Political bickering, dysfunction and gridlock are the unfortunate symptoms of our national and state governments. We do not want partisanship in our Miami-Dade County government.
As former county and city mayors we are very concerned by recent reports emanating from Tallahassee, attempting to turn our local government into a pawn in a larger partisan election this year.
In 1957, 11 years before the state of Florida authorized home rule charters for any other county, the residents of Miami-Dade County approved the first ever Home-Rule Charter. Among its several provisions, the pioneering document included a pragmatic clause: non-partisan municipal elections.
Nearly 60 years later, the fact remains that political parties are irrelevant and unnecessary to providing local services. Solving our community’s greatest needs, from transit to trash pick-up, has everything to do with effective governing and nothing to do with ideological grandstanding.
In fact, one can make the argument that hyper-partisanship in Washington and Tallahassee has resulted in more gridlock than anything else. Do we really want that for Miami-Dade County? That sentiment explains why, according to a report by the National League of Cities, 77 percent of U.S. municipal governments have nonpartisan elections.
Throughout its history, Miami-Dade’s nonpartisan government has governed and advocated for agendas of progress.
It’s because of the nonpartisan format of our local governments that we witness cooperation between elected officials of different colors, creeds and yes, even political parties.
Our community is one of the most diverse in the nation. Miami-Dade County must continue as a nonpartisan, local, home-rule charter government, striving to look for those things that unite us and avoid those that would divide us.
Alex Penelas, former mayor, Miami-Dade County
Maurice Ferre, former mayor, Miami