The latest recall effort in the City of Miami appears to have passed its first hurdle. This morning at city hall, organizers looking to oust Commissioner Joe Carollo submitted petitions with 1,941 signatures — nearly 300 more than the number required under state law to advance to the second round of the recall process.
The presentation of the physical petitions came two days after the signatures were submitted electronically to the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts, according to attorney Juan-Carlos "J.C." Planas, who is working with the recall movement.
The drive to remove Carollo from office kicked off January 31. Because the City of Miami does not have its own provision for recalls, the process has been dictated by state law, which gives organizers a 30-day window to collect signatures from at least 5 percent of registered voters in Carollo's District 3.
Now that the petitions have been turned in, city officials are expected to forward them to election officials for verification. If at least 1,577 of the signatures are deemed valid, the recall process will move on to a second phase, in which organizers will be given 60 days to collect roughly 4,700 signatures from District 3 voters.
But before that happens, Carollo will have the opportunity to submit a 200-word defense, which will be included in petitions put before voters during the second round of signature gathering. Planas and others with the recall movement, which is backed by the political committee Take Back Our City, say they predict a fight from Carollo — potentially a legal one.
"Of course, we expect a lawsuit. I expect him to throw everything at us but the kitchen sink," Planas says.
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Carollo did not immediately respond to messages from New Times.
In the background of the ongoing recall effort, Carollo and two other Miami commissioners — Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Manolo Reyes — have moved to pass a law that would limit the number of times a commissioner can be targeted by recall efforts to once per year. Commissioners have defended the ordinance and said it has nothing to do with the recall campaign against Carollo.
The last successful recall effort in Miami-Dade came in 2011 when County Mayor Carlos Alvarez was removed from office for his role in the Marlins Park taxpayer boondoggle. Last week, another angry group of Miamians formed the Concerned Committee for Citizens of Miami, a coalition that has threatened to recall every city commissioner except Ken Russell.