Let Kristen Rosen Gonzalez stay in Miami Beach, as voters intended

Let Kristen Rosen Gonzalez stay in Miami Beach, as voters intended
  • Sumo

The Miami Beach commission will appoint someone later this month to fill the seat of Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who was forced to resign when she ran for Congress by a Republican law aimed squarely at the Democrats in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

City commissioners should reject the GOP measure’s calculated retroactive effect and respect the voters’ wishes by appointing Rosen-Gonzalez for the remainder of her term.

And, naturally, they should reject the allegedly fixed appointment of former commissioner Joy Malakoff, who already tried to get back in the city’s employ with a $50,000-a-year job overseeing the general bond monies.

Is this a second swipe at putting her in control of those funds? Or is someone getting a guaranteed fourth vote on the commission?

Florida’s resign-to-run law only applied to state and local officials until last year, when the legislature approved a measure that would extend the limits to federal seats. This was, of course, after Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement of a District that was expected to, and eventually did, go blue. So they made the law include candidates who were elected under the old law and many observers believe it was squarely aimed at Rosen Gonzalez, who was the only Dem who had announced by then.

That was unfair already. The Miami Beach city commission has the rare opportunity to right a wrong, and send a message to Tallahassee, by keeping Kristen where she belongs.

Read related: Kristen Rosen Gonzalez wins in Miami Beach race

She may have lost the Congressional race — nobody expected her to win against Donna Shalala, who was sworn in Thursday, same day that Rosen Gonzalez’s resignation became effective — the former commissioner is a good public servant who has said some stupid things and once trusted the wrong guy. Those episodes have gotten way too much attention from all the good she has done in only three years, much of that against a block of political opponents who worked against her.

Still, she was able to bring paternal leave to city employees, outlaw plastic straws and bags and proposed and passed a city law to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual harassment.

She brought the an energy home improvement program to Beach homeowners and the Common Threads program to teach teens about obesity and eating healthy. She got Bell Isle their park, brought affordable solar to the Beach and helped a condo association get the parking lot they needed.

She also championed the next generation of leaders, forming the Miami Beach Youth Commission and the Miami Beach Youth Job Fair. She brought free test preparation for high schoolers and free drug education for teens and their parents.

In between those things she helped hold the line on over development in mid beach, successfully lowered the density and height of many projects and had uncomfortable trolleys retrofitted for senior citizens.

Several active residents and homeowner association members want to see her appointed to serve out her term.

You might think this is a no brainer. Rosen Gonzalez was elected to a four-year term by voters and should be first on the list of potential appointees. But there’s one problem: She votes her conscience. She belongs to nobody.

There are at least two commissioners — Ricky Arriola and John Elizabeth Aleman — who would feel better with their old ally back and some say the fix is in with Mayor Dan Gelber on their side so he can have a fourth vote.

Read related: Ex Miami Beach elected Joy Malakoff got, then dropped juicy $50K city job

Mayor Dan Gelber

Gelber, who wants everyone to see him as a super Democrat and ran on an ethics campaign, should do the right thing and reject the GOP agenda by leading the charge to appoint Rosen Gonzalez to her seat. It would really be a signal to his independence from the former regime that some think he is beholden to. It would be the ethical thing to do. Especially after his role in the bonds job fiasco where he voted to waive the two-year waiting period to hire Malakoff, even after she donated to his campaign.

If Gelber votes for Malakoff again on Jan. 29, Miami Beach voters should ask why.

Appointments already stink because they raise the possibility of cronyism. With Malakoff it’s practically guaranteed cronyism. After all, she is not going to vote against the commissioners who bring her on.

In fact, it doesn’t matter how many great names are on a list of people who want to replace her for the next year. The voters wanted Kristen. And anybody else would be beholden.

It’s only one more year. If the mayor or anyone else wants someone other than Rosen Gonzalez in that seat, wait for the election, like the voters intended.

11 Responses to "Let Kristen Rosen Gonzalez stay in Miami Beach, as voters intended"

  1. gustavo Chacon   January 4, 2019 at 7:16 am

    Does the Miami Beach Tax payers Deserve This Recycle Politicians That Use their job as a lather to get bigger Jobs ? I Don’t Trust Any !

  2. No fan   January 4, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Lol. Her argument is? “I turned by back on those who voted for me midterm to make a hail mary run at another job for which everyone said was a fool’s errand . Now I want my old job back.”
    Yes she says and does stupid things, makes bad decisions and trust the wrong people. In short, qualities to make an excellent career beach politician Let’s reappoint her.

    BTW Term limits and resigned to run laws are bipartisan, intended to minimize damage by political hacks who don’t know when it’s time to move on. Full disclosure Landra?? Weren’t you on her payroll?

    • Ladra   January 4, 2019 at 9:21 am

      She didn’t turn her back on anyone as she was going to represent the same people in a larger arena. And yes, she is unpolished and has put her foot in her mouth because she is not a practiced and rehearsed robot. I do like that about her. The point is she is not beholden to anyone and has actually done stuff to improve the lives of Beach residents.

      Yes I was on Team Kristen once. I am not on the payroll anymore but, lo and behold, STILL support her. Doesn’t that make it genuine? Or can’t you see past your political agenda?

      Love, Ladra

  3. Voters spoke   January 4, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Kristen should never have run for Congress in 2018. It was too soon to be that ambitious. Plus, she had her MB constituents to serve. 2019. Mark Samuelian and all the other commissioners should vote to reappoint Kristen to her seat. Voters elected her.

  4. Matilde bower   January 4, 2019 at 9:16 am

    She cares about the residents, and what impacts them which we need in this comission, claro que home owners whant her back, so do I

  5. Gonzalo Sanabria   January 4, 2019 at 10:04 am

    Kristen is a good person with abilities. Resign-to-Run Statute had widespread bipartisan support and affects any and all no matter which party affiliation and recent elections will demonstrate many incumbents resigned to run so I’m at a loss to understand this logic

  6. Ozzie   January 4, 2019 at 11:59 am

    What about Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro? He had to resign as well…and he’s not only part of the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee…but he is also a State Central Comitteeman for the Florida GOP.

  7. Ladra   January 4, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Gonzalo, it’s rather easy to understand. Ladra is for the expansion of the resign to run law also. It’s only fair that locals seeking federal office would also have to resign. You can read my blog post from October 2017 to that effect. But I am not sure it should have been retroactive to include people already elected under the old rules. And, she did resign to run. They have to appoint someone. Why not her? It makes the most sense, since voters elected her under the old rules.

    Ozzie, Bruno didn’t announce his intent to run til waaaaay after Kristen, who actually was the first and challenged IRL before she decided to retire (reading the writing on the wall). And the GOP was not concerned with forcing a Republican to resign to run. The law was meant to discourage Dems in office from risking the rest of their term… ala Jose Javier Rodriguez. It just was. Otherwise, they would have worked in a grandfather clause.

    Love, Ladra

  8. Tony & Dawn   January 4, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    …must she have had a crystal ball to know who would bid for a Congressional Seat.
    She should have the Commission seat, if she wants it.

  9. Vivian Cruz   January 4, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Understood you supported her but she WAS elected for a 4 year term and thought too cocky she’d win a district who voted for the experienced politician. She is out and no I’m not supporting Levine’s pansy Malakoff

  10. Count. LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz   January 16, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Vivian Cruz is right on both points