The Miami Herald withdraws an election recommendation rarely, sometimes reluctantly, when new information leads to reconsideration. And this is the case in the runoff between incumbent Miami-Dade County Judge Jacqueline Schwartz and attorney Frank Bocanegra. In August, the Herald recommended Ms. Schwartz’s re-election because of her experience on the bench. The incumbent drew two opponents for the primary. She and Mr. Bocanegra ended up in a runoff.
Since the primary, the Miami Herald reported an incident at a Coconut Grove convenience store in which the owner said that Ms. Schwartz demanded that he remove an opponent’s oversized campaign sign from the parking lot outside or display hers, too, then cursed at him when he said he could not because he was not the property owner. The story continues that the judge called Miami code enforcement, which made the store owner remove the too-large sign.
This raises sufficient questions about the judge’s demeanor. The individuals interviewed at the convenience store — a cashier corroborated the story in a sworn statement — said they did not know she was a judge when she came in.
Ms. Schwartz has not responded adequately to the allegations. She told the Editorial Board that it would not be “wise” to talk about them in light of a complaint filed with the Judicial Qualifications Commission. She also referred a Herald reporter’s questions to her political consultant, Bob Levy. Mr. Levy told the Editorial Board this week that she denied, to him, that she directed unseemly profanity toward the store owner.
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Her opponent, Mr. Bocanegra, capped a career with the Miami-Dade Police Department when he retired as a major and became an attorney in 2008. He says that his law-enforcement experience and his service as Miami Lakes’ former town manager will help him manage a courtroom, apply the law fairly and treat people with respect and dignity. He currently works, going against the grain, as an assistant public defender.
In the runoff for County Court Group 19, the Miami Herald recommends FRANK BOCANEGRA.