Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava upsets an incumbent county commissioner … by gimleteye

At the Victory Party: Soon to be Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava with  Mayor Cindy Lerner
In Florida's most populous county, one has to search a long, long time ago to find a challenger who defeated an incumbent county commissioner free from criminal indictment or scandal. So congratulations to Daniella Levine Cava: this is an historic moment and breathes hope into Miami-Dade politics and that is a big deal for Florida, too. And because it's Florida, that is a big deal for the nation. That's one reason so much money was poured into the incumbent's campaign, making this the most expensive county commission race in history.

The hard fought win is a victory against the permanent incumbency and by extension the unreformable majority of the Miami-Dade county commission. The Miami Herald misses the point in its headlining the election as a rare show of partisan politics. The organized special interests -- rock miners, FPL, big farmers, developers, lawyers, lobbyists and contractors who rely on county business -- aren't used to losing. (A few did contribute individually to Levine Cava, to hedge their bets.)

In other commission districts where informed citizens despair, Levine Cava's victory shows it IS possible to beat the machine. There is a recipe for success: a credible candidate who represents the public interest and not insiders, a candidate willing to walk every block of their district, a candidate smart enough to draw volunteers in a rational, orderly way and a way to raise enough money to be competitive.

Bell supporters are sore this morning at their narrow defeat. She skulked off without even addressing them last night. But in truth, Levine Cava would have won by double digits but for Bell's decision to bet her entire campaign on a bald faced lie. In terms of dirty politics, Bell's investment in tying her opponent to the highly unpopular deal for the Marlins Stadium ranks at the top. Although the Marlins' deal was highly unpopular, not a single incumbent county commissioner who voted for it has been held accountable at the polls.

One has to stand back and appreciate the audacity of campaign advisors who supported Bell AND the Marlins Stadium: Bell's team knew Levine Cava was strong and authentic and they needed a strong poison to undermine her appeal.

Throughout the campaign, and especially in the final weeks, Bell stuck to the script, she repeated the lie, and invested nearly a million dollars from her contributors to propagate it on television and in serial mailers to district voters.

In a low turnout election, the strategy very nearly worked. Levine Cava was caught off guard. And this is another lesson for prospective challengers: whatever lie the professionals can make stick, they will use it. Every moment Levine Cava spent on defending herself against their poison raised doubts among the uninformed about the key part of her campaign: giving citizens an honest voice on the county commission.

Had Bell lost while running an honest campaign, she might be able to count on a political future. But she didn't and she can't.

Who are the winners and losers? It is a good day for Good Government, for former county commissioner Katy Sorenson who supported Levine Cava quietly at first but increasingly visible in the final weeks, and for Cindy Lerner, mayor of Pinecrest, a smiling, optimistic and battle-scarred survivor of Florida's slash and burn politics. Today will be a very low day for any of the campaign advisors and lobbyists who supported Bell.

From the very start of Levine Cava's campaign, political insiders handicapping the importance of the race understood that District 8 -- because it encompasses the last developable farmland in the county -- was going to be hotly contested but also with the caveat: it is only one of thirteen county commission seats. Some constituencies -- like environmentalists who bore the brunt of Bell's antipathy -- feared supporting Levine Cava because there is still the unreformable majority to "persuade" on critical zoning issues. Some feared retribution and some, perhaps, recall that former county commissioner Katy Sorenson -- when she held the District 8 seat -- was the lone voice of reason on many losing votes. For those doubters, today is a reprieve.

Congratulations to the voters of District 8, and to the supporters, volunteers, and to Daniella Levine Cava.

Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and (I am not sure). It will be a very different County Commission now.
Victory Party
Victory Pary
Daniella Supporters Lois Jones and Rosemary Fuller
Lynda Bell Earlier in the day with Miguel Diaz de la Portilla

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Money didn't buy the District 8 election. By Geniusofdespair

Daniella Levine is the new county commissioner in district 8!

With all 83 precincts in, Lynda Bell had 8,351votes  and Daniella Levine Cava 9,031 votes.

The 2014 District 8 race blow by blow. By Geniusofdespair

It is 10pm still up in the air....Bell has 47.91% and Levine Cava has 52.09. I give it to Levine Cava becauSe my battery is dead!!!

Daniella Levine Cava and her son yesterday.
10:50am: I am getting a late start but I will be reporting all day....when I finally get there.

12:45pm: No one from staff is talking at Daniella Levine Cava headquarters. Only one brave soul let me take his picture.

1:00pm: Daniella Levine Cava said she was cautiously optimistic.  The top 25 districts are having good turnout but she's not making any predictions till the end of the day.

Linda Bell has poll workers in T-shirts insinuating that the police support her and visa versa. Daniella is endorsed by the police.

1:40pm Pouring rain.

 2:00pm sunny here at Coral Reef  library. A fire fighter told me John Rivera got rid of all the phony black t shirts--- impersonating a police officer. The police endorsed Daniella Levine Cava. Actually Rivera just asked them if they were police officers and the next thing he knew they were gone.

People are voting here. 2:23pm: 60 people. This is a busy precinct too.

3:20 pm in the last District 8 election 43,212 people voted (but remember in 2010 it was a runoff for in November in a Governor race year, so more people votes). There are about 57 precincts. As of yesterday about 121,000 people voted absentee and early voting in the entire county.

Feller community room at the Palmetto Bay Library 3:40 pm.  The guy out front estimates about 70 people voted at most.

4:00pm  Centennial Middle School - the estimate here is 60 voters by the guard and someone here since 7.
4:17 Whigham Elementary- wouldn't tell me an estimate --- booo oh now I got it 30 to 60.

5:00 Got in trouble for peeing in Cutler Bay at a precinct. It is so unfair not being allowed to pee. I am not even working on a campaign. I had my nifty Colorado shirt on -- not even the one that says Rocky Mountain High. It is a national Park T Shirt. Anyway campaign workers dropped off are left with bushes sometimes if they are there all day.

5:46 St. Richards Parish, Palmetto Bay. 300 voted. Lynda Bell called me pure Venom, at least I am pure.

7:24 pm Lynda Bell is winning in absentee ballots: 3,596 to Daniella's 3,068. At the Feller Community center Lynda Bell got 99 and Levine Cava got 93. Early voting Bell got 1,418 to Levine Cava's 2,313. Without today's vote Daniella is winning 5,393 to 5,014....51.82% to 48.18%. Lynda Bell got 54 to Daniella's 91 at Coral Reef Park. St. Richards Paalmetto Bay Lynda Bell 36 Daniella Levine Cava 53. Coral Reef Library 40 Lynda 38 Daniella. Methodist church 81 Danniella to 58 Lynda. Perrine Peters.

I am at Daniella's victory party 9:26pm. No victory yet but Daniella is ahead.

County Commission District 8

Voter turnout seems low. Get out to VOTE. Lynda Bell cheater T-shirt. Daniella Levine Cava is supported by police, doesn't keep LB from trying.

These photos are coupled with the blog above.

Great Tampa Bay Times OPED to remind us, what we are voting for (and against) … by gimleteye

And thankful the Tampa Bay Times offers free web access to all its content, unlike the Miami Herald …
Stacked Deck On Florida Water Policy, Tampa Bay Times OPED

Florida's Republican leaders have said little about their secret trips to Big Sugar's leased hunting ranch in Texas, but their record of selling out the public interest says plenty about the impact this incestuous relationship could have on state water policy. Their low regard for clean water, cozy dealings with the agriculture industry and consistent refusal to hold polluters accountable makes it difficult to envision a fair debate over how to manage the state's precious natural resource. If the Legislature really plans to focus on water policy next year, the deck should not be stacked in favor of big agricultural interests and against everyone else.

A Tampa Bay Times examination of secret trips by Republican lawmakers to King Ranch in Texas that were orchestrated and at least partially financed by U.S. Sugar shows everything that's wrong with the money-laundering that passes for legal campaign financing today. Gov. Rick Scott, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, House Speaker Will Weatherford and the incoming speaker, Steve Crisafulli, have all confirmed they visited the ranch. None would say who joined them on the trips or what topics were discussed, claiming amnesia or refusing outright to answer.

Now vote … by gimleteye

Today is the Election Day … please take time from your job, your schedule, your preoccupations. Demonstrate that in his mid-term primary, late August election how much your vote means to you and our democracy. Pass the word …

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tomorrow District 8 Election. By Geniusofdespair

Tomorrow I will be reporting from out in the field....a blow by blow of the Miami Dade district 8 election with the results posted as soon as they are available. The absentee and early voting results are about 7 to 7:30 pm.  The election day results are usually released about 9:30.

A vote for Daniella Levine Cava is a vote for Miami Dade County. Guest Blog by Cindy Lerner

Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner

A vote for South Miami Dade

My first elective office was in 2000 as a state representative for ( the old) House District 119 which everything covered east of US 1 from Dadeland to Homestead. It was a wonderful district, which included much of the current County commission District 8. Even now as an Mayor of Pinecrest, I continue to have a broader South Dade perspective when it comes to state or county matters, and have been tremendously disappointed by the record of Commissioner Lynda Bell. She has been absent and unproductive in her role as a South Dade leader. So when Daniella Levine Cava decided to run for the District 8 Commission seat, I was thrilled. I first met Daniella in 1985 when we worked together at the Guardian Ad Litem Program in Juvenile court.

 Over the past almost 30 years, we have worked together on many other initiatives, and there isn't a better, smarter , more caring and committed advocate in this county than Daniella. Daniella brought many new community initiatives to address housing needs, access to healthcare, Increasing economic opportunity and growing jobs through her work with the organization she founded almost 20 years ago, Catalyst Miami. She is a tireless fighter for advancing quality of life issues. One of my fondest memories is when we coordinated a " Piece of the Pie " campaign before the county commission, many years ago, urging the county to provide the critically needed resources to the social service community, the non profits tasked with assisting vulnerable populations including much of South dade. Daniella has been an effective and articulate advocate for bringing attention to community needs for thirty years. Her reputation throughout Miami Dade County is stellar as a spokesperson for community needs, and as a visionary problem solver. That is exactly what has been missing from representation for District 8 ever since Katy Sorenson retired.

As long as Commissioner Sorenson was the Commissioner for District 8, she was a fierce advocate for all of south Miami Dade and she worked well with all the cities, and with the other community leaders and unincorporated activists. Since she retired and Lynda Bell became the commissioner, District 8 has been ignored. The commissioner is absent on all of the issues important to South Miami Dade. The proposed US 1 Busway conversion to express lanes, with a roller coaster or second story express lane generates tremendous opposition and every time there are public meetings on this issue, there is never any presence by commissioner Bell or anyone from her office. The FPL transmission lines is another issue with tremendous public opposition, and includes neighborhoods west of US 1 in District 8. Yet Commissioner Bell has been completely absent. The South Dade Economic Development Council , a critical job development organization for often ignored area of the county has lost almost all of its county funds in the past several years , under Bells lack of leadership. As a member of their advisory board, I have been alarmed at the loss of county support and potential that this organization will have to close its doors. In the past year alone, a county allocation of $75,000 was reduced to $5,000. How could the Commissioner for District 8 allow that to occur?

Daniella has proven her credentials over the past 30 years fighting for a better quality of life for everyone. That is exactly what the South Dade Community is desperate for. Someone who will focus on them and their needs, who commands tremendous respect from business and community leaders and who will be there on the ground for all of her district and will fight for South Dade.

Cindy Lerner

Collapse of print news … by gimleteye

The website Medium publishes: "Last Call: The End of the Printed Newspaper".

Back in 2007, when Eye On Miami began its daily blogging quest, we had in mind to challenge the Miami Herald's tepid coverage of local and state news. The city's only daily newspaper made us angry: there was so much to report that never saw the light of day.

Who can argue, though, that a newspaper is a business and a business has to turn a profit to succeed? On the other hand, the idea of newspaper publishers making tidy fortunes while reporters and other staff struggled to make ends meet … what values are upheld by that equation?

"It’s tempting to try to find a moral dimension to newspapers’ collapse, but there isn’t one. All that’s happened is advertisers are leaving, classifieds first, inserts last. Business is business; the advertisers never had a stake in keeping the newsroom open in the first place. This disconnection between the business side and the news side was celebrated as a benefit, right up to the moment it became an industry-wide point of failure."

Yes it is tempting to find a moral dimension in the collapse of newspapers. Civil society and, arguably, democracy depends on an educated electorate. The demise of print journalism and the difficulty of maintaining web based sources of news speaks to the state of the union.

Miami Voters: Your civic duty is to vote "NO" to the 1000' Nail Clipper Building … by gimleteye

Please. Miami Voters: on Tuesday do a solid for the rest of us in Miami-Dade. Vote no to the proposal to take money in return for turning our waterfront into a vanity display 1000' tall.