1403 mobilized hundreds of its members to show up at the Stephen P. Clark Center for the county commission's special meeting.

On the agenda was an item calling for a referendum to ask voters in the November elections to make Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue the only department county-wide -- in effect eliminate the fire departments in Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables and Hialeah. Dressed in red t-shirts supporting the measure, county union firemen easily outnumbered their municipal counterparts. Fortunately, pressure from local city elected officials and a media barrage forced county commissioners to delay their decision. But you can bet Local 1403 will use this election season to get the referendum one way or another.

This is the third part of an ongoing series profiling political campaign donors who influence local government. In case you missed it, check out the first edition and the second edition.

-- Francisco Alvarado

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