PALMETTO BAY, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – Miami-Dade County’s mayoral candidates are in the home stretch of their battle for the top office. Thursday, both candidates met in their only debate in South Dade County.
The forum/debate was hosted by the Palmetto Bay Village Voice as an attempt to energize voters.
“We have seen really poor results at the polls in the last couple of elections,” said Peter England of the Palmetto Bay Village Voice. “Very light turnout and that’s not a good trend.”
Both candidates were asked about transportation issues. Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina was specifically questioned about the traffic woes of his city.
“You have a city that’s about 250,000 people,” Robaina said. “In the middle of the day, a few hours it will be 1 million people, in about 26 square miles.”
Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez was quizzed about being a part of Miami-Dade’s lackluster transit system.
“Even we expand the system there is cost associated with that,” Gimenez said. “If we had built the North line and the East-West line, Miami-Dade County would have been nine billion in the red in 30 years.”
For many of the attendees, the debate was dull. But there was one issue that got both the candidates and the potential voters a little riled up, robo-calls and mailings.
“I would love for the next two weeks to eliminate those 6-7 robocalls that they are putting out attacking me constantly,” Robaina said.
“Do I like the robocalls? Do I like the robocalls that are against me? No I don’t,” Gimenez said.
But with all the negativity, many voters are getting sick of the mayoral race from both candidates.
“Afterwards, I went up to Mayor Robaina and I complimented him on the job he did; and I was interested in what he had to say about the issues,” said Palmetto Bay voter Betty Noe. “However, I told him I wouldn’t vote for him because of his sleazy ads that I get in the mail all the time about Mr. Gimenez.”
When Robaina tried to defend himself, Noe was having none of it.
“And he said everybody does it was his words, not an exact quote, more or less and he said when my opponent stops doing it then I will stop doing it,” Noe said. “And I said, ‘no, you need to man up and you need to do it first.’”