Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Carlos-O-Meter

Make recall process easier


Repeal any current non-charter restriction governing recall process and force any future restriction to be approved by voters.


Updates

Voters approve charter change related to petitions

A small group of Miami-Dade voters who turned out for the Jan. 31, 2012, presidential preference primary voted in favor of changing the process to recall county commissioners.

The measure allowed for more time to circulate recall petitions. It also allowed for votes on recall measures to be held on regular election days.

Here's the official ballot language: "Shall the Charter be amended to increase from 60 to 120 days the time allowed to circulate initiatory petitions, and to provide that elections to amend the Charter, either through initiatory petitions or by Board action, be held in conjunction with the next scheduled General Election rather than within 60 to 120 days, as currently required?”

Voters approved the measure 58-42 percent.

The purpose of extending the time to collect signatures is to make it easier to gather the required amount: 10 percent of registered voters. Placing charter questions on a general election ballot would likely draw more voters.

As we've noted in previous updates, wealthy businessman Norman Braman wrote an eight-point plan calling for reform to the recall process, and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed onto that plan when he campaigned in 2011.

But the ballot question didn't fully accomplish his goals, Braman told PolitiFact.

Groups or individuals collecting signatures for a recall still must get the signatures notarized and can only have one signature per page, said Braman, who orchestrated the recall of Mayor Carlos Alvarez in 2011. Those are obstacles to the recall process -- particularly for those who aren't wealthy, according to Braman.

"It's window dressing,” he said. "It's a very tiny step -- not a material one.”

County spokeswoman Suzy Trutie confirmed that signatures require notarization and must be one per page.

A group or individual submitting signatures must pay 10 cents for each signature collected and submitted for validation by the Clerk's Office. (For more information see the county's charter.)

But the ballot measure's success isn't meaningless. That extra time will help Miami Voice collect signatures to place a question on the ballot about term limits in November. On Jan. 31, voters rejected term limits which were coupled with a massive salary increase for commissioners.

It's unclear when -- if ever -- another question will make it to the ballot to make the recall process easier, but the Jan. 31 vote was a first step. We rate this promise In the Works.

Sources:

Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections, Sample Ballot, Jan. 31, 2012 election

Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections, Election results, Jan. 31, 2012

Miami-Dade County, Charter, As amended through Nov. 2, 2010

Norman Braman, A covenant with the people of Miami-Dade County for reform of county government, April 1 2011

Miami Herald, "Charter reforms may come from residents," Feb. 1, 2012

Miami Herald,"Miami-Dade voters reject term limits, salary hike for commissioners," Jan. 29, 2012

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade voters to weigh in on charter reform,” Jan. 14, 2012

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade voters will decide on term limits, pay increases for county commissioners," Nov. 3, 2011

Miami Herald"s Naked Politics blog, "Miami-Dade mayoral candidates back reforms,” March 21, 2011

PolitiFact, "Miami-Dade commissioners vote to place term limits on the ballot,” Nov. 8, 2011

Miami-Dade County Commission, Draft of meeting minutes, Nov. 3, 2011

Interview, Norman Braman, Feb. 1, 2012

Miami-Dade to hold election on charter reform

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez owes his seat to the historic 2011 recall of his predecessor Carlos Alvarez amid voters' fury about county spending.

During the campaign, Gimenez said that the recall process should be easier. Wealthy businessman Norman Braman, the man behind the Alvarez recall, wrote an eight-point plan calling for reform in 2011. Gimenez signed that plan in March 2011 while campaigning for mayor.

One point in the plan stated: "restore accountability by repealing any non-charter restriction on the people's right to petition their government for change or to recall a politician; and to require any proposed future restriction to be voted upon by the people of Miami-Dade County and to be enshrined in the county charter.” We boiled that down to mean that Gimenez was promising to make the recall process easier.

In November, Miami-Dade County Commissioners agreed to place a question on the Jan. 31, 2012, ballot (coinciding with the Republican presidential primary) that asks voters the following question: "Shall the Charter be amended to increase from 60 to 120 days the time allowed to circulate initiatory petitions, and to provide that elections to amend the Charter, either through initiatory petitions or by Board action, be held in conjunction with the next scheduled General Election rather than within 60 to 120 days, as currently required?”

The purpose of extending the time to collect signatures is to make it easier to gather the required amount: 10 percent of registered voters. Placing charter questions on a general election ballot would likely draw more voters.

We will have to see how voters respond but for now we rate this In the Works. 

Sources:

Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections, Sample Ballot, Jan. 31, 2012 election

Norman Braman, A covenant with the people of Miami-Dade County for reform of county government, April 1 2011

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade voters to weigh in on charter reform,” Jan. 14, 2012

Miami Herald"s Naked Politics blog, "Miami-Dade mayoral candidates back reforms,” March 21, 2011

PolitiFact, "Miami-Dade commissioners vote to place term limits on the ballot,” Nov. 8, 2011