Saturday, October 12, 2002

Goddamn it. What's the point? The fix is in. It's so obvious what's going on but the media just sleeps.

Walkout prevents vote on monitors
6 commissioners oppose oversight of Nov. 5 polling

Silently and in unison, six Cuban-American Miami-Dade County commissioners abandoned the commission chambers Thursday, effectively blocking a plan to bring to the Nov. 5 election outside monitors who usually oversee polling in troubled countries.

Those who want the monitors say their presence may be the only way to restore credibility to the county's election system following the disastrous Sept. 10 primary. But opponents say it's embarrassing to Miami-Dade.

The highly unusual simultaneous departure just before a public hearing on the issue left the commission without a quorum and forestalled any vote on whether to contract the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy to oversee the Nov. 5 vote.

The 13-member body needs seven commissioners present to be able to take action. After the six left, six who support using monitors remained. One commissioner, who is about to leave office, was absent from the meeting.

''It looks like an exodus to me,'' said Commissioner Betty Ferguson, one of those remaining. ``I think it's a deliberate walkout, and I feel insulted.''

Community activists -- many concerned about what they believe was the disenfranchisement of black voters in recent elections -- were stunned.

Many had sat through several hours of a zoning meeting because of a scheduling glitch to wait for discussion of the monitors.

''This is Third World politics,'' said Max Rameau, a member of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition. ``You have a government with questions about its legitimacy. And instead of trying to alleviate those questions, they're reinforcing those questions. This is encouraging people not to vote.''

What a freaking joke. And, they're just getting warmed up for '04.