I am one of the founding members of the Pets’ Trust. Starting in 2011 many fellow animal lovers and I worked very hard to convince the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Commission to fund a program that would focus on spaying and neutering the homeless animals in our county. These elected officials unanimously agreed to fund these programs if voters first agreed to a small property tax increase by approving the plan through a referendum. So we worked even harder to campaign for the Pets’ Trust referendum. And on November 6, 2012, the voters approved, two-to-one. The Pets’ Trust referendum won—by a landslide!
But then only a few months later the Mayor and most of the Commissioners refused to fund the Pets’ Trust. They broke their unanimous promises and ignored our voices, just like they ignored, and continue to ignore, our many homeless animals. They said instead they would take care of the animals without the tax increase and find ways to increase the budget for their Animal Services department. Five years later, they’ve done very little with their increased budget.
Watch the Pets’ Trust story
I’ve had a lot of time to think about what happened and why it happened, and I’m convinced it’s all because of politics. Too many elected officials want to control the money, simply because it brings them power. Too many have cared more about what’s important to special interest groups than what’s important to ordinary citizens. Too many have cared more about their own re-election than what’s best for constituents. Too many seem to have supported fellow Commissioners’ projects, not because they agree with the projects, but to curry favor with the sponsoring Commissioners in hopes of gaining future, similar support.
But something has changed that has convinced me that we have a good chance of finally getting the Pets’ Trust funded. One key rule has changed: new term limits are in place for the Mayor and the Commissioners which will have their first real impact at the August 18, 2020 election. That’s the day when we will turn the page to a new chapter in our county’s history; it’s the beginning of a new era when our leaders will no longer be permanent. That’s the day when NEW TERM LIMITS will force the Mayor and five Commissioners out of office. We’ll be voting for Mayor and eight Commissioners (two are expected to run for re-election, and one is expected to replace a Commissioner who is running for Mayor). The current Mayor and five of the 13 incumbent Commissioners will not be on the ballot; they can’t be on the ballot because their terms have reached their limits.
This rule change creates an unprecedented opportunity to create a brand new Commission majority in a single election.
Now is the time to start working for our new, responsive government—a government that will listen to ordinary citizens and follow the will of the voters.
So how do we do this? We have to find nine good people to endorse: a Mayor plus eight Commissioners. Let’s call them our good people. People who are committed to doing what’s right. People who will be transparent in all that they do. People who will take our calls, agree to meet with us and return our emails. People who will regularly come out into our community and listen to our concerns and ideas. People who will be more responsive to ordinary citizens than to special interest groups. People who will follow the will of the voters. People who will fund the Pets’ Trust.
Because Commissioners must live in the district they serve, eight of our good people must each live in one of the eight districts (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13) on the ballot.
Next, just like we did with the Pets’ Trust referendum, we have to work hard to win on election day; we have to work hard to get our eight good people elected. The primary election is August 18, 2020. The clock is ticking.
To get this started, my friend Marivi Betancourt and I formed PAGE2020, a political action committee.
PAGE2020 stands for People, Animals & Government Ethics
This is an organization focused on finding and supporting our good people. Specifically, the donations that PAGE2020 receives will be used to advocate for the candidates we support and criticize the candidates we oppose.
We need your donations, help and good ideas. We need help with fundraising. We need help finding our good people to run. If we can’t find our own seven good candidates for the Commission, then we’ll meet with the other candidates on the ballot and try to convince each of them to pledge to support our ideals, including pledging to fund the Pets’ Trust. Well before the election we want to be able to endorse a candidate for each of the seven Commission seats plus the Mayor’s office. Then, we’ll use the donations we’ve acquired to educate the voters on our choices. In 2012 the voters overwhelmingly approved a small tax increase to fund the Pets’ Trust, now we need to get those same voters to elect our good people into the Commission seats with the authority to finally fund the Pets’ Trust.
Let me be clear. PAGE2020 is separate from the Pets’ Trust. Yes, I started PAGE2020 because I want the Pets’ Trust funded. But PAGE2020 stands for much more. We deserve good, honest, transparent representatives. Representatives who will seek out and squash corruption. Representatives who will be responsive to the people. The Pets’ Trust may have been the impetus for PAGE2020, but PAGE2020 stands for People, Animals & Government Ethics.
Please, spread this message, do what you can, always speak for the animals who can’t speak for themselves,
Thank you again,