Here's some good news: last night Philip Stoddard won the election for mayor of South Miami. Stoddard emerged as a political newcomer on a platform opposing the tactics of Florida Power and Light to site new high voltage power lines along the US 1 corridor that we've written about at length, on Eyeonmiami.
G.O.D.'s pickup the other day, continues to rankle. Miami-Dade County Commissioners want to tweak their slush funds after they were partially eliminated in this year's budget. Each of the thirteen county commissioners have enjoyed access to a personal stash of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money to dole out each year. Many small groups have come to depend on this money, especially in the current economic crisis when private contributions are lagging. During 2009 hearings on the budget, one of the places Mayor Carlos Alvarez sought to trim fat was this perk of public office. The outcry from small groups that have benefited from the handouts was large. Many of those groups are non-profits. Contributions to IRS qualified non-profits are tax deductible. Whether or not, in future budget years, the personal stash will be maintained in the county budget, county commissioners led by quasi-intellectual Pepe Diaz struck out in a new direction the other day. Diaz' ally Joe Martinez was doing business off the dais when the issue came up. Joe had to do a quick back-pedal when he returned to keep this measure on life support, it would have died otherwise for lack of a second: "WHEREAS, this Board wishes to provide each commissioner the ability to establish a trust fund for the collection of tax-deductible private sector contributions for such public purpose projects in the commissioner’s district".
Understand that private sector interests can make tax deductible contributions whenever and to whoever they want. So why put elected officials in the position of being middlemen? Because that is exactly where they want to be. It's just another way to anchor the political patronage that secures a permanent incumbency at County Hall. Also, we know from experience that some of our county commissioners have jobs, no-show as the case may be, with non-profits. Draw your own conclusions.