MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) -Miami Dade County Commissioners reacted coolly Monday to the latest demand by auto tycoon and newly crowned political power broker Norman Braman. On Friday, Braman sent a scathing letter to county commissioners, chastising them for their plan to place on the May 24 special election ballot a series of charter reforms that Braman opposes.
“I believe the people of Miami-Dade County are tired of Commissioners who are not accountable to their constituents, are tired of being ignored, are tired of slush funds, mismanagement and corruption, and are tired of business as usual,” Braman wrote.
The two items of particular concern for Braman were the charter questions would grant them a salary while setting term limits of twelve years – instead of the eight that Braman and others had demanded – and a move by commissioners to abolish the strong mayor form of government.
“The Commission’s Resolutions do not affect the real reform demanded by the People,” Braman wrote. “They amount to nothing more than a power and money grab by this commission.”
In an interview on Monday with CBS4’s Jim DeFede, Braman stood by his letter.
“The public officials don’t give a damn about the people who live in this community,” Braman said, “and we’ve taken it for granted for too long.”
Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, who is running for county mayor, tried Monday to pull the measures from the May 24 ballot. But he was blocked by his fellow commissioners. Gimenez, who is careful not to anger the public who views Braman as a hero, said he took Braman’s letter seriously – especially regarding the threat to recall more of them.
“He’s obviously a man of his word and when he says he’s going to do something he’s going to do something,” Gimenez said.
Commissioners Pepe Diaz and Sally Heyman both said Monday they respect Braman’s right to do what he is doing – they question the manner in which he is doing it.
“I think that it is offensive,” Diaz said. “You’re saying you are the people. That’s what I’m feeling offended by.”
DeFede asked Diaz: “Will the commission accede to Braman’s demand to pull those [charter items] off the ballot?”
“The people whose demand I accede to are the ones who put me in office,” Diaz responded.
Heyman said she was not going to succumb to Braman’s threats about recalling her.
“You know something, that is an option he has,” Heyman said. “And I am going to maintain my integrity and remember I represent all the people.”