MIAMI (CBS4) -The clock is ticking. Miami-Dade commissioners have to order a recall election within 90 days to decide the political fate of Mayor Carlos Alvarez. That move is triggered by word today that a recall petition effort backed by auto tycoon Norman Braman easily cleared the hurdle it faced and will now move forward.
Nearly twice the number of recall petitions needed have been certified. The Miami-Dade clerk’s office made that announcement Tuesday. It took just 29 working days to organize, computerize and match those petitions against the elections department database.
Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin told CBS4′s Michael Williams, “I am confident the process was done in a careful, professional manner and our result can be certified today.”
Braman was angered over Mayor Alvarez’s backing of a property tax rate hike mostly affecting those with longstanding homestead exemptions. So Braman organized and financed the collection of 114,000 voter recall signatures. More than 95,000 of those signatures are now validated. The ones tossed out largely involved people not registered to vote in Miami-Dade. The numbers easily eclipse the 52,000 valid voter signatures needed to spur a countywide recall election that must now be set within 90 days.
Braman said Tuesday, “I think he (Alvarez) owes the people of this community the right to say yes or no as far as his performance. I think we are going to expect the mayor to do everything he possibly can to deprive voters of that opportunity.”
Mayor Alvarez only hinted at the possible legal challenges ahead. He released a statement that said, in part, “I will continue to lead during challenging times with integrity, sincerity and a commitment to public service. We are analyzing the data and will continue reviewing the legitimacy of the (recall) certification process.”
There is word of a call for a special commission meeting December 29th—an effort to gather at least seven Miami-Dade commissioners over the holiday break to set the date for a recall election, one aimed squarely at a once popular mayor now in the fight of his political life.
Mayor Alvarez released this statement about the petition certification just before noon on Tuesday: “I will continue to lead during challenging times with integrity, sincerity and a commitment to public service. We are analyzing the data and will continue reviewing the legitimacy of the certification process. I remain focused on the job I was elected to do – ensuring the safety of our residents, providing quality programs and services and making strategic investments that position our community for the future.”