Total Recall: Alvarez Out as Miami-Dade Mayor

Voter anger ousts Alvarez, Seijas

By Todd Wright, Steve Litz and Willard Shepard
|  Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011  |  Updated 7:03 AM EDT
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Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez is out, but the question now is who will replace him and when?

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez is out, but the question now is who will replace him and when?

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A rise in taxes raised the temperature of many Miami-Dade County voters.

Tuesday they got a chance to express their anger in historical proportions, ousting Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas from office in the first successful recall vote in the county's history.

Oust might not be the right word gauging from the results. Thrown out on his rear end might be the more accurate description.

More than 88 percent of the voters agreed that they were fed up with Alvarez, who was overwhelmingling voted in for his second term in 2008. 

The gap was too out of reach for any type of comeback.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve this community for the past 35 years. The voters have spoken and a time of healing and reconciliation must now begin," Alvarez said in a statement. "No matter which side of the recall issue, one thing is certain: we all care very deeply about this community.  A professional management team remains in place in Miami-Dade County government and I know they will work hard to ensure the smoothest transition possible in the coming days.  I wish the next Mayor of Miami-Dade County much success.”

Alvarez was the main target of the voter revolt, which was spearheaded by billionaire car dealer Norman Braman.

The long-time mayor was criticized for pushing for to use public money to build a new stadium for the Florida Marlins, but sealed his fate when he voted to increase taxes to cover an $80 million budget hole.

For Miami union electrician Lawrence Molina, the new Florida Marlins baseball stadium was the government decision that swayed him to vote against Alvarez.  “They talked about how it’s going to create a lot of jobs in the city but a lot of the big companies just flew in their own workers,” said Molina.

Alvarez has said that he would consider running for his seat in a special election if he was booted by the voters. He had one more year left in office before the recall vote, but just before the special election told people he had no regrets during his tenure.

Braman, who used more than $1 million of his own money to push for the recall, held a "victory" party Tuesday night at his business office.

"Today voters truly took the first step towards a brighter future, we hope this send a powerful and unforgettable message through county hall," Braman said.

With Alvarez out, the question of the hour is who will replace him?

Several local politicians have already made it known they would run for county mayor including Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, and County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez.

Other notable candidates include former state legislator Marcelo Llorente and controversial rapper and 2 Live Crew founder Luther Campbell.

The County Commission has 30 days if it chooses to appoint a temporary mayor, who would serve until the next county-wide election, which would take place in Jan. 2012.

Or the commission can direct a special election which would have to take place within 45 days of the commission voting for it. The winner would serve the rest of the Alvarez term until the fall of 2012.

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