Thursday, January 20, 2011

A tale of two contrasting recalls

Maybe the two separate recall efforts in Miami-Dade are marked by two main differences: Money and margin of error.

Norman Braman, who spoke to a group of business leaders at the Biltmore Hotel about his recall effort against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, is pretty certain he can withstand any challenge to the validity of the 107,000 or so petitions approved by the county clerk last month.

While the mayor's team is reportedly going over the petitions to look for a loophole or challenge, they will have a hard time: Only about 52,000 of those, or less than half, have to pass muster.

But the millionaire car dealer has less confidence that another group's recall of Miami-Dade Commissioner Natacha Seijas will stay on the ballot. Maybe because they need at least 3,571 of their 4,370 or so petitions to clear inspection.

"They just didn't get enough and sure signatures," Braman said, after mentioning earlier that the process should be changed to make it less burdensome and expensive.

"I paid for a valid process. I had 14 people working full time only on that, making sure that al the Is were dotted and all the Ts were crossed," Braman said. "I don't think Vanessa [Brito, the Miami Voice PAC chair] had the ability to do all that. But I wish her luck, I really do."

Lawyers for Seijas have gone to court to challenge the petition process undertaken by the Miami Voice PAC saying they found what are potentially far too many invalid signatures for the group to have met their required threshold of 4 percent of the registered voters in District 13.

Said Braman: "If they lose, they lose on the process."

Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi is representing the Miami Voice PAC pro-bono and moved to block the review of the process and testimony from petitioners earlier this week. But Circuit Judge Amy Steele Donner set a Feb. 7 hearing and told Seijas attorneys' to send the subpoenas.

One of two public notaries responsible for 85 percent of the petitions will be questioned Friday.

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