In Miami-Dade County, nothing seems to change, including the Miami Herald’s recommendation of Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz. Diaz has been a commissioner for 12 years. That should be reason enough for the people of his district to want a change. His record is another. He voted in favor of the Marlins’ Stadium, a $2.4 billion (including bond interest) giveaway that made Miami-Dade a laughingstock among Major League Baseball and stadium critics everywhere.
He voted to increase property owners’ real-estate taxes in the midst of one of the greatest recession of our lives, notwithstanding that foreclosures were at their highest level and people were losing jobs daily. He also voted to increase county commissioners’ salary from $6,000 to $92,000, and showed his true colors by saying to his colleagues that, “$92,000 is not a true salary. You are going to limit yourself to a salary that is not fitting to the office you are holding.”
His opponent, Marjorie Figueira, is an outsider to politics, but not to the county. She is retired from a sterling career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. As a newcomer, she will bring fresh eyes and no political debts to anyone. Commissioner Diaz owes access and probably allegiance to those from whom he has already amassed an $800,000 campaign war chest. Moreover, someone offered Marjorie a seat on a county board if she only would leave the race. I wonder on whose behalf that offer was made.
Henry Wilson once said: “The only human institution which rejects change is the cemetery.” To that, I may need to add the Herald. I hope that the voters of District 12 need not be added to the list.
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Norman Braman, Miami