25 August 2005

Raul Martinez for Governor?

Yesterday, the Florida Democratic Party was saddened when one of their most successful elected officials announced his retirement from office. Of course, Florida Democrats could turn their lemons into lemonade by encouraging this iconic politician to run for higher office.

Late on Wednesday, Raul Martinez announced that he would not seek reelection as mayor of the City of Hialeah. Martinez has served as the chief executive in Hialeah for nearly three decades, first elected in 1981. The mayor has experienced ups and downs during his run as mayor and still remains enormously popular among the largely Republican Cuban American community. And he has done so as a Democrat.

Often when a Democrat is elected by a Republican-dominated electorate, he runs away from his party label. Not Raul Martinez. Martinez has always been proud of his party affiliation, and in 2004, he was a prominent member of the Kerry campaign. Martinez has been a great asset to the Democratic Party and should be credited for any progress the party has made among Cuban American voters. (Those gains may be small, but still significant.)

Martinez has not indicated what he intends to do next. He said that he wants to spend more time with his wife and family, but did not rule out the possibility of a run for higher office. Democrats would be wise to enlist Martinez for a future campaign. He has already served as chief executive for a major city. Would the next logical step be the chief executive for the state?

The Hispanic vote is essential in Florida and after snubbing Alex Penelas during last year's election for the United States Senate, Raul Martinez may be the Florida Democratic Party's last shot to secure Hispanic voters in Florida. Of course, Mayor Martinez will definitely be on the shortlist of candidates for Lieutenant Governor, but he may only provide a boost to Democrats by appearing on the top of the ticket.

Let's see what the future holds for Mayor Raul Martinez.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This will never happen. Florida Democrats only support white male candidates.

2:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I just looked at the state Senate and saw that 5/14 Democrats were female for about 36-percent. On the other hand, only 4/26 Republicans were female for about 15-percent.

As far as white candidates, I didn't figure it out, but I'd be willing to guess the Republicans have a smaller percent of white elected officials.

Certainly they have less percent of African American elected officials than the Democrats.

As far as nationally, how many Republican African American Senators are there (I'm talking US Senate here)? How many Republican African American Congressmen?

5:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

"I'd be willing to guess the Republicans have a smaller percent of white elected officials."

Obviously I meant that I'd guess Republicans have a GREATER percent of white elected officials. Said the original way, it does not fit with the rest of what is stated.

As a result, this was probably obvious, but I just wanted to clear that up.

8:52:00 AM  
Blogger RightDemocrat said...

Raul Martinez did a good job as Mayor of Hialeah from almost all reports, but the press and his opponents would crucify him with the past corruption charges if he ran for Governor. I think Mayor of Miami-Dade County or Congress (if we could get a fair reapportionment of Congressional districts) would be more realistic. Martinez was Claude Pepper's choice to replace him in Congress, but Republican prosecutors conveniently brought charges against him right around the time of Pepper's death.

10:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the system frequently get abused by liars and deceivers who use the system as a tool to advance their goals of profit, self service, and abuse of public trust? So much is going on all over. Those who would serve their own interests at the expense of the public interest and government integrity now use tactics so offensive and aggressive that they seek to overhwelm and intimidate anyone who will not share their path towards giving out gifts to special interests.

Will the state legislature open the doors for cities to escape review by DCA for development plans and projects?

Letting municipalities bypass state controls over development just sells out more of the state to developers and profiteers. Look at Surfside, Florida for example. Under good stewardship, it controlled development and allowed zero variances. Under other 'leadership' heavily influenced by developers, it has turned course, towards becoming another overdeveloped profit center like Sunny Isles Beach. Look at the history. The Surfside Town Commission in 2007 is planning to produce a slick document for DCA to hide its true motivations: getting condominiums built on top of stores in the town's business district and putting in a mega-hotel development that will all result in more traffic congestion, more school overcrowding, far worse evacuation times, more density, more demands on public utilities like municipal water and sewer systems, and major costs to all taxpayers of the town. But beneficial to special interests! So on it goes.

Surfside 1935: Local residents obtain state approval and create an independent municipality, the Town of Surfside, based on their desire to maintain a community with independence from Miami Beach and to have a small, accountable, and efficient local government to reflect the priorities and well being of its own residents. Over the 7 decades to follow, Surfside has its ups and downs, but generally does a superb job at serving its residents, remaining debt free, and being a widely recognized example for cities and towns and villages all over the nation.

Surfside 1990 - 1992: Mayor Eli Tourgeman enacts foolish budget policies with a 3-2 vote of his Town Commission that put the Town into the red, ending his term with town deficits. Tourgeman supports a number of major zoning variances and tries to break down the zoning code to get approval for a 20 story condo despite a height limit in the code of 12 stories. The voters turned back Toureman's approval in a referendum that defeated and reversed the condo project's variance approval. In 1990 he was elected mayor, in 1992 he was voted off of the commission when voters saw his real priorities and he came in last from a field of 10 candidates.

Surfside 1992 - 2004: Mayor Paul Novack and a new Town Commission unanimously enact budget corrections and fiscally responsible policies and every year for 12 years the town operated under balanced, stable and efficient budgets, with production of increased levels of town services, and numerous capital projects undertaken and completed that upgraded the parks, playgrounds, streets, drainage system, business district, Veterans Park, Town Hall, and much more, all with no debt, no bonds, and with the building of significant town surplus funds to serve the town's present and future. The town attracted a new Publix and many new restaurants and shops for the business district and made improvements and expansions to town parking facilities. Plans are made for a new town library and hi-tech information center to go on newly acquired property on the west side of Collins Avenue. The town defended its zoning code, and its independent authority as a municipality responsive to the needs and priorities and safety of its residents. The town was internationally recognized as a model community, and in 2003 Novack was honored as the state-wide "Community Steward of the Year" in Tallahassee. Mayor Novack was elected by the voters six times, of two years each term in a system accountable to the voters, to serve as Surfside mayor. During his twelve year tenure as mayor, not one variance for height or density or setbacks or uses were ever approved. No one received special treatment (so those who expected it were not very happy!). After serving as a town commissioner, as mayor, and as a member of the state's oversight board for the county's public school system, he retired from office in 2004. Novack was honored with official tributes from the Florida House of Representatives, the United States Congressional Record, and many others.

Surfside 2004 - 2006: Mayor Tim Will and a new Town Commission operate the town carefully and responsibly with balanced budgets, continued expansion of town surplus funds, obtaining a grant to help pay for the new library project, and making plans for the renovation and upgrading of the Community Center. The project would have made vast improvements to the facilities and would not have involved any closure or reduction in use by residents. Plans that were efficient and feasible were set to be implemented until political aspirations of candidates-in-waiting worked to delay and distort the process. Under the Will administration's plans for Community Center renovation, there would be no debt, no bonds, and yet there were even further enhancements to the facilities and to many town services. During the Will administration the town was honored by statewide organizations for having present and past superb levels of municipal accounting and auditing and outstanding transparency and performance with public funds. After several productive terms on the Town Commission, and service on the Town's Planning and Zoning Board, and a term as Mayor, Mayor Will retired from public service.

Surfside 2006 - 2007: Mayor Charles Burkett and a new Town Commission spurs, devises, creates and presides over a course designed to make it easy to get variances and to make a slickened path for developers ready to exploit another oceanfront community. In its first year in office, the Burkett administration also passes a new town budget that is the largest and by far the most expensive and bloated budget in the town's history, spending more on lawyers than ever, needlessly paying millions of dollars of town funds to "settle" dubious law suits that objective outside reviews found had no merit at all with payments made to the claimants (Burkett campaign supporters) just before Courts were set to rule in the Town's favor, spending over $300,000 on a town charette to document Burkett's plans to change zoning laws and other pre-conceived notions for the benefit of non-resident commercial interests, hired a large law firm for a minimum annual fee of $600,000, no town projects or improved service levels, serious draining of town surplus funds, hired many new consultants with large fees paid by the town, and initiated plans for a public relations campaign to approve putting the town into deep debt with bond issues for as much as $50 million to substantially raise tax burdens on residents for many years to come. The town newsletter is expanded to include political attacks and misinformation every month at a cost of approximately 500% more than it had ever been before. No projects are undertaken, no landscaping is done, no parks or playgrounds are improved, the town's appearance has been allowed to deteriorate, and the community center pool is closed on a ruse after a pool pump has a minor short that the town fails to repair or replace. During his first year in office many respected town employees leave Surfside including its Police Chief, Town Engineer, Town Comptroller, Tourist Director, Public Works Director, and others, all of whom are replaced with "old friends" and campaign workers of Mayor Burkett. Burkett refuses to release his financial disclosure documents from court cases and his membership on City of Miami Beach boards and committees. Information surfaces that indicates he is really a resident of Miami Beach despite owning a house (one of his many, many properties in Florida) in Surfside. Mayor Burkett seeks to contract out services such as fire service, sanitation services, police services, and administrative services to the City of Miami Beach and private companies. His first year in office ends with a disastrous record of misfeasance, a vastly inflated town budget, and negative results for the community. His second year in office puts PR into overdrive but the facts remain dismal. Still no projects completed, or even initiated. More use of smear tactics against town residents and some former town officials. Diversionary efforts to take voters' minds way from the failed record and failures of the current administration.

10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles Burkett and Howard Weinberg and Marq Imberman ... trio ... Florida's most disgraceful politicians ... deceiving everyone they possibly can.

1:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

surfside
florida
town officials
taxpayers
scheme
zoning
overdevelopment
density
ethics violations
city

http://sticksoffire.com/2007/05/23/reality-check/

11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Town hall press releases tell something less than the real story about what is going on there. Surfside Voters have a choice. Surfside matters to places way beyond it Contact or see, for more information, You can contact Randi MacBride: Randi4Surfside@aol.com See the web site at JoeGraubart.com A choice is what its all about but staying home is not avoiding a choice it IS a choice by letting things get worse and worse. Know & Vote

9:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Update 2008, Now in 2008 half of the savings reserve has been squandered, down the drain with nothing to show for it. Where did it go? The town had bigger annual budgets in these last two years than ever in any two years ever and in addition to the fattest annual budgets it also mismanaged itself into wasting away half of its long saved reserves! Red ink in Surfside is becoming a tidal wave. Taxpayers deserve an investigation and audit. Who is getting all that money? Where has it gone? Put Charles Burkett and Howard Weinberg and Marc Imberman and Steve Levine UNDER OATH and get to the bottom of this ugly pit.

10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous DiggerXXX said...

Mayor Burkett and his lap dogs Howard Weinberg and Marq Imberman have gone over the top lying to the people of Surfside and South Florida. They cast the taxpayers of Surfside into the garbage. Deficits and debt. Disgusting dishonest ego bloated politicians who have always put their own goals ahead of public service. From a great city to a laughing stock in such a short time. Florida's all time example of horrible local government. Congratulations Charles Burkett. Contratulations Howard Weinberg. Congratulations Marq Imberman (or is it Marc or Mark because he uses them all as part of his plan to hide what he has done).

11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2008 Surfside town officials destroy the community's quality of life, drive taxes up, push fees up, property values are down, and the credibility and effectiveness of town government is in the gutter.

THESE ARE DIFFICULT TIMES. OUR COUNTRY IS IN ECONOMIC CRISIS, AND PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THE NATION, INCLUDING RIGHT HERE IN SURFSIDE, ARE HURTING FINANCIALLY.

CLOSE TO HOME, OUR TOWN GOVERNMENT IS IN ECONOMIC CRISIS ALSO. TOWN SAVINGS AND RESERVES HAVE BEEN VASTLY DEPLETED BY THIS TOWN COMMISSION. THAT WAS FINANCIAL INCOMPETENCE AND WASTE AT ITS WORST. FUNDS HAD BEEN PRUDENTLY SAVED FOR MANY YEARS UNTIL THIS COMMISSION OPENED A FAUCET AND LET MUCH OF THE TOWN’S MONEY FLOW RIGHT OUT. OUR RESIDENTS HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR THAT. TOWN DEPARTMENTS ARE RUNNING HUGE DEFICITS AS CONFIRMED BY THE TOWN MANAGER RECENTLY AND MANY OF THOSE DEPARTMENTS FAR OUTSPENT THEIR BUDGETS IN THE LAST FISCAL YEAR. THE RED INK IS FLOWING, AND IT IS A VERY SAD AND UNFORTUNATE SITUATION FOR OUR COMMUNITY.

AT THIS TIME OF NATIONAL AND LOCAL FINANCIAL CRISIS, YOU WANT OUR RESIDENTS TO APPROVE YOUR PLAN FOR A 16.5 MILLION DOLLAR BOND ISSUE THAT WILL PUT THE TOWN INTO DEBT FOR GENERATIONS. THAT IS THE WORST THING WE COULD DO NOW. THE COMMUNITY CENTER NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEMOLISHED. WE TAXPAYERS SHOULD NOT BE ASKING TO PAY SUCH A HEFTY PRICE FOR THE ERRORS AND MISJUDGMENTS OF THIS TOWN COMMISSION. WE MAY WANT TO HAVE A COMMUNITY CENTER, BUT NOT A TAJ MAHAL THAT WE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD.

THE FIRE SERVICE ISSUE IS, AS YOU KNOW, A FALSE ONE. THE MAYOR OF MIAMI BEACH HAS STATED PUBLICLY THAT SHE HAS NO INTENTION OF HAVING THE C.M.B. PROVIDE FIRE SERVICE TO SURFSIDE. THERE IS NO CONTACT ON THE TABLE, NO NUMBERS, AND NO DETAILS. THE RISKS AND COSTS OF VOTING FOR SUCH A VAGUE PLAN WITH NO BASIS IN FACT IS SIMPLY DANGEROUS FOR OUR TOWN.

I THINK THAT THE VOTERS AND TAXPAYERS SHOULD SAY NO TO YOUR REFERENDUM QUESTIONS AND INSIST THAT YOU RETOOL YOUR AGENDA SO IT MEETS THE NEEDS OF SURFSIDE, NOT YOUR POLITICAL AGENDA OF THE WISHES OF ANY SPECIAL INTERESTS. WE REGRET THAT YOU HAVE CHANGED THE ZONING CODE, AND THAT YOU HAVE PUT THE TOWN INTO FISCAL CRISIS. WE HOPE YOU WILL CHANGE COURSE BEFORE EVEN MORE DAMAGE IS DONE.

SURFSIDE HAS SUFFERED BECAUSE OF THE MISERABLE RECORD OF OFFICIALS LIKE CHARLES BURKETT AND HOWARD WEINBERG AND MARC IMBERMAND AND STEVE LEVINE. THE TOWN IS CRASHING AND ITS TOWN HALL HAS NO CREDIBILITY. SAD SAD SAD DAYS HERE, WE MUST FIND A LIGHT OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.

8:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surfside Florida 2008 - 2009, disaster strikes Surfside Florida resulting from corrupt, incompetent, wasteful, awful town government decisions and policies. The last few years with these town officials from 2006 to now has dug a huge horrible hole. Debt, bond issues, squandered savings, hidden money flows, paying town officials contrary to town charter, its a sink hole already.

In addition to a huge bond debt these crazies in town hall just put on the taxpayers back a lead straw of multiple facets:

Property taxes up 11% for 2009
Sewer bills up 37% for 2009
Water bills up 41% for 2009
Garbage bills up 59% for 2009
Stormwater bills up 114% for 2009

And they demolished a historic, beautiful, functional community center.

Disaster at the local level produced by the worse local government in America. That is the product of Charles Burkett, Howard Weinberg, Marc Imberman, Steve Levine, and Elizabeth Calderon. If they all resigned immediately it would not be soon enough. If there was only a 911 to save us from these cretins.

10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eli Tourgeman has no regard for the code of ethics and no respect for the citizens of surfside. Not only does Eli help his business partners by providng them with illegal immigrant workers and he is a queer as well. There has been many incidents when he has sexual harrased many children from the church.

10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surfside 2009 - corruption central.
If anyone in Florida wants to stop or even try to stop corruption and waste then find out how central is the small place of so much corruption in Surfside.

7:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indian Creek Village
Bay Harbor Islands
Bal Harbour Village

9:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surfside Florida heads into deep deep debt that will saddle up on the backs of local taxpayers for decades to come. Local officials serve themselves not the community. They pay themselves every month while they raise taxes and fees and put the whole community into debt. Such a scam, such a fraud. Nothing honest about the 'leadership' of this place now. Surfside Florida is a city crashing into a financial hole. Total mismanagement and failed leadership leads to huge hikes in costs and taxes and fees on all residents and on top of that city officials want to borrow tens of millions of dollars to bail themselves out from utter incompetence but at the cost of putting the taxpayers into public debt.

Property taxes up 11% for 2009
Sewer bills up 37% for 2009
Water bills up 41% for 2009
Garbage bills up 59% for 2009
Stormwater bills up 114% for 2009

8:02:00 PM  
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