NBC MIAMI: Despite ‘Loophole,’ Commissioner Commits to Resign Her Seat Win Or Lose Mayor’s Race

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava won’t officially leave her District 8 seat until she knows whether or not she won the county mayor’s race.

Cava has told NBC 6 she will not try to keep her seat if she loses the countywide race. This comes in response to critics pointing to a “loophole” in the “resign to run” law forcing either a costly special election or a controversial appointment.

“I do not plan to seek that seat so I want to dispel rumors right here. I have served proudly as county commissioner. I plan to be the next mayor of Miami-Dade County. I am not planning to complete the term as county commissioner,” Levine Cava said in a recent interview with NBC 6. “Nor will I seek appointment.”

The date she picked for her resignation to become official could cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

State law requires elected officials to resign their current position when seeking another. After Levine Cava turned in her resignation notice to the county, several candidates began to campaign for her soon-to-be vacated seat, thinking the election for District 8 would be Aug. 18, along with other county races. They were mistaken.

A legal memo obtained by NBC 6 between Levine Cava and the Miami-Dade County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams lays out the next steps.

Levine Cava followed the “resign to run” law. The seat is vacant “upon the effective date of the resignation” submitted by Levine Cava – so that will be Nov. 16.

After Nov. 16, according to the memo, the Board of County Commissioners can appoint someone to fill the seat within 30 days or call for a special election within 90 days; setting up a likely February election.

Suzy Trutie, the Deputy Supervisor of Elections for Miami-Dade County, confirmed to NBC 6 that a special election for District 8 would cost the county $450,000. Another $450,000 will be required if there’s no majority winner in that election and a runoff is needed.

The county has strict time tables for elections. If Commissioner Levine Cava resigned effective early in 2020, the county board could have tried to time the election to be on August 18th. If the process was delayed, it could have been an earlier special election.

“It’s important to me for this district to be represented as long as possible,” Levine Cava said in response. “We have a lot of things pending before the commission and my district constituents. I want to do my best to represent my constituents as long as I am able.”

Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor John Bubois, who was raising money and campaigning for the commissioner’s seat, told NBC 6 that Levine Cava, “played the system for her own personal benefit.”

He said that since the coronavirus pandemic began, most of the work done at the county has been through Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office through executive order.

“The Commission has done very little to nothing as far as I’m concerned,” Dubois said.

Daniella Cohen Higgins, Leonard Duran Buike, and Hammocks Citizens Advisory Committee Vice Chair Alicia Arellano also began campaigning thinking the election would be Aug. 18.

“Because I thought the election was going to be in August, I had mailings, I spent a lot of money on a website,” Duran Buike said.

What made political observers grumble is how rare the move by Levine Cava is.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins recently won a special election after former Commissioner Bruno Barreiro resigned immediately from his position to run for Congress.

Resigning on or before the election was the norm before term limits became a reality this cycle.

Miami-Dade County politicians including Arthur Teele, Maurice Ferré, Alex Penelas, Joe Martinez, JD Morales, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, and current Mayor Carlos Gimenez all resigned effective immediately or on election day to run for office.

Commissioner Joe Martinez, who represents District 11, said he will push for a resolution changing the county’s charter and plans on bringing it up at a board meeting in July.

His measure would amend the charter so when someone resigns to run for another office, the election to fill their seat will be timed with the August primary and the November general election. If the idea is approved by county voters this November, it would get rid of the need for the special election or appointment options.

“It would save county taxpayers a lot of money,” Martinez said.

Levine Cava supports Martinez’s measure, saying, “I do think we want to clean this up.”

Levine Cava will face Commissioner Steve Bovo, Commissioner Xavier Suarez, and former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, Monique Nicole Barley, Carlos Antonio De Armas, and Ludmilla Domond in the Aug. 18 election for county mayor.

The top two will go on to November.

View the original article here.

FLORIDA POLITICS : Jean Monestime endorses fellow commissioner Daniella Levine Cava in Miami-Dade mayoral race

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime is endorsing his colleague, Daniella Levine Cava, in the 2020 contest to be the next Mayor of Miami-Dade County.

“I have served with Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava for years and she has earned my trust and respect,” Monestime said.

“From the day she joined the dais, Daniella brought a sense of purpose and mission to deliver for our community with strong ethics and integrity. Our County needs a public servant who puts the people first and whose vision for a better Miami-Dade includes every resident and worker, and that candidate is my friend and colleague Daniella! She has a clear plan to deliver for our community and will be the voice our residents need.”

Monestime himself mounted a bid for the office after filing last fall. He withdrew his name from the running in April.

Commissioner Monestime isn’t the only new supporter for Levine Cava’s campaign. Former Chairman of the Public Health Trust Larry Handfield also says he’ll back Levine Cava in her bid to be Miami-Dade County’s first woman Mayor.

“With the many challenges we face today, we need a tried and tested leader to steer us through these tough times,” Handfield said.

“Daniella Levine Cava has been serving her community for forty years and has the experience, integrity and honesty that I we need in County Hall. Especially in the midst of this pandemic, we’re going to need someone who listens to medical professionals and puts facts and science above politics. That’s why Daniella has my vote and full endorsement to be Miami-Dade’s next Mayor.”

The two new backers are announcing their support just days after Levine Cava secured the coveted endorsement from the SEIU Florida.

“Both Jean and Larry have led our community with the vision necessary to lift up all communities in the face of racial and economic injustice,” Levine Cava added.

“Knowing that I can count on their wisdom and guidance each step of the way makes me confident we will move Miami-Dade forward and deliver the results our residents desperately need.”

Levine Cava is competing in the contest against Carlos Antonio De Armas, entrepreneur Monique Nicole Barley, current County Commissioners Esteban “Steve” Bovo and Xavier Suarez, real estate agent Ludmilla Domond and former County Mayor Alex Penelas.

Current Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez is term-limited, making the 2020 contest an open race. The mayoral election will take place alongside Florida’s primary elections on Aug. 18.

If no candidate receives a majority of the vote — a high likelihood in the seven-person field — a runoff between the top two candidates will be held during the Nov. 3 general election.

View the original article here.