In dramatic revolt, Miami-Dade voters fire Mayor Carlos Alvarez
Voters swept Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez out of office by a stunning margin Tuesday, capping a dramatic collapse for a politician who was given increased authority by voters four years ago to clean up much-maligned county government but was ushered out in the largest recall of a local politician in U.S. history.
The spectacular fall from power comes after two years of missteps, ranging from granting top staffers big pay hikes to construction of a publicly funded stadium for the Florida Marlins to implementation of a property-tax rate increase that outraged an electorate struggling through an ugly recession.
The campaign to recall Alvarez was launched in October by billionaire businessman Norman Braman after Alvarez successfully pushed for a property tax-rate increase to help plug a gaping budget hole. At the same time, Alvarez pushed for labor contracts with employee unions that included pay hikes for most county workers this year.
In March 2009 Alvarez successfully pushed through a controversial deal to use hundreds of millions of dollars in public money to build a new ballpark for the Florida Marlins. Then in August 2009 The Miami Herald disclosed that as Alvarez was calling for shared sacrifice amid the searing economic downturn he handed large raises to close aides, including Chief of Staff Dennis Morales, whose 11 percent pay hike put his yearly salary at $206,783.