Facing South Florida: Meet the New City of Miami Commissioner
By Jim DeFede
On Tuesday, Ken Russell will be elected to the Miami City Commission, replacing Marc Sarnoff.
We talk to Russell about his surprise win and his plans for the future.
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Starting Anew in D2
by Leah Weston
The bottom line: this upcoming Tuesday, November 17th, a runoff election will take place between Ken Russell and Teresa Sarnoff for the District 2 seat! We believe it is crucial for District 2 residents to participate in this election, as the legal status of the votes still remains unclear. Although prior court decisions guided the City Attorney’s legal opinion, the fact remains that this particular situation has not been tested in court. If you haven’t sent in an absentee ballot, take a few minutes and show up to your polling place on Tuesday. The mere the act of showing up announces our generation’s commitment to paying attention and participating in our city’s future. Democracy is counting on you. (No pressure).
by David Smiley
The first clear signs that the campaigns with all the money and power had erred by not giving more credence to the chances of the scion of a Miami yo-yo empire arrived in the days before the election.
One by one, in numbers that grew slowly until they couldn’t be ignored, voters from Coconut Grove, downtown and Edgewater straggled to the polls during early voting — not to support the city commissioner’s wife or the mayor’s top pick but for Ken Russell, the charismatic water sports wholesaler trailing in the polls.
Voters in District 2 should not sit out the runoff, even though the result now, is a foregone conclusion. They have a duty to go to the polls and cast a ballot, if only to maximize the clout that they have on the commission dais. Despite Ms. Sarnoff’s official withdrawal, which she submitted by letter on Tuesday, the district’s new commissioner requires a solid foundation from which to legislate, and that can only come from becoming its duly elected representative.
"So, for the Miami City Commission District 2, the Herald recommends KEN RUSSELL."
by J.J. Colagrande
This is part of the unlikely story of Ken Russell, the paddle-board wholesaler and once internationally known yo-yo player, who is now engaged in a heated and controversial run-off election against the irrefutable Ken Russell himself.
by David Smiley
There will be two names on the ballot when voters in Miami’s District 2 head to the polls Nov. 17 to select a new city commissioner, but only votes for Ken Russell will count, according to Miami’s city attorney.
In an opinion issued just hours after Teresa Sarnoff officially declared in a letter that she was withdrawing from the race, City Attorney Victoria Méndez indicated Tuesday that the city cannot halt the runoff election, but votes for Sarnoff will not be valid or publicized, essentially making Russell the city’s commissioner-elect.
But it’s still not clear whether the election will have to continue, even without an opposing candidate. The city attorney is reviewing election law and the charter.
Russell, who made his name fighting to remove all the toxic soil from Merrie Christmas Park in Coconut Grove, was thrilled by his win but told Zea he wants it fair and square.
“I was relieved to hear it, but for me it was more important that the process is followed,” said Russell.
He said he wants to save the estimated $100,000 cost of a runoff election, but is leaving it to the lawyers.
“A waste of money is never a good thing. I just want to make sure we have a clear mandate,” he said.
by David Smiley
Four days after suspending her campaign for Miami’s District 2 commission seat and throwing her support behind frontrunner Ken Russell, Teresa Sarnoff notified the city of Miami on Mondaythat she would withdraw from a Nov. 17 runoff election to finally decide a new commissioner representing downtown and Coconut Grove.
And yet, somehow, one of the strangest elections in the city’s history remained as confusing as ever, at least for one more day.
Instead of bringing closure to the election as expected, the office of Miami’s city attorney issued an opinion Monday that the city must hold a runoff election, that Sarnoff’s name must be on the ballot and that Miami’s city clerk likely cannot “accept a withdrawal at this stage of the electoral process.
By David Smiley
Absentee ballots will be mailed out Saturday for voters planning to participate in Miami’s District 2 runoff — an election in which one of the two candidates has already conceded.
Teresa Sarnoff, the wife of outgoing District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, suspended her campaign Thursday, acknowledging that opponent Ken Russell is too far ahead to even try to catch without unleashing a barrage of unsavory attacks. Sarnoff says she will withdraw from the race, but only if she’s confident the city would respond by canceling the Nov. 17 election and declaring Russell the commissioner-elect.
That, however, remained a question late Friday, even after the results from Tuesday’s election were certified. Sarnoff had not withdrawn and Miami’s city attorney had not issued a clarifying legal opinion. And so the city is, for now, preparing to host a runoff election.
“Right now we have an election. We have two candidates in a race,” City Attorney Victoria Méndez said Friday.