Early voting begins tomorrow for the city of South Miami. I support Mayor Philip Stoddard (for more, read our archive).
The 600 pound gorilla in the upcoming elections is Florida Power and Light. FPL is fighting a multi-year battle for two new nuclear reactors in South Dade. The intersection of voters' interest in South Miami involves the plan by FPL to put new overhead high voltage power lines through the city's corridor on US 1.
FPL is as politically sophisticated as any leviathan special interest. Based on Mayor Stoddard's past successes, FPL knows that any obvious investment in his opponents' campaigns would be counter productive. In other words, it is not immediately obvious what dark money is being thrown against Mayor Stoddard in this race.
Stoddard's main opponent, Valerie Newman, says that too much focus is being put on FPL. It is a sly way to suggest she would lift the pressure that Mayor Stoddard has kept on the leviathan. "It's time to talk about other issues", she says. In her view, South Miami should let its larger neighbors take the lead.
The fact is that Mayor Stoddard is the brightest, fact-based voice on issues related to FPL. It is rare -- and I cannot think of a single other instance -- where an elected official has challenged FPL as thoroughly and competently as Mayor Stoddard.
South Miami voters ought to send a clear message not just to FPL but also to the state of Florida by expressing confidence in another term for Mayor Stoddard. Let's not forget Mayor Stoddard needs a majority too on the city commission to keep the pressure on the 600 pound gorilla.