Recall News: Joe Carollo Loses again 0-4

Political Cortadito:

Miami’s Joe Carollo loses again; city must send recall petitions to county


Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo is 0-4 in his fight to stop the recall effort against him — a fight he wants to take all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, if they let him — after an appeals court denied his motion to keep the petitions in place while the legal process continued.

He just can’t take no for an answer.

First, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Alan Fine said no, the city clerk can’t determine whether or not the petitions meet the standard. His sole job is ministerial and he just has to forward the petitions along. A three judge panel at the Third District Court of Appeals said no to reversing that decision and ordered the city to deliver the 1,900+ petitions to the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections post haste.

Carollo and City Attorney Victoria Mendez — at a cost to taxpayers — appealed that decision, too, and the same panel of judges said nana nina. ‘We ain’t even gonna hear it.’

Read related: Joe Carollo moves on as lawyer, Miami city attorneys lose last appeal

So, Carollo took his appeal to the Florida Supreme Court and his attorney, Ben Kuehne, also filed a motion with the Third District to hold the petitions back until that process was through. On Monday, the appeals court said ‘WTF, Joe? How many times do we have to say no, dude?’

That means, unless there’s another way Carollo can block them, the petitions will head over to the county elections department this week. This week! More than three months after they were delivered to the city clerk.

Better late than never, huh?

The judges didn’t give a reason — they don’t have to — but one could argue that there is no justification to hold off. Any long shot appeal to the Supreme Court — he is Crazy Joe for reason — can happen concurrently with recall process, which still has several steps to take before Carollo’s ouster is on the ballot. The county supervisor of elections has to first verify and validate the signatures to go to phase two: Carollo gets 10 days to write a response for a new petition and recall activists get 60 days to collect almost three times as many signed petitions, or about 4,800, which then get turned over to the city and we start the whole process again. Maybe another three months?

The timing is important. The county gets 30 days to validate and it normally takes far less, but this isn’t normal. Absentee or vote-by-mail ballots for the Aug. 18 primary are coming in and going out through Aug. 10 and early voting starts Aug. 3. The elections department will be busy. If they can’t get it done before Aug. 18 — which would mean the recall people can collect signatures from los cuatro gatos that vote in person on Election Day — then it won’t be ’til at least a week after. The recall committee won’t get the voter exposure of early voting and in-person voting. And it will be difficult to put the recall on the existing November ballot anyway.

That’s why it doesn’t really matter that the Supreme Court will likely refuse to hear the case. Because it’s all a stalling tactic. Carollo wants to be able to say that there’s no reason for a costly election when he has less than a year left anyway.

Read related: Miami Commissioner Crazy Joe Carollo tries again to derail his recall in court

But, por si las moscas, he’s also taking a second track to stop the recall through a different injunction in circuit court that says not only did the recall group not file the petitions on time, but the petitions themselves were faulty because the reasons do not meat state statutory requirements and the language was only available in English. Additionally, Kuehne is challenging the process because petition gatherers were paid. They are the only petitions Florida law doesn’t allow committees to pay for the collection of.

Interestingly, Carollo is all alone on that lawsuit. No city attorney is co-counsel. So that either means that Tricky Vicky Mendez has gotten sick of her jefe’s frivolous legal BS, or she knows he’s going to lose.


“Joe has been calling the same play for years — smear your opponent, talk more loudly and bully those weaker than you,” said David Winker, one of the attorneys for the recall group. “He’s 0-4 and is going to keep losing because he can’t smear me, he can’t bully me and I’m bigger and louder than he is.”

And the fight continues.

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