Mayor Alvarez: I've Made Mistakes - NBC 6 South Florida

Mayor Alvarez: I've Made Mistakes

Miami-Dade Mayor speaks out as early voting in recall election begins



    The political drama in Miami-Dade has reached a boiling point and now Mayor Carlos Alvarez is trying to hold onto his job. (Published Tuesday, March 1, 2011)

    The day of reckoning began Monday in earnest for Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, as voters headed to the polls to give the mayor the thumbs up or give him the boot.

    "Its never been about me. Its always been about Miami-Dade County," said Alvarez. "Everything that I've done, and I've made mistakes, we all have made mistakes, but everything that I've done was not thinking about my popularity.
    "You never know what's going to happen," Alvarez said just before casting his own ballot on Monday afternoon, "and like I said, you do things that you believe to be the right things to do for your community and people have a right to disagree."

    The mayor is just one of the thousands of Miami-Dade residents being asked a simple question at the poll: Should he be recalled? Yes or no? The recall was triggered when automobile dealer Norman Braman believed the mayor's decisions were fiscally unsound and gathered enough support to get the vote that began Monday.

    The mayor says he couldn't lay off hundreds of public safety servants, and now the voters decide.
    "I'm not endorsing one outcome or the other, but if he stays and he is not recalled, that will speak towards stability," said University of Miami political expert George Gonzalez. On the other hand, those who want to remove him will say it's more important to have a lower tax rate, to have stability there."

    "Quite frankly I made a decision. I made a recommendation and everything in life has consequenses," said Alvarez. "I can tell you I have no regrets in regard to this budget and the recommendation I made."

    The traditional election day, March 15th, is the day when all precincts are open. The numbers will be certified and the board of elections will post its official findings then.

    The mayor, if he loses, would leave office immediately. If that happens, the county charter calls for the county manager to meet with county commissioners and select a mayor on a temporary basis. A primary election would probably not be held until the fall and a general election in December. The new mayor would carry out the rest of Mayor Alvarez's term and govern for about a year.

    There are 20 early voting locations up and running until March 13th. About 20 percent of voters cast their ballots historically in the early voting.

    Experts say the higher the turnout, the better for Mayor Alvarez.