MIAMI (CBS4) – A steady stream of voters cast ballots at select polling stations Monday as early voting got underway for Miami-Dade’s May 24th Special Election to choose a new Mayor, two Commissioners and decide on several proposed county charter amendments.

Both the mayor’s position and the District 13 commission seat were left vacant after a March 15 recall election in which 88 percent of those who voted said then Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natcha Seijas should be removed from office. Commissioner Carlos Gimenez’s District 7 seat out up for grabs when he resigned to run for the open Mayor’s seat.

“These are very important elections,” said Miami-Dade County Elections Supervisor Lester Solas. “Local government is the closest government to the people. It affects your everyday life, so it’s important that people understand the issues.”

Special Election Ballot

And it turns out voters are heeding that message.

“There is budgets, there is unions, there is a lot of issues to be resolved,” said voter Claudia Donadio.

Polls will be open at 7a at a select number of polling locations for early voting.

Click Here to see a list of polling locations.

Those vying for the Mayor’s job include:

  • County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez
  • Gabrielle Redfern
  • Former state Rep. Marcelo Llorente
  • Former county transit director Roosevelt Bradley
  • Economist Dr. Farid A Khavari
  • Fireman turned community activist Jeffrey Lampert
  • Businessman Jose ‘Pepe’ Cancio
  • Former 2 Live Crew front man Luther Campbell
  • Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina
  • Eddie Lewis
  • Wilbur B. Bell

Robaina resigned his position as mayor of Hialeah to run for the mayor’s office.

Waiting in line Monday to cast her ballot, Donadio said she know who she’s going to vote for to be the next mayor.

“He’s one of the best, he’s qualified to do the job because everyone else will be worrying about the election in 2012, he wants to clean house,” Donadio.

“I’m surprised there are so many,“ said Barbara Hujber after looking at the names on ballot. “There is not that much written on them.”

Ana Casa said while there may be almost a dozen candidates on the ballot, the one thing she is looking for the most is the person who will offer the most change.

“A fresh honest change that will bring work and not this disarray of things that are going on of taxes,” said Casas, “Luxury cars, this is not the time.”

In addition to the mayoral election, there are also to commission seats up for grabs.

In commission district 7, vacated by Gimenez, the candidates are:

  • Former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez
  • Former State Representatine Julio Robaina

In district 13, the candidates are:

  • Carlos Amaro,
  • Esteban Bovo,
  • Tania Castellanos
  • Alan Rigerman

There is also a special election to replace Bovo, who resigned his House district 110 position to run for the District 13 seat.

  • Frank Lago
  • Jose Oliva
  • Rafael Perez

When it comes to the charter amendments, voters will have to decide if their commissioners should be paid more than a token salary.

Charter Amendment 1 would give commissions a salary of more than $92 thousand, currently they receive a token salary of $6 thousand a year. The measure would also forbid commissioners from having any outside employment, and would establish a term limit of 12 years in office.

Charter Amendment Number 2 would bar county commissioners from lobbying the county for two years after leaving office.

Charter Amendment 3, would establish that a charter review task force would meet every four years. The task force would suggest future revisions to the charter.
If two-thirds of the task force agrees on an item, then it would automatically be placed on the next ballot for voters to either approve or reject.

Charter Amendment 4 would enshrine the office of the Inspector General in the charter, making it harder for future commissions to do away with the watchdog agency.

Charter Amendment 5 would do away with the county’s strong mayor form of government. Commissioners are hoping to take advantage of the anger and frustration voters felt at former Mayor Carlos Alvarez and do away with his administrative power. Critics argue this is nothing but a naked power grab by county commissioners.

The final charter proposal would do away with the requirement that the folks gathering signatures for petitions and referendums provide sworn affidavits with every petition.

Check out the Election Guide for more on the candidates and the amendments.

“These are very important elections,” said Lester Solas, Supervisor of Miami-Dade’s Elections Department.  “Local government is the closest government to the people, it affects your
everyday life, so it’s important that people understand the issues.”

Solas added that its difficult to say just how many people will go to the polls in this special election.

“It’s difficult to tell but usually on special elections you’re looking at anywhere from 15 to 20 percent but it’s still too early to tell,” said Solas.

Comments (11)
  1. lmmd says:

    Vote NO on all charter amendments! Each and every amendment proposed has major flaws that are not apparent. initially – just vote NO on all of them

  2. Luis Bonilla says:

    be smart dont elect a cuban.

    1. Me says:

      I agree, but isn’t everyone running Cuban? Sadly, I don’t think anyone will ever get elected in Miami Dade again that is not Cuban. It’s forever going to be a loop of corrupt Cuban politicians.

    2. GAIN AND AGAIN says:


      HE IS also not invited to CANDIDATES forums. BECAUSE



      A very WISE MAN —-not a Cuban!!!!!!

      He was my candidate for FLORIDA Governor, &
      IS MY CANDIDATE FOR Miami-Dade Mayor!!!

      VOTE for DR. FARID A KHAVARI !!!!

  3. COCHA-KI says:


  4. bobobobo says:

    please get your facts straight
    As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 2,253,362 people, 776,774 households, and 548,402 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,158 people per square mile (447/km2). There were 852,278 housing units at an average density of 438 per square mile (169/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 69.7% White (20.7% Non-Hispanic White),[17] 20.3% African American and Black (with a large part being of Caribbean descent), 0.20% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 4.60% from other races, and 3.80% from two or more races. 57.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In relation to ancestry (excluding the various Hispanic and Latino ancestries), 5% were Haitian, 5% American, 2% Italian, 2% Jamaican, 2% German, 2% Irish, and 2% English ancestry.[18]

    1,147,765 of Miami-Dade residents, or 50.9 percent of the total population, were foreign-born, a percentage greater than that of any other county in the United States. 47% of the foreign-born population were naturalized U.S. citizens.[18][19] Among the foreign-born population, the most common countries of origin were Cuba (42%), Nicaragua (16%), Colombia (6%), Haiti (6%), the Dominican Republic (3%), and Jamaica (3%).[18]

  5. boooooooooooooooo says:

    me 90 % of the county of Miami Dade is not Cuban if it was we would be in Cuban it self

    1. GAIN AND AGEIN says:

      Shows your IGNORANCE along with YOUR ARROGANCE…


    2. Marty says:

      HAHAHAHAH.. either you don’t live here in Miami, or you’re just plain stupid. Miami is so cuban they might as well call it COOBA #2.

  6. 150,000 Jobs says:

    That is all fine, but if that is the way this election is going to go, why didn’t we just leave Alvarez ? I voted him out because I want someone that could and would work toward a strong economy.

    The best choice that I see and the only candidate that sounds like he even knows what to do is Dr Khavari – I got the following from his website which is packed with information, so you really can tell what this guy is about and his early life was much like that of a Cuban born.

    Miami Dade Citizen’s Bank

    Picture the blood circulating within the human body as the money circulating within the local economy, if that circulating system stalled or if the system was bled away, the body could not grow and would eventually die.

    When we pay interest on debt, that money most often leaves the community and many times even leaves the economy. As it is bled away the local economy weakens. We need to be in control of this circulation system and we need local benefit from the profits of the interest that we pay!

    Even with charging lower interest rates, these profits can stimulate job growth and eliminate the need for property taxes.

    One way to stimulate job growth is to create demand and one way to do that is to promote the converting of government, business and residential buildings to sustainable – de-centralized energy systems like solar & wind by offering low interest energy loans to purchase & install equipment. Once installed the payment on the energy lconverstion loan would be less than the cost of conventional energy bills. Allowing savings now, protection from rising energy costs and in a few years when the equipment has been paid off enrgy would be nearly free. THAT IS BIG SAVINGS!

    Converting 100’s of thousands buildings would create jobs in most all private sector occupations including manufacturing, installation, electrical, plumbing, shipping, legal, architectural, engineering, sales, banking, real-estate, hardware and accounting just to name a few.

    And Miami-Dade residents would be releasing themselves from the death grip of rising energy costs, cutting dependence from foriegn oil and would be improving the environment.

    And this is just one initiative. Increasing jobs, increases commerce, which increases jobs and so forth.

    Savings from eliminated Property taxes, reduced Interest payments and reduced Energy (PIE Costs) not only leaves more money in everyone’s pocket to further stimulate commerce, it also reduces the costs of products and services because PIE Costs are included into the price of everything we purchase.

    This in turn leaves even more money in our pockets to further stimulate commerce and to create savings. This in turn creates even more jobs.

    My plan involves measures where good promotes more good, instead of the current method where bad promotes more bad.

    Local low interest financing through the Miami Dade’s Citizen’s Owned Bank will allow refinancing & purchasing of homes to stabilize the real estate market and keep people in their homes. There will be great opportunities to save lot’s of money here.

    The Bank would be a safe haven for depositing savings, because there will be no derivative junk allowed here and no gambling. The business of the Bank is for the prosperity of the local economy, you.

    By implementing these and other initiatives from my plan, Miami-Dade will be the beacon for other cities to follow as we rebuild the economy on America.

    There are great answers available and they have been available for a long time.

  7. Answers to the Pain says:

    All elections are getting distracted by party and race, the status quo delight.

    I have normally supported my people, but this is about my life and my children lives and we remain blind to logic, we might as well go home.

    The economy is in the ditch BIG TIME and going to get a lot worse, it is up to us to save our own A@@.

    Maybe I or another worthy Cuban will stand up next time, but it did not happen this time.

    For those of you that stand on the Cuban card, at least demand a real one.

    Failed Cuban or Prosperity ?

    Taker or Maker?

    More of the same or Jobs, Money and a Home?

    If it would make you feel better, Dr Khavari had a Cuban type beginning
    and understands our history

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