Mayoral recall effort fizzles in Doral

Doral Mayor Luigi Boria will not face a recall, after a poll revealed that the campaign to unseat him did not have enough support among city residents.

The poll, conducted by researcher Darío Moreno and commissioned by a group of businessmen, revealed a minimal difference among those who supported the recall and those who opposed it, said investor Agustín Pardo, one of the businessmen who had been exploring the recall.

Though Pardo refused to show the poll numbers to avoid, he said, their “exploitation by some politicians,” he did say that the difference was barely 1 to 2 percentage points.

“The poll results did not convince us to launch the recall,” said Pardo. “The difference is so small because in general at this time [due to the crisis in Venezuela] people don’t want to know anything about [local] politics.”

About 9,400 people in Doral reported Venezuelan ancestry in the 2010 census. That’s close to a quarter of the city’s population.

Boria said that he had obtained the poll results through unofficial channels and that, according to the information he received, 58 percent of those interviewed rejected the recall and 42 percent supported it.

The mayor said he had received complaints from “many people upset” by the calls from pollsters.

Both Pardo and Carlos Pereira, the spokesman for the group of businessmen, were surprised that Boria claimed to have the poll results.

“There is no way that he can have the results of a poll that was conducted privately,” Pereira said. “It’s impossible.”

Pereira and Pardo said that about 2,000 voters responded to the poll, which was conducted in February by telephone and personally at places such as bus and trolley stops, and commercial and industrial areas with a high presence of workers.

“We respect the poll results and the thinking of most Doral residents,” Pereira said.

Pardo, who said the poll was ultimately funded by three businessmen at a cost of $7,000, added that a high percentage of those interviewed did not respond to one or more questions because they were absorbed in Venezuela’s political crisis and were not following local politics.

In November, two Venezuelan businessmen, Tomás Romero and Henry Contreras, announced that a group of investors would commission a sampling of Boria’s rate of approval to consider the possibility of launching a recall after back-to-back scandals in the city.

At that time both said that the poll would be conducted in January.

Pardo said they were interested in knowing the opinion of the average person on the street, not exclusively the high-income residents, about Boria's level of acceptance and how the image of potential candidates of Venezuelan descent was affected by the Doral scandals.

There was not a high percentage of responses to a question about a possible successor to Boria as mayor, Pardo said, though he added that the best placed candidate had been councilwoman Sandra Ruíz.

Pardo said, without showing any documents, that Boria’s approval was between 40 and 50 percent and that approval of the city government had fallen to 52 percent.

Boria, however, said that, based on the information leaked to him, the acceptance of the city’s performance was 70 percent.

Boria added that he even received a call from pollsters.

“I was called, but my wife picked up,” Boria said, laughing. “She gave a positive response.”

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