by Vanessa "Va-Va" Woodard ByersOK, Miami-Dade County voters rejected all of the proposed and likely intentionally ambiguous and confusing charter amendments. They also sent Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez to the June 28 runoff. There were no real surprises in the results of the mayor's race or the amendments. Get ready for some spirited and nasty campaigning for mayor over this next month.
Robaina proclaimed outright victory before the results were announced but he was denied. A nice chunk of the votes went to Marcelo Llorente, who came in third and is surely someone to watch in local politics. A few folks I know said they voted for him as they viewed him as the only viable candidate that represented change.
A special shout out to Luther Campbell who posted a decent 11% but I'm sure expected to rank in the top three. It will be interesting to see if he jumps in the 2012 race. The rest of the field posted low numbers but that was expected with 11 candidates and many without name recognition.
Now, let me just write the obvious, blacks in Miami-Dade County can wield a lot of power by voting in a bloc for one of these men for mayor. That's not likely to happen as 1. voting strategically will be portrayed as racist, unenlightened or some other negative term and 2. some influential folks in the black community will endorse whoever greases their palm with the most cash. Just follow the money on campaign reports but don't forget about the cash outlays that go unreported. That's the way the game is played and there is no reason to think that will change any time soon. The way to mitigate that is be an informed voter and get out and vote.
The sad reality in all of this is that folks who fully engage in the political game know how to manipulate votes and voters. Too many people really think their vote doesn't matter; find some excuse not to vote or have lost their right to vote.
When I look at the number of votes in this last election as compared to the recall election and the 2008 presidential election, there are two thoughts I can't get out of my head: Marvin Gaye's 1971 hit "Inner City Blues". You know..."Oh, make me wanna holler and throw up both my hands" and that ending scene from Spike Lee's film, "School Daze" with Laurence Fishburne and Giancarlo Esposito, you know the one with Fishburne shouting...all together now...cue the alarm clock..."WAKE UP!".
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