Miami Dade County, Fla., ousted Mayor Carlos Alvarez with an 88 percent turnout voting for his recall. Voters outraged at Alvarez’s management of Miami Dade expressed their desire for new leadership. Over 200,000 people voted for the ouster of Mayor Alvarez over government mismanagement and wasteful spending.
Recall is the power of voters to remove public officials from office. Voters demand a recall when they’re dissatisfied with the way local and federal leaders govern.
Alvarez, elected in 2004 and 2008, left an unfavorable impression on many voters in Miami Dade. The former Mayor approved pay hikes for staffers, property tax increases and the controversial stadium for the Florida Marlins during the worst economic recession.
Billionaire Norman Braman, a key figure spearheading the recall campaign of the Mayor, helped finance the campaign to recall Alvarez.
Could we start seeing more donors with deep pockets fund recall elections, just as donors are requested to fund campaigns to elect candidates into office?
Mayor Alvarez’s term was also marred by scandal for receiving $300,000 in salary and benefits and lavish toys, including a BMW 55 Gran Turismo, and approving his chief of staff’s 11 percent pay increase.
Miami Dade’s recall is an indication that voters are enraged at tax hikes, government waste and the careless attitudes of public officials. The sentiment is rising in other states across the U.S., including Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), under fire for passing the bill to block collective bargaining rights of unions, may also be recalled. Senate Democrats claim Walker and Senate Republicans acted unconstitutionally by voting on collective bargaining rights legislation without Senate Democrats present.
Recall elections are underway for 16 elected officials in Wisconsin who were elected in 2008. Walker is eligible for recall in 2012. Public officials in Wisconsin must serve for 1 year term before lawmakers pursue recall efforts.
Recall efforts in Wisconsin will be challenging due to a small window of time (less than 60 days) needed to collect petition signatures. However, social media will be a major driver in helping fuel recall efforts.
Since 1913, 13 state lawmakers have faced recall from public office. Many see Walker and other public officials’ actions as a direct attack on the middle and working class. The largest recall in history was Gov. Gray Davis of California in 2003. .
Senator George Petak was recalled in 1996 for casting the deciding vote on a tax increase. With this in mind, government officials should beware, as tax increases that are choking the low and middle income workers seem to be the hot button for many requesting recalls.
Taxpayers are sounding off and revolting against public officials who abuse their authority. Miami and now Wisconsin may be just the beginning.
Matt Gutman, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez Recalled , ABC News
Tim Jones, Walker’s Wisconsin Senate Majority in Peril as Thousands Work for Recalls, Bloomberg
Craig Gilbert, Recall drives could make history, JS Online