Voters swept Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez out of office by a stunning margin Tuesday, capping a dramatic collapse for a politician who was given increased authority by voters four years ago to clean up much-maligned county government but was ushered out in the largest recall of a local politician in U.S. history.
The spectacular fall from power comes after two years of missteps, ranging from granting top staffers big pay hikes to construction of a publicly funded stadium for the Florida Marlins to implementation of a property-tax rate increase that outraged an electorate struggling through an ugly recession.
Alvarez tried to fend off ouster by twice filing suit to block a recall vote. After the lawsuits went nowhere, he defended his record in speeches, radio and television appearances and paid advertisements, arguing that he made the tough calls to preserve vital services for residents.
But voters responded by handing the mayor a humiliating defeat: Nearly nine of every 10 voted to remove Alvarez from office.
“The voters have spoken and a time of healing and reconciliation must now begin,’’ Alvarez said in a statement Tuesday night. “No matter which side of the recall issue, one thing is certain: We all care very deeply about this community… I wish the next mayor of Miami-Dade County much success.”
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Lots of dramatic news out there, so you might not have heard that mayor of Miami, Carlos Alvarez, lost a recall election by the astonishing margin of 88% - 12. The issues that killed him? Tax increases to fund pay raises demanded by the public employee unions. Watch out Scott Walker!
Word on the street is that Alvarez was actually a Republican (news reports have been a little sketchy on this), although he's obviously one of those Schwarzenegger/Bloomberg "moderates" who are supposed to be so appealing.
A lot of professional politicians seem to be getting a little too relaxed about Tea Party-style voter anger. Certainly, national Republican leaders are not exactly hustling to defund Obamacare or make other serious budget cuts. The Miami recall shows that the anti-tax, anti-public employee union sentiments of last year are not in abeyance, but may even be growing.