Don’t be surprised if Norman Braman cranks up another recall effort. That’s the impression I got after speaking to him about proposed county charter amendments. He and Miami-Dade commissioners are miles apart on issues such as term limits, at-large districts, the size of the commission, a strong mayor and outside employment for commissioners.

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Braman wants 8-year term limits effect retroactively. He also wants to reduce the size of the commission from 13 to 9 members with two commissioners elected countywide instead of from single member districts. He also wants to pay commissioners a full-time salary in exchange for no outside employment and bans on lobbying after they leave office. Commissioners have adopted a plan that calls for 12-year term limits, eliminating the strong mayor form of government and a two-year ban on lobbying.

If commissioners approve the proposal to go before voters in May, look for Braman to start another recall.

During his interview on News & Views, Braman sized up some of the candidates in the running to replace Alvarez.

Braman said appointing former Mayor Alex Penelas to the post on a temporary basis would be “a disaster.”

“I think Alex Penelas built the cornerstone for the problems this community has today,” Braman said.

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Braman said he is not endorsing anyone at this time, but he told me he likes Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina.

“I commend Mayor Robaina,” Braman said. “ he was faced with the same type of financial problems Carlos Alvarez was faced with. Mayor Robaina did not increase taxes on the people of Hialeah. He cut expenses and balanced his budget without having to inflict pain on the people out there.”

What about Robaina’s ties to convicted Ponzi schemer Luis Felipe Perez?  “Felipito”, as his friends called him, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for running a $40 million Ponzi scheme. “Felipito” reportedly borrowed $750,000 from Robaina and his wife.

“I don’t think that anyone who is a victim of a Ponzi scheme is a guilty person himself,” Braman said. “Unfortunately, I was a victim of Bernard Madoff. That doesn’t make me an accomplice to what he did.”

Braman also spoke highly of County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, saying “Commissioner Gimenez has been on the right side of the issues during his time as a commissioner.” 

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Asked about former State Rep. Marcelo Llorente, Braman said, “I don’t know him very well but he’s an impressive young man.”

Eliott Rodriguez