J Pat Carter/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez at a ground breaking ceremony, Feb. 8, 2011.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez at a ground breaking ceremony, Feb. 8, 2011. J Pat Carter/ASSOCIATED PRESS
By all indicators, Miami voters look like they're going to throw Mayor Carlos Alvarez out of office Tuesday.
The sin that proved the last straw for voters? The Republican mayor raised property taxes.
And, according to Alvarez, he got on the wrong side of billionaire car dealer Norman Braman by building a new baseball stadium for the MLB's Florida Marlins which was connected to another tax hike, a boost in the hotel tax.
All Things Considered (ATC) looked at the recall effort on the eve of the election. Alvarez, a former Miami-Dade police chief, is one of two politicians about to face the ire of the Miami-Dade citizenry, say pollsters. The other is County Commissioner Natacha Seijas. (There was a lot of good background on this recall campaign in a Morning Edition piece last year as well.)
An irony noted by political observers is that there have been many politicians over the decades in Miami who have been caught in illegality yet they've pretty much all avoided being recalled.
Alvarez, in contrast, is widely acknowledged not to have such legal problems. Voters nevertheless are apparently only hours from evicting him from city hall, according to opinion polls.
Phil Latsman of NPR member station WLRN reported the ATC piece on the recall election and got a great quote which really captures the irony from Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm:
Look, we've had kickback scandals, voting scandals, bribery scandals, zoning scandals, sex scandals, drug scandals, gambling scandals. Somehow it seems slightly out of proportion, and a little weird for this particular county to go "Tunisian" and toss out a mayor that's known as a honest man."
Grimm's March 9, 2011 column provides some of the more colorful history of Miami politicians who managed to avoid what appears to be Alvarez's electoral fate if not indictments and convictions.
Meanwhile, The Ledger.com news outlet has some good information on recalls taking place elsewhere in the nation as well as the recent history of recall elections.