Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Popular South Miami mayor fights off negative campaign with big victory, commission majority remains committed to fighting FPL power lines over US 1 … by gimleteye

Incumbent South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard won reelection to a third term last night, with a galloping 62 percent of the popular vote. 1897 ballots were cast, representing 26 percent of eligible voters. Running for city commission, former mayor Horace Feliu -- a stand-in for Florida Power and Light -- lost to Walter Harris by a 20 point margin; the second time Feliu has been turned away by South Miami voters.

Municipal elections can be tricky for special interests like FPL. They can try to hide, through ECO's and PAC's, but when voters are made aware of the dark money and issues at work -- especially when that money is built around dirty tricks -- there is real jeopardy to their cause.

Stoddard, a biology professor at FIU, is particularly vexing because he has learned to navigate through the dirty tricks and has been able to reach voters even when the negative campaigning slipped beneath the mainstream media radar.

A new generation of elected officials for Miami and Miami-Dade can take hope from yesterday's results.

FPL is deeply involved in south Florida politics because a meaningful profit is derived from its plans to build new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point. Thanks to a sympathetic governor and legislature, FPL customers are paying a king's ransom in "early cost recovery" for the plants.

While top FPL executives might be disinclined to stir hornet's nests in local politics, having secured state capitols and Congress, at the local level middle rank executives and hired hands are judged by successes -- including smoothing the way for local permit and zoning decisions with "early cost recovery" money.

When winning is defined as gaining the slightest advantage in siting new utility infrastructure, no FPL manager wants to be a "loser". FPL would define its goals, predictably: we don't meddle, and our only interest is providing cheap, affordable and reliable electricity for consumers and businesses according to rules and regulations established by voters, through the state legislature and Congress.

Who has the hands on those rules and regulations is what matters. FPL is deeply engaged by the process of controlling its regulatory environment. Through this lens, for top executives living in Juno Beach a municipal election in South Miami is no big deal. But for voters who care and who are engaged by the process of establishing fairness and ethics in government -- and in power supply and its features like overhead high voltage power lines -- last night's victory was a pretty good one.

Here is a brief interview with Mayor Stoddard:

EOM: Mayor Stoddard, : congratulations. This was a difficult election. Tell us about it.

Mayor Stoddard: They called it a mudslide and our opponents brought the mud. They opened nasty on December 10th with the creation of “South Miami Citizens for Good Government”, a supposedly non-partisan 501(c)(4) organization that did nothing but complain and attempt to smear candidates on one side while holding up the others as paragons of virtue.

EOM: What kind of complaining?

Mayor Stoddard: The candidates supported by FPL’s associates whined the whole time about how they were unfairly tarred as being supporters of FPL.

EOM: And what else?

Mayor Stoddard: A new organization popped up just after the last campaign report deadline (evading the finance reporting requirement), and put out 8 nasty flyers in the last week, including one that targeted my family. My daughter and wife were very displeased, as were the voters of South Miami.

We saw campaign signs stolen by a candidate himself and reports are coming in of individuals attempting to collect absentee ballots.

EOM: What conclusions would you hope that voters draw from your victory?

Mayor Stoddard: South Miami voters have become too smart to fall for these tactics. We want a civil and gracious city. We believe it’s possible for city government to be both socially responsible and and fiscally responsible and to be responsive to the needs of the residents. Today South Miami voters said loud and clear:

1. Mean people suck.
2. FPL should stay the hell out of our elections.


Anonymous said...

The negative campaigning came back to bite those who participated in it on the butt. Well deserved.

Ross said...

Here is a case where an FPL PAC put almost $400,000 in a local election fighting a city council:

Anonymous said...

Great news --- maybe it heralds a new day

Unknown said...

Negative campaigning is the technique of big corporate money, and citizens (real people) should knee jerk against the negativity so that maybe they will take their billions and go home.

100panthers said...

Ross, nice post. Wow...'it takes real brass' to deny funding PACS (as FPL did in South Miami despite a clear money trail). FPL has the 'brass' of a monopolist.

Wonder of NextEra shareholders would approve of this conduct, if they knew?

Anonymous said...

Power to the people.

Anonymous said...

I think Anonymous’ post 'heralds a new day' is spot on!

Tip your hats to the citizens of South Miami! They have taken back their city and are remaking it into a GEM! ‘South Miami, where community talks and money walks!

In the past, with its corruption and cronyism, a vengeful abusive out of control Police Chief and bad City Manager, South Miami was a place I avoided. South Miami is now a place to be envied. I wish Coral Gables had a Mayor and as dedicated to quality of life-sustainability-walkability-transparency-community, backed by a Commission like South Miami’s Walter Harris, Bob Welsh and Gabe Edmond! (Josh Liebman will be gone soon. As a young ambitious self-promoting Commissioner, he sold out to the dark side and will be instantly isolated and soundly defeated in the next election).

A new era has arrived as seen in Stoddard's landslide mandate for ushering out the South Miami of the past.

South Miami is becoming a well run, walkable, sustainable city with a great to hang out downtown, Progressive, more transparent community. As this Stoddard driven voter supported transformation continues, property values will rise.

‘South Miami,where community talks and money walks”!

100panthers said...

Funny, reading today's South Miami election results, note how no troll posts like the many we got leading up to the election.

I guess the trolls are 'off the clock'. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mayor Stoddard. You deserve this ( I think). LOL. Round 2!

miaexile said...

please South Miami, share your secrets of getting the voters to elect real leaders and to shut down corruption with North Miami! we're in a deep pile of it up here.

Mayor Philip Stoddard said...

I think I deserved time off for good behavior, but I am honored to serve the community for a third term. Winning by such a large margin sets the level of expectation very high. I thank everyone for their support and look forward to our continued partnership in good governance and stewardship over the public trust for the next two years.

Anonymous said...

You are cheering that Stoddard won. Those of us in South Miami are cheering that that witch Newman is gone, hopefully forever!

J said...

Hail to Stoddard! The Wicked Witch is dead!

Ross said...

I wish FPL would stop wasting money losing elections and make some darn solar power.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mayor Stoddard. You kicked butt.

Anonymous said...

Hey, would somebody tell Bicycle Bob when and where the next NextEra stock holders meeting and I will take my sign there and picket them . 3056674176 Thanks, the Guy on the Bicycle..

Anonymous said...

Words of the Defeated

Bye, bye folks! Bye, bye nastiness.
Hello emptiness,
I think I'm gonna cry.

Bye, bye tree town
Bye, bye.

There goes my seat
To someone who
Knows full well
Just what to do.

I’m through with ranting.
I’m through with luck.
I’m though with counting
The greedy buck.
[or The slipp’ry buck, or the bully’s buck]

I’m through with power
I’m through with light
I’ll reconsider if
Might makes right.

And there's a reason
Why I'm so blue
There go my chances
Out with the flu.

It was my dream
Till he rolled through.
There goes my stage
What will I do?

Bye, bye rage
Bye, bye exploding.
Hello behaving
Like an adult sage.

Bye, bye my rage
Good bye.

And there’s a reason
Why I’m so free
I’ve been defeated
By one to three.

Anonymous said...


South Miami Mayor Stoddard violates the City's Charter...AGAIN AND AGAIN
City of South Miami Commission meeting
April 1, 2014 Public Remarks:
"Now just one general item of note um our code of ordinances allows residents of the city and taxpayers of the city to speak at our commission meetings anybody else who speaks is by permission of the chair uh and so please note that for the future" City of South Miami Mayor Philip K Stoddard

"Point of Order the city charter bill of rights states everybody has a right to be heard and that my friend was stated by Joe Centurino at the ethics committee meeting" Miami Dade County Resident (takes the floor by point of order according to roberts rules of order updated)

"Please sit" (interrupting speaker's point of order) City of South Miami Mayor Philip K Stoddard

"held here" Miami Dade County Resident

"You Don't have the floor please" City of South Miami Mayor Philip K Stoddard
(microphone turned off at the podium) by City of South Miami Mayor Philip K Stoddard??

"Its by code of ordinances" City of South Miami Mayor Philip K Stoddard

"Yes Excuse me" City of South Miami Mayor Philip K Stoddard

5. Right to be heard. So far as the orderly conduct of public business permits, any interested person has the right to appear before the Commission or any municipal Board or... Charter of The City of South Miami Amended 2/11/14 Page 5 of 39

agency, or department for the presentation, adjustment or determination of an issue, request or controversy within the jurisdiction of the governmental entity involved. Matters shall be scheduled for the convenience of the public, and the agenda shall be divided into approximate time periods so that the public may know approximately when a matter will be heard. Nothing herein shall prohibit any governmental entity or agency from imposing reasonable time limits for the presentation of a matter.
Charter of The City of South Miami Amended 2/11/14 Page 6 of 39

2. Truth in government. No County or municipal official or employee shall knowingly furnish false information on any public matter, nor knowingly omit significant facts when giving requested information to members of the public.
Charter of The City of South Miami Amended 2/11/14 Page 5 of 39

A. Forfeiture of Office. A Commissioner shall forfeit office if he or she (1) lacks at any time during his or her term of office any qualification for the office prescribed by this Charter or by the General Laws of the State of Florida, (2) willfully and intentionally violates any express prohibition of this Charter, Grounds for forfeiture for (1) and (2) will be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Charter of The City of South Miami
Amended 2/11/14
Page 10 of 39