by Javier Manjarres
The 2nd Mayoral debate featuring the candidates in the Miami Mayoral recall election was held on Tuesday, and as expected, all of the candidates stuck to their scripts and made their pitches for the top job in Miami-Dade County. All three of the candidates seemed to agree on most issues including their united opposition to increasing the county sales tax to help fund county infrastructure development if needed, including police and fire-rescue. Julio Robaina said that the ” first choice, the no choice should be to raise taxes.” Asked whether the county should keep it’s ‘strong Mayoral” form of government, both Marcelo Llorente and Robaina were ‘for’ the existing strong mayor position, while Carlos Gimenez said that he was against it, but would respect whatever the people of the county decide the scope of the mayor’s powers should be.
All three of the candidates opposed the proposal to sink taxpayer dollars into improvements for Sun Life Stadium, agreeing that they they would rather see the money invested in revamping the out of date Miami Beach Convention Center. The three candidates have promised full transparency when it comes to so-called “discretionary” funds- recalled Mayor Alvarez had a $800/mo car allowance, along with 2 county SUV’s that were made available to him.
“All dollars should be made in the coffers of the public, not at anyone’s discretion, including the mayor’s- it should not be at anyone’s discretion, that is the people’s money, and the budget should be line item budget with every expenditure, with every income that comes in, so that you the people, the one’s that own those dollars, know exactly where your dollars are being spent.” – Robaina
Former Representative Llorente also chimed in with harsh words toward the irresponsible spending by local governments, andpromised to eliminate wasteful municipal spending, were he to be voted into office.
“I will absolutely eliminate the $800 car allowances, which I find to absolutely ridiculous, I didn’t drive up here in a taxpayer paid for vehicle and I believe it shows how disconnected local governments are.” – Llorente
On the issue of the controversial ‘Miami Port Tunnel’, both Gimenez and Llorente agreed that the tunnnel was a viable idea to ease the traffic out of Miami, Mayor Robaina disagreed and said that the project needs further deliberation. Robaina also said that all aspects of the plan needed to be scrutinized before any taxpayer dollars were spent on the project.
While trying not to nod off from a head cold I was negotiating, the question of whether or not Mayor Robaina supports the funding of the new Marlins baseball stadium came up. As your loyal crack reporter, I, El Sharko, summoned myself to attention when this question came up because of the fireworks that were sure to ensue between Gimenez and Robaina- and I was not disappointed. Watch the action here:
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