(Scroll down for full election results in the City of Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah, and Homestead.)
Miami Beach residents want Ocean Drive to remain Ocean Drive, cocaine-addled, neon-painted warts and all. City residents this month were tasked with voting on one of the most drastic changes to Miami Beach life pitched in decades: Rolling back last-call on Miami’s most infamous party street from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m., in a move that would have kneecapped the party scene at some of the city’s most famous bars, including Mango’s Tropical Café and the Clevelander.
With 23 of 24 precincts reporting, “No” votes were winning by a nearly two-to-one margin, roughly 7,000 to 4,000. The failure is a blow to current mayor and gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine, who almost single-handedly pushed the measure onto the ballot. But bar owners and local residents immediately questioned the move. Levine pitched the rollback as a solution to the city’s “crime problem,” which Police Chief Dan Oates later disputed with actual crime statistics.
Moreover, bars including the Clevelander complained that the rollback would do little but harm their business and turn Miami Beach into a tamer, less unique town. Ocean Drive’s bar community staged protests outside the city’s last commission meeting in late October.
Elsewhere, there were no real surprises: Miami Beach’s new mayor is Dan Gelber, a solid-if-unexciting mayoral candidate and former Democratic state legislator who pledged to keep fighting against sea-level-rise and corruption. He mostly won by laying low. His high-flying opponent, Commissioner Michael Grieco, was forced to drop out after getting tied to an illegal political-action committee. He pleaded no-contest to charges that he instructed an illegal Norwegian “straw donor” to donate money illegally through a third-party.
Unsurprisingly, City Commission Candidate Rafael Velasquez got trounced following a sexual-harassment scandal. Current City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez says…