News: Miami Beach Commission Candidates Leave Bower’s Group; New Candidate Joins

It’s elections like these that max out the capacity of cliched musical-chair analogies. The SunPost won’t add to it, but two candidates switched groups last week, and a new candidate appeared.

Sherry Kaplan Roberts and Michael Grieco abandoned Group 3 for Group 1 and Group 2 respectively.

By leaving the group Roberts and Grieco no longer have to compete with current Mayor Matti Bower for a seat. Bower herself made some ripples earlier this year when she entered the race relatively late. At that time David Crystal was also in Group 3, he has since moved to challenge incumbent Jorge Exposito in Group 2.

Bower has won her last five elections, the latter ones by big numbers.

Roberts told the SunPost this week that she didn’t change groups to avoid Bower, but to avoid the distraction of Bower’s run.

Some believe the Mayor has found a loop hole in the charter that allows her to run in perpetuity. According to the charter a commissioner has a term limit of two consecutive terms (a total of 8 years) while a mayor has a limit of three terms(a total of 6 years). The charter however does not cap the total amount of years a person can hold office, so in theory a person can go from mayor to commissioner to mayor without violating the charter.

Roberts believes Bower is violating the “spirit” of the law, but does not want this issue to cloud her run and other causes.

Crystal cited to the SunPost his fatigue of the Bower-Issue as one of the main reasons for leaving the group. The last time Crystal faced Bower in a Mayoral race he only received 13% to her 60% of the vote.

The election before that one Bower won with 76% of the vote.

Although the mayor has tremendous name recognition, and a winning percentage, the political landscape has changed. Over the last year plus, Miami Beach has been hit with one scandal after another that may prove costly to a sitting figurehead.

Bower filed a waiver in place of her campaign’s second quarter financial report, so a tangible measure of her base support could not be determined.

Joining Bower in Group 3 is new candidate Joy Malakoff. She filed after Roberts and Grieco left to their other races.

Joshua Dunkelman is also in Group three. According to the last filed report Dunkelman has raised $35,819.47.

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