Editorials

Elections on the local front

Republican Carlos Curbelo was among the big winners in Miami-Dade, defeating Joe Garcia to represent Congressional District 26.
Republican Carlos Curbelo was among the big winners in Miami-Dade, defeating Joe Garcia to represent Congressional District 26. MIAMI HERALD

Tuesday’s election results will affect all of Florida, but also life for Miami-Dade residents.

Local voters elected a new congressman and property appraiser; kept all incumbent legislators and rejected spending millions for a new courthouse — keeping alive a problem for taxpayers. Here’s what voters did:

Congressional District 26: There’s a new South Florida representative on the Washington stage. The scandal-prone district is now represented by Republican Carlos Curbelo, who defeated Democrat Joe Garcia.

In the throes of defeat, Mr. Garcia blamed “outside money” that supported Mr. Curbelo and a national “Republican voting bent.” The shadow of an absentee-ballot scandal in Mr. Garcia’s camp didn’t help his campaign, either.

Amendment 2: Florida voters snuffed out the push to legalize medical-marijuana, although the amendment did well in Miami-Dade, with 57 percent of the voters approving it.

For the infirm hoping for relief from their pain, its defeat is terrible news. As for those who hoped to abuse the amendment’s looser strictures, the fear of their actions, portrayed in effective TV ads, was largely to blame for the measure’s defeat.

Supporters have already announced they’ll bring the initiative back in 2016. Tuesday, the measure garnered 58 percent of the 60 percent approval needed for an amendment to pass. Proponents see those results as a mandate — as should legislators. The only reason medical marijuana was proposed for the state Constitution — where it definitely doesn’t belong — is because lawmakers refused to address the issue.

Property appraiser: Pedro J. Garcia, the county’s first elected property appraiser, lost his seat in 2012. He got a mulligan and reclaimed his seat Tuesday. During his candidate interview with the Editorial Board, Mr. Garcia vowed that he would improve “customer service” in his office. He should keep that promise. Given that he has been criticized for failing to crack down on homestead-exemption fraud and not including foreclosures in the valuation of homes, he’ll need to step up his game now that voters have given him a second chance.

Florida Legislature: All incumbent Florida legislators retained their seats. The strongest challenge to an incumbent came in District 112, where newcomer Republican Daniel Diaz Leyva lost by 641 votes to Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez.

FIU expansion: Florida International University persuaded voters to let it expand onto 64 acres of the adjacent Youth Fair grounds. Wednesday, FIU President Mark Rosenberg stood outside the Mitch Maidique campus, waving a sign, thanking motorists for their votes. Nice touch. But that’s only the first phase of the effort. Nothing happens for a couple of years: The Youth Fair must first find a new home with the county’s help, a process Miami-Dade should help go as smoothly as possible, given the goodwill that the Fair has engendered for decades.

Courthouse bond: Voters rejected a measure to fund a new civil courthouse: It died a hard death, with almost two-thirds of voters saying No. Thursday, Bertila Soto, chief judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit, will hold news conference to discuss the next steps in the effort. Supporters have to come up with a detailed course of action that considers all options.

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