News, Politics

Commission Meeting Ends in Shouting

Pardo Calls for Mayor Suarez to Resign

Thanks largely to the newly elected city commissioners—Miguel Gabela from District 1 and Damian Pardo from District 2—City Hall, on Pan American Drive in Coconut Grove, is on track to be a more exciting place than it’s been in years. The new commissioners’ first full commission meeting on Thurs., Dec. 14, ended in a shouting match between Gabela and long-time Miami politician Joe Carollo (District 3).

Gabela had placed items on the agenda that would address the February 2022 commission vote to redistrict the city, which “surgically” cut Gabela’s house out of District 1. That could have prevented him from challenging District 1 Commissioner Alex Diza de la Portilla, who, earlier this year, was charged with illegal political activity and bribery, leading to his removal from the City Commission by the Governor. “ADLP” still ran to reclaim his seat, but he lost to Gabela, who moved temporarily to another home he owned in the district and who also won a court decision allowing him to continue his campaign.

On Dec. 14, the Commission never got to Gabela’s two items because chair Christine King (District 5) brought the meeting to an abrupt halt after the high-volume exchange between Gabela and Carollo. The two items were deferred to the next meeting, which will be held in Jan. 2024. Another item with acrimony potential, also deferred to the first meeting in January, was a resolution to fire City Attorney Vicky Méndez.

Since the Dec. 14 meeting, a flurry of Miami Herald articles about corruption in the City of Miami, including a detailed exposé of questionable, possibly illegal, behavior by Mayor Francis Suarez, inspired Commissioner Pardo to issue a public call for Suarez’ resignation. Both Gabela and Pardo ran on platforms promising a new era in Miami to clean up corruption.

To view the shouting match on the official City of Miami recording of the Dec. 14 meeting, click on the following link and go directly to 2 hrs. 20 min. For 13 minutes, Commissioner Gabela explains how he believes he was cheated by the City Commission. After he rests his case, the shouting match starts at 2 hrs. 33 min. At 2 hrs. 36 min., in the midst of shouting, the sound is suddenly stopped. After a lunch break, the Commission reconvened and deferred the remaining items to January 2024. To view the video, click here.

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