NMB voters approve term limits, November election day

North Miami Beach voters approved term limits and made several important changes to their charter Tuesday that will simplify and streamline the way the city operates. 

They approved the updating of language and removal of obsolete northmiamibeachcode and changed the council’s ability — or, rather, the commission’s ability, because voters changed the name of the governing body, too — to hire and fire the city manager and allow them to hire a law firm rather than a city attorney (is somebody’s job in jeopardy?). 

The only proposed change of 10 they didn’t approve was a reduction in quorum from five to the majority four.

Political blogger Stepanie Kienzle, of VotersOpinion.com, knows way more about North Miami Beach politics than Ladra and called these changes no-brainers. But we really applaud the move to change the election day in the city from May to November. Not only does it save the city money in setting up a special election, but it also increases voter participation quite a bit.

Only entrenched incumbents with questionable motives would oppose this because it is in their best interest to keep turnout low. It’s easier to control a smaller number of people.

But North Miami Beach electeds had uh, maybe an ulterior reason to supportelectiondaygraphic this particular measure. They got a consolation prize with this change — 18 additional months tacked on to their terms. Because, for the same participation reason, the city chose to change the year of the election from odd numbered years to even numbered years that coincide with presidential and gubernatorial elections.

It’s like a free bonus mini-term.

Mayor George Vallejo must be jumping for joy at City Hall. His term would have ended in May, 2019. But now his term is extended until the next presidential election! It’s like he was elected yesterday, too! Ditto for Commissioners Marlene Martell, Frantz Pierre and Phyllis Smith.  

The other three commissioners, then, might be doing backflips. Up for re-election this coming May — that’s six months from now — Anthony DeFillipo, Barbara Kramer and Beth Spiegel are now in office at least through November of 2018. Yes, 2018!

Well, you know what? Voters determined it was a small price to pay. They approved the change by 53%. Well, that was only 6,456 people, you might say. Because it was only slightly more than half the 12,192 who voted Tuesday.

But that’s still a whole lot more than the 1,591 people who voted in the municipal election last year. Which is the whole point, isn’t it?

Now, if we can only get voters in other cities to do the same. It is concerning how many municipalities have these off year, off month suppression special elections. 

South Miami and Golden Beach have them in February. Hialeah Gardens does it in March. Coral Gables, Miami Hand opening calendar showing JanuaryShores, Miami Springs and Bay Harbor Islands have elections in April. North Miami Beach abandoned May but there are still elections in North Miami and Sweetwater that month. Virginia Gardens waits until September, when 157 people voted last year. And Homestead has its primary in October. Happy Halloween!

It’s like we belong to an election of the month club.

Most of these cities have terribly low turnout for their important local races, the results of which can impact our immediate quality of life more than state or national races. In Coral Gables, for example, there were 30,663 registered voters last year. But only 7,804 voted in the election. That comes to 25% of the electorate.

Ladra challenges electeds in these cities to make the change that North Miami Beach made. I specifically call on Coral Gables Commissioner Vince Lago, South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard and Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia. Go on. I dare you guys. All you have to do is put it to the voters in your city.

And maybe you’ll get a little extra bonus time on your term for your efforts.