MIAMI (CBS4) — The recall election of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez will go forward on March 15th as scheduled, a judge ruled Friday morning.
Alvarez has been fighting to stop the recall election since his chief opponent, Miami auto tycoon Norman Braman, secured enough signatures to carry out the recall election.
“I’m pleased that the people of this community will finally have an opportunity to vote,” Braman told CBS4’s Michael Williams minutes after the decision was announced. “The mayor and his lawyers have tried for months to prevent the people voting and now the judge has finally decided that the people have the chance to say ‘yes,” they wish to recall the mayor and start this community in a new direction and if they’re happy with the way things are; then they should vote ‘no’ on the recall.”
Braman, angry over the mayor’s support for a property tax hike, has led the recall effort. Alvarez said after the court’s decision that he was “relieved the process is over.” Alvarez said that Braman’s arguments and his numbers are questionable.
“Mr. Braman throws numbers around, I don’t know where he gets them,” Alvarez CBS4’s Williams outside the courthouse. “The fact of the matter is we passed a rollback budget. Technically and legally, it’s not a tax increase. The fact of the matter is that 60 percent of people saw their tax bill decrease.”
Alvarez said that the budget he recommended was one that “I could live with that did not jeopardize public safety; that did not jeopardize the quality of life of Miami-Dade County citizens.”
Alvarez told CBS4 that the decision to not appeal Friday’s decision was his and that he’s “energized.” He also told Williams that, “if I had to do it all over, I’d make the same (budget) recommendation.”
Early voting in the recall election begins Monday and absentee ballots are already being distributed.
Thursday, embattled Miami-Dade Commissioner Natacha Seijas voluntarily dropped her lawsuit against the recall effort. Seijas, who has represented District 13, including Hialeah and Miami Lakes, for 18 years, said in a statement:
“The important thing now is for the people of District 13 to cast their ballots and say ‘no’ to this unfair recall attempt. I thank everyone for their support during this difficult process, and I look forward to serving the remainder of my four-year term.”