Thursday, December 07, 2006
Miami Dade Commisioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz wins his Third "Poopy Head" Hat!
Somehow it escaped MVB that Miami-Dade county commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz introduced two ordinances that basically make it more difficult for citizens to petition their government. The first one is the "anti-lying" ordinance (passed by a 11-2 vote) which makes it a criminal offense for petitioners to intentionally lie to induce voters to sign a petition. On the surface, it seems like a good idea. Digging a little deeper reveals a major flaw: how can you prove the "lying" is intentional. Maybe the petitioner is just ill-informed. Or didn't express him or herself correctly. What really matters is how the petition is worded. MVB believes it puts another undue burden on those who want to petition their government. Besides, there are already state laws giving prosecutors legal means to fight petition fraud.
The other ordinance (passed 12-1) requires a separate piece of paper for every signature and allows people to remove their names after15-days. MVB believes this puts an undue financial and bureaucratic burden upon the petitioning group and, although it may not seem unconstitutional in this third world government, it reeks of unconstitutionality outside it.
Tuesday, commissioner Diaz twisted the knife in a little deeper when he introduced another bill that would allow only registered voters to circulate petitions and collect signatures as well as requiring petitions be translated into Spanish and Creole. Basically, instead of having a choice to hire professional companies to run your petition campaign that reside outside the county, petitioners would be forced to shop from an artificially reduced pool of limited resources that could lead to rising costs for the petitioners, costs that might make your right to petition cost prohibitive and limit your effectiveness. Translating petitions into three languages that require one summary page per signature escalates the cost of everyone's right to petition their government and seems unnecessary and unfair. It also begs the question, where will it stop? There is a large Russian speaking population in northeast Dade. Shouldn't there be a Russian language translation? What about our large Portuguese speaking population? Shouldn't they be included too? It looks like Diaz-- and the commissioners that voted in favor of these ideas-- is hiding behind the appearance of doing the right thing for the people at their expense, i.e., he's smiling perversely when telling you it's for your own good while usurping your rights with a freedom flushing enema. For that, we happily bestow his third "Poopy Head" hat. He now has risen to the "Top o' the Heap" with commissioner Seijas and has been given a new nickname: Jose "Poopy" Diaz.
Because they backed these ideas, the rest of the Miami-Dade county commission also earns another "Poopy Head" hat. The only one "Poopy Head" hat free is Commissioner Katy Sorenson who has managed to refrain from stealing citizen rights by voting against these cockamamied ideas every time they come up. For that, MVB has something special planned because we believe in recognizing the positive as well as the negative when it comes to local politics. Stay tuned.
Posted by Verticus Erectus at 1:29 PM