Rebeca Sosa, representing the wealthy and populous District 11 of Miami-Dade County, was sworn in on Friday as the first Hispanic chairwoman in the history of the County's Board of Commissioners. Sosa is taking over a job left by former mayoral candidate Joe Martinez, who relinquished a reelection at the Commission to run - in vain - for the office of county mayor back in January 2012.
Present at the inauguration were Florida Governor Rick Scott, often criticized for his disregard of the most famous area of the Sunshine State, as well as Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a personal friend of Sosa. In fact, Rubio swore the new chairwoman in at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, in Miami.
The job that awaits Rebeca Sosa is not large. Not at all. Her actual duties are limited to naming committee chairs, and other ceremonial jobs that do not influence citizens whatsoever. Sosa should understand that, especially since she has been working as a Commissioner representing the City of Miami, West Miami, Coral Gables, Hialeah, and Miami Springs since 2001.
This is in theory, however. In reality, she plans on using her new position, which she won by only one vote, as a bully pulpit for pro-union, pro-government, pro-corruption, and anti-liberty reforms. She has already claimed that one of her main focus as chairwoman will be "fiscal cliff fallout", an obscure term designed by politicians to raise taxes, subsidize allies, and increase spending throughout the country.
She also wants to focus on the water and sewage system renewal plan as part of the several capital improvement projects she plans to support. Of course, further privatization and other free market ideas are not even to be considered during her term.
For years, Rebeca Sosa, a registered Republican in a non-partisan office, has been sponsoring legislation restricting freedom on a regular basis. She supported the county subsidy to the millionaire Marlins team for a new stadium that could have been built without any tax rebate, cash handout, etc.
She not only favored, but also sponsored bills criminalizing the sale and possession of bath salts following the pointless scare after the "Miami Zombie Attack"last year, as well as harmless synthetic cannabinoids. She's brought in more than once her special interest donors into the legislative arena, often calling on votes to subsidize several companies.
True, she did oppose the property tax rate increase of former Mayor Carlos Alvarez, but so did most other politicians using the moment as a way to boost their popularity.
Rebeca Sosa is more recently credited for pushing through the popular referendum that finally put term limits on county commissioners. But this move only comes after six terms and eleven years in office, which goes to show that her "commitment" to term limits was not so clean after all. And as if that wasn't enough, she is a noted opponent to absentee voting, a practice that has given millions of citizens a chance to participate in elections nationwide.
The unfortunate part is what makes Miami-Dade County so poorly managed. Despite all of these negative aspects, Rebeca Sosa was the better choice in the race for leadership. The other candidate, Barbara Jordan, who lost the position with the first vote of 7-6, has often made the news controversially.
A few months ago, she complained about the level of transparency in county government: she considered it too high and wanted to take public salaries information out of the reach of people. More recently, Jordan lobbied the State and federal governments to push tough gun restrictions.
In other words, Miami-Dade County is bound to keep its downturn going. The political establishment, protected by local unions, special interests, and corrupted officials, has made Miami one of the worst-run cities in the United States and Miami-Dade one of the most corrupted counties in Florida. Rebeca Sosa is part of this establishment and her access to management is only going to bring in the same disappointments to the millions of people living in and around the Magic City.