It was an odd scene at the Miami-Dade County Commission on Monday during what was supposed to be a “workshop” on a Campaign Finance Disclosure Ordinance now scheduled to be voted on in April. The Ordinance, which simply requires City and County Commissioners and candidates for those offices to disclose successful solicitations they make on behalf of political action committees and 501(c)(4) entities, was sent to be workshopped after members of the Commission balked last February at the idea of passing an ordinance that would make it more difficult for them to raise money on behalf of PACs anonymously. “I see no need for reform,” said 18-year Commission veteran Bruno Barreiro. The Commission unanimously agreed to postpone a vote on the ordinance so they could undertake a “serious and detailed discussion” on the proposed reform.
Yet at Monday’s workshop, the Commission was nearly empty, as eleven of the thirteen County Commissioners were absent. Only Commissioner Xavier Suarez and the Ordinance’s sponsor, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, were present. The two heard testimony in favor of the reform from the public and the Commission on Public Ethics, and were informed by the County Attorney that the ordinance mirrors requirements already imposed on State legislatures and the Governor’s Office. “You would think that if its good enough for Rick Scott it would also be good enough for the Miami-Dade County Commission,” remarked Kendall resident Louisa Henley.
A skeptical Plantain reporter reached out to the 11 absent Commissioners for an explanation as to why they skipped the workshop they themselves insisted occur, and was shocked to learn that each Commissioner had a perfectly valid and understandable excuse for missing the public meeting.
District 1 Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan and District 2 Commissioner and Board Chair Jean Monestime were unable to attend because they were involved in a heated and bizarre argument over who was England’s greater Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston or Pitt the Elder.
District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson was cleaning up chalk drawings at the Dan Paul Park.
District 4 Commissioner Sally A. Heyman was unable to attend following an unfortunate incident with an unlicensed North-Bay Village hypnotist who accidentally caused the Commissioner to believe she was a chicken.
District 5 Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro was picking out a watch for his retirement party.
District 6 Commissioner Rebeca Sosa was competing as a Top-16 finalist on American Idol.
District 9 Commissioner Dennis C. Moss had left his keys in his car, as well as his pants.
District 10 Commissioner Javier D. Souta developed a sudden case of gigantism.
District 11 Commissioner Juan C. Zapata was catching a matinee performance of “42nd Street” in Kendal’s West End Theater District.
District 12 Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz was delayed for unspecified reasons on a trip back from Key West.
Finally, District 13 Commissioner Esteban Bovo, Jr. had intended to go but just couldn’t catch the bus.
“I trust the Commissioners will review the record from today and pass these modest reforms in April,” said Little Haiti resident Mary Martinez. “I mean, they would have to be pretty out-of-touch not to.”
ALL! This very real and very modest reform will be before the Commission once again in April. Please sign this petition, tweet this story to the Commissioners, call their offices, write them emails, and generally let them know that this disclosure ordinance needs to pass.