Ladra just wants to send a quick thanks and wag of her tail to the Miami-Dade Commissioners, who reluctantly and sluggishly put six charter reform measures on the ballot for a May 24 election that will likely also include the races for the recalled mayor and commissioner.
While it was painfully slow at times, and several commissioners went back and forth on what should have been simple issues -- why on Earth would someone co-sponsor something, then withdraw their sponsorship, then co-sponsor it again? -- it ended as well as it could. Because, really, there is not a lot of change.
The people get to vote on 12-year term limits -- which is really not very limiting -- but only in exchange for salaries that by state formula are above $95,000 and a ban on outside employment when the ethics commission says it conflicts with the sworn oath to office (which is something that is always in flux). There's no transparency in that. People who want to be corrupt will still find a way to get the graft. Ladra's idea, I think, was better: Allow outside employment, but require quarterly income/compensation reports with salary, perks, paid speaking engagements, dividends from owning a percentage of a company and consulting fees or subcontract work.
Bolstering the powers of the Inspector General is a good idea, and so is bringing the strong mayor initiative -- which Ladra thinks was sneaked by voters without real understanding in 2007 -- back to the people to rescind. I bet that gets at least an 88 percent toss.
The reform is okay, but it's a bandaid. All the things that led to the recall of Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Natacha Seijas in district 13 -- which everyone credits with the cry for charter reform, although many people have been beating that drum for years -- doesn't change much. Whoever is elected can still build a stadium with public money. They just have to do it in 12 years now and will get paid in the meantime.
What commissioners did with all that blah, blah, blah, huffing and puffing and their grandstanding and posturing and hand-wringing was confuse themselves and the public so that at the end, we got some measures that look good and make us feel good, but really don't amount to much. So I have an idea for another charter amendment to put to voters.
Should the membes of the Board of Commissioners of Miami-Dade County be given no more than 10 minutes to speak on any given agenda item because if they can't express the information they have to impart and their opinions or views or concerns in that time, they have no business being up there? Where do I punch yes?