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Miami Garden’s mayor threatened by recall effort

Mayor Gilbert

Mayor Gilbert

Miami Garden’s mayor threatened by recall effort

By Derek Joy

The Miami Gardens City Council meeting had an interesting beginning amid a festering, misguided recall drive.

Public/private presentations were highlighted by Miami Gardens Police Detective Onassis Perdomo receiving a certificate from Deputy Chief Paul Miller for his efforts with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Conspicuously absent in the beginning was Miami Gardens resident Fannie Arnold, who previously launched a sniper attack on Mayor Oliver Gilbert III.

Arnold enlisted the help of political consultant Vanessa Britto to mount a recall petition drive to oust Gilbert. NBC 6 investigative reporter Willard Shepard compiled a story including complaints from Arnold, citing high crime rate, murders among them, problems with the $126-million budget and election ethics questions.

“I think it’s politically motivated,” Gilbert. Our finances are fine. We are capable of meeting our obligations. We are and we have. People have to understand whatever we have we have to pay for.

“We have maintained services for the city and our residents. We have to have services for our youth and elderly.  What’s interesting is that compared to last year, homicides are down 50-percent.”

Still, Arnold, with the help of Britto, who hasn’t revealed the source of financing the recall petition efforts, persists in their attacks.

According to Gilbert, state law requires such acts as “mis-feasance, malfeasance, drunkenness, felony conviction,” among other misdeeds, to validate a recall petition.

“There’s a lot you have to do to recall an elected official,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert has not been charged or convicted of any of those crimes. The recall petition, apparently, isn’t based on any such allegations.

“That’s crap,” replied former Miami Gardens Councilman Melvin Bratton, Sr., when asked his thoughts on the recall petition. “One person doesn’t run the city. He’s not a Strong Mayor. Any policy decisions required a majority of the seven members Council. Read the Charter.”

City Manager Dr. Danny Crew thinks the complaints are not based on facts or an objective perspective. He cites the budget, progress in the nearly completed state-of-the-art City Hall/Police Department Building at a cost of $55-million.

“If they wanted to do that because he went to the University of Miami, I’d support it be-cause I went to Florida State,” joked Crew. “We have a lower crime rate than the city of Miami, Coral Gables, Holly-wood, Ft. Lauderdale and a lot of other cities in Florida.”

“It’s political. It has to do with local politics. All of our debt is capital debt. We’ve bought vehicles. The cost of City Hall is $55-million. It will be completed in December.”

The new City Hall Police Department Complex, according to Crew, is being constructed as an L.E.E.D. (Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design) Project.

L.E.E.D. buildings are touted to be 30-percent more efficient, provide 15-percent of its own energy and last longer, Crew noted.

When asked her thoughts on the recall effort, Miami Garden’s resident Danielle Clark, succinctly said:  “I need more in-formation about it. Why do they want to recall him?”

Arnold and Britto could not be reached for comment.

For the record recently released crime statistics compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for the year 2012, there are 27 Florida cities with higher crime rate per 1,000 residents.

“I’m just one vote. Any policy that is set is by a vote of the Council. When I was elected there were 16,000 votes casts. That’s more than the city of Miami. I received 63.8-percent of the vote.”

“So, I see this recall effort as people trying to undo the process and the will of the people,” Gilbert said.


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