Protesters greeted state Rep. Daisy Baez outside her Coral Gables home Monday morning, asking for her resignation because she doesn’t live in her House district as required by Florida law.
“Resign now!” the protesters chanted. “Liar liar liar,” one of the signs read.
About 18 people held signs on the sidewalk in front of Baez’s house on Malaga Avenue at around 8:30 a.m. The house is in House District 112, but Baez, a Democrat, represents neighboring House District 114, as the Miami Herald reported last week.
Three days later, Baez dropped out of a special Florida Senate election where she had been the Democratic Party favorite.
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Several protesters said they had seen Baez leave the house a little earlier Monday morning.
“She read my sign and sped off in a white Mercedes,” said Mercedes Plasencia, a West Miami retiree. No cars were parked in front of the house by the time a Herald reporter arrived.
Mauricio Pons, 20, criticized Baez for failing to live in her district, despite a Florida constitutional requirement that she do so.
“That’s like if the mayor of Miami lived in Coral Gables,” said Pons, who described himself as a conservative. Neither he nor Plasencia would say which political group organized the protest.
A Herald reader said she received a robocall early Monday afternoon “alerting” her about Baez’s residency issues.
Baez is registered to vote in District 112. She told the Herald last week that she keeps two residences, including a rented apartment on Anderson Road in District 114.
But the apartment is occupied by its owner, who wouldn’t explain what sort of arrangement she has with Baez. A neighbor said Baez doesn’t live in the boutique building.
Baez changed her voter registration to the Anderson Road apartment six days before Election Day last November, election records show. Baez’s property-tax homestead exemption remains on her Malaga Avenue home, according to county records.
The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s office is investigating whether Baez’s exemption is in order, Deputy Appraiser Lazaro Solis told the Herald on Monday.
Exemptions are granted for an owner’s primary residence for the calendar year. It seems likely that Baez’s 2016 exemption was proper — and that she would still have time to make any changes to her 2017 exemption.
Local blogger Elaine de Valle reported over the weekend that Baez acknowledged she sleeps in her Malaga Avenue house, outside the district. Baez told de Valle she made an offer Saturday on a property within District 114 boundaries. Baez did not respond to specific questions Monday from the Herald. Instead, she issued a statement claiming she has “multiple residences.”
“Over the past months, I have had multiple residences, including a residence in District 114 as required by the Florida Constitution,” the statement said. “As a state representative, I have taken my responsibilities to abide by the law and the Constitution seriously and will continue to do so, including fighting for better jobs, affordable healthcare, and public schools.”
Spotted outside of Baez’s Malaga Avenue house Monday morning: a new “For Rent” sign.