Miami-Dade voters have to tie up the loose ends of four races that ended in runoffs in the Aug. 30 primary. Two judicial contests and two for the School Board will be decided on Election Day.
There were four impressive candidates to replace retired Judge Gill Freeman. Mark Blumstein and Luis Perez-Medina were the two left standing. Mr. Blumstein, an attorney in private practice, is a former Surfside commissioner. Mr. Perez-Medina is a Miami-Dade County prosecutor who has supervised felony attorneys and worked, among other assignments, in the Public Corruption unit.
We give the edge to Mr. Blumstein, whose experience as a lawyer in the U.S. Navy has made him a champion of the new Veterans Court, which helps former servicemen, particularly those with drug problems, through the judicial process. In a community in which many veterans, perhaps homeless, are challenged by mental health issues, too, we think Mr. Blumstein will bring a unique perspective to the bench.
The Herald recommends MARK BLUMSTEIN for Circuit Court Group 34.
Again, two well-qualified candidates are vying for this open seat. Carol “Jodie” Breece, 56, is the ethics counsel for the Broward County Inspector General’s Office, a former trial attorney and Miami-Dade assistant state attorney. Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts, 53, is a former Miami city attorney and Miami-Dade public defender. A third, Rosy Aponte, didn’t make the cut in August.
We went with Ms. Breece in the primary and are going with her now. She has the depth of experience to make her a stand-out on the bench. The Herald recommends CAROL “JODIE” BREECE for Circuit Court Group 52.
As we said before the August primary, Steve Gallon is the “pitch-perfect” candidate to represent District 1, one of the school system’s most challenged.
He is challenging incumbent Wilbert “Tee” Holloway, who has held the seat since 2007 and been a lackluster advocate for improving the schools in his high-poverty district that suffers from a lack of parental involvement in school and, sometimes, compromised teacher quality.
Problem is, Mr. Gallon, despite his on-target assessment of what the district needs, was accused of hiring unqualified friends and housing two young students so they could go to out-of-district schools when he was schools superintendent in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Charges were dropped, but he was banned from working in that state’s public schools.
Now the head of an academic consulting firm in South Florida, Mr. Gallon has conflicted financial and administrative ties at several charter schools deemed inappropriate by outside consultants.
Though Mr. Gallon has the vison and energy to really help the district, the Herald recommends WILBERT T. “TEE” HOLLOWAY for the School Board’s District 1.
Modesto Abety, fresh off a successful run as president and CEO of the Children’s Trust, is the best person to fill this seat vacated by Raquel Regalado. He speaks confidently of forging partnerships to improve real, not just test-frenzied education.
His opponent, Maria Teresa Rojas, 62, is a retired educator, basically a school system insider. We prefer the fresh approach that Mr. Abety would bring to this important position. This week, Mr. Abety told the Miami Herald his opponent, who is the sister-in-law of Mayor Carlos Gimenez, has been missing from the campaign trail, skipping several candidate forums. Ms. Rojas told the Herald she’s focused on grassroots campaigning.
The Herald recommends MODESTO “MO” ABETY for the School Board’s District 6.