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Miami Commissioners Kill Publicly Funded Elections Referendum After Taking Millions From Lobbyists

Miami Commissioners Kill Publicly Funded Elections Referendum After Taking Millions From Lobbyists

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Nine of Miami-Dade County’s thirteen commissioners are fighting tooth and nail in court to keep a citizen’s campaign finance reform petition off the November ballot, but the determined citizens are fighting back with yet another petition, and contacting their politicians by phone and email – and they need your signatures. “I voted to let the campaign finance reforms get on the Nov 8 ballot, consistent with the Judge’s reasoning,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine-Cava on Facebook. She is one of four commissioners who did vote to place the reform item onto the ballot, saying “The existing process is flawed and needs to be fixed for the future and I’m working on that too.”

The proposed reform measure would create a new public election finance system, which would match small donations 6:1 so that regular people’s donations become more important and reduce the influence of outside special interests.  The measure would also ban county lobbyists and contractors from donating to the same Miami commissioners who are blatantly trying to kill the bill on behalf of their donors with a frivolous court challenge, obstructing the the process until ballots are printed and mailed out.

But the politicians in Miami-Dade County are a tough bunch, and just last Friday a judge slammed them and their lawyers for trying to game the system to keep campaign finance reform off the ballot in November – as seen in a video embedded below.  An Accountable Miami-Dade is the group who collected 127,000 registered voters’ signed petitions, and has navigated the near impossible to accomplish task of placing a new campaign finance system onto the November ballot in Miami.

After turning in the petitions, Miami commissioners didn’t want to hold a mandatory meeting to count them, which required a lawsuit. But the Commissioners relented once sued and ordered the petitions to be counted, and they all were counted in time for a hearing late last week to place them on the ballot – since local law requires the vote to see if the Board wants to (Option A) adopt the measure citizens propose without a vote or (Option B) place it automatically on the next ballot – but surprisingly Miami’s elected officials chose ‘Option C’ – to illegally vote to freeze the measure.

That led to a lawsuit which was decided against Miami’s Board of Commissioners last week which led a Judge William L. Thomas to slam the elected officials saying that, “everything has been done, but now the legal eagles are trying to say no,” and called the County’s behavior a “gotcha” and ordered it onto the ballot, which Miami’s politicians are appealing now to keep lobbyists donating to their campaign. All of this has led this newest petition, which says:

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County commissioners are refusing to place the citizen’s ballot initiative onto the ballot illegally and wasting our tax dollars to fight the measure in a blatant effort to leave it off the ballot unlawfully.

Ironically, many of these commissioners have quotations on their official photos at odds with the decision to slam the door on this citizen’s initiative. Dennis Moss is one of the Miami-Dade Commissioners opposing the citizen’s campaign finance reform ballot initiative has an ironic quotation about “direct input from the people” in his official photo but used his vote to silence voters. Last year, Moss actually proposed a $120,000,000 subsidy to 20th Century Fox last year, yes he wanted to give government money to the parent company of Fox News.

He is just one of the nine commissioners appealing a recent court decision which should’ve finally placed the item onto November’s ballot for citizens to decide. Contact him here:  Commissioner Dennis Moss – Email: Phone: 305-375-4832 or 305-234-4938 or 305-245-4420

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Commissioner Heyman wants to bring government closer to the people, but when people get close to government on their own, I guess it’s a little bit much for her to stomach so she voted to silence voters.

Contact her here: Commissioner Sally Heyman – Email: Phone: 305-375-5128 or 305-787-5999


Commissioner Diaz is best known outside of Miami for a very viral video of his DUI arrest while motorcycling in Key West, and he likes things “from the people, for the people,” unless they threaten to restrict his cash flow from lobbyists, so he voted to silence voters.

Contact him here: Comissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz – Email: Phone: 305-375-4343 or 305-599-1200 Twitter: @commishdiaz


Here’s the rest of the Miami-Dade Commission. Please sign the petition and share it, or contact them directly and ask them to drop their appeal of campaign finance reform:

Commissioner Audrey Edmondson – Email: Phone: or 305-636-2331 Twitter: @audreymedmonson

Commissioner Bruno Barriero – Email: Phone: 305-643-8525 or 305-673-7743 Twitter: @Barreirofl

Commissioner Rebeca Sosa – Email: Phone 305-375-5696 or 305-267-6377 Twitter: @RebecaSosaMiami

Commissioner Javier Suoto – Email: Phone: 305-375-4835 or 305-222-2116

Commissioner Juan C. Zapata – Email: Phone: 305-375-5511<Twitter: @juanczapata

Commissioner Estevan Bovo, Jr. – Email: Phone: 305-375-4831 or 305-820-8424 Twitter: @CommBov

Sign the petition here

USE THIS VIDEO EMBED CODE: <iframe src=”” width=”560″ height=”707″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true”></iframe>

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Grant Stern
is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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