THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
ELECTION CENTRAL 2010 – COUNTY COURT
Good afternoon loyal readers. The polls have been open for one week now and according to Miami-Dade’s Election Chief, voter turnout so far is light. You can exercise your constituitonal right to vote by absentee ballot, or, by showing up at a polling cite between now and Election Day during Early Voting, or, you can wait until Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Election Day.
In Miami-Dade County, voters will cast ballots in four contested judicial elections. Last week, we covered the two Circuit Court races. Today, let’s review the first contested race for County Court.
In the County Court, Group 7, incumbent Judge Edward Newman faces off against challenger Manuel “Manny” Alvarez.
JUDGE EDWARD NEWMAN
He has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1987. He was first elected to the bench in 1994. Those of you old enough to remember will recall that Judge Newman actually attempted to run for Judge in 1992. Only problem: the Florida Constitution says that you must be an attorney for five years before you can qualify to run for Judge; at the time, Newman was not.
Newman, like Circuit Court candidate Robert Kuntz, took up law as a second career. Newman played college football at Duke and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1973 in the sixth round. He played 12 years with the Fins, went to three Super Bowls, won one (in his rookie season) and made the Pro Bowl four times as an offensive lineman. During his final season as a pro, Newman began taking night classes at the UM law school. He graduated with his law degree three years later.
His entire 16-year career on the bench has been in County Court. And, it seems from reading this blog recently, that our readers either love him or hate him. He certainly has his own way of doing things, and Coral Gables attorney and JNC member Gonzalo Dorta learned that when he appeared before Newman on March 24, 2010 on an LSA case. Although the State eventually Nolle Prossed the case on the day of trial, many of you have already read the transcript of the colloquy that took place between the Judge and Dorta’s two attorneys: Robert Pertierra and Al Milian. (To see the transcript, take a look back at Rumpole's August 4, 2010 post on this blog). To some, Newman's judicial demeanor was unacceptable; to others, it was just Newman being Newman.
Judge Newman has raised $184,000. Of that, $110,000 is his own money. Judge Newman had a good quarter (April 1 - July 16) and raised $40,300. Some of his $500 contributors include: Best & Associates, Leinoff & Lemos, Jaurequi & Jaurequi, Robert Reiff, Simon Steckel, Eric Stupel, Scott Hidnert, Ron Book, and Mark Seiden.
He has spent $91,000 so far, including spending over $51,000 in just the past couple of weeks. Most of that money ($48,000) went to Creative Ideas Advertising (Maritza Gutierrez; yes she is related to Armando), for direct mail, yard signs, palm cards, etc. He has also paid at least two consultants: Armando Gutierrez has been paid $13,000 and Nelson Horta has received $1,000.
NOTABLE EXPENSES: I noticed three very questionable expenses: On July 2, Newman spent $343.35 at Sports Authority for “Miami Dolphin momentos for fundraiser hats and footballs”. On July 4, Newman went back to Sports Authority and spent another $53.60 for the same thing. And on July 9, Newman billed his campaign for $318.32 for a charge at Cubavera for “Guaybera shirts as consideration for player appearance". Now, the way I read that is Newman had to buy some fancy shirts for one or more of his former Fins football players in order to get them to show up at a fundraiser. Is that a permissible expense to charge to your campaign???
You can visit Judge Newman's web site here.
MANUEL “MANNY” ALVAREZ
He has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1986. During his more than 24 years of practicing law, Manny has been an Assistant Public Defender in Miami for almost 20 years. He twice hung out his own shingle: going solo from 1989-1992 and with the law firm of Gonzalez (Silvia-his wife) & Alvarez from 2005-2007. He returned to the PD’s office for his most recent stint in 2007.
During his career at the PD’s office, Alvarez has handled everything from Juvenile cases through capital murder cases. He is currently First Chair Death Qualified. Alvarez is also an accomplished appellate attorney having authored over 800 appeals with over 200 published opinions. He has argued before the Florida Supreme Court eight (8) times.
Recently, the DBR covered a story concerning the 1992 arrest of Alvarez on two charges: Carrying a Concealed Firearm and Violation of DV Restraining Order (F91-18321). The allegations centered around Alvarez’ mother calling police and informing them that Alvarez was at her home in violation of a restraining order she’d obtained against him (91-22003-FC-04*). Alvarez entered a PTI Diversion program, completed it successfully and all charges were dismissed. (*According to the online docket, it appears that the DV Order was dismissed 39 days after it was filed).
Some in our legal community have posed that Dorta, Pertierra, Milian and others urged Alvarez to file against Newman because of the way he handled the Dorta case. Alvarez denies these allegations; although he did file his papers with the Division of Elections to run for Judge on March 30, 2010 just three weeks before the deadline, (and six days after the Dorta hearing).
Alvarez has raised a total of $40,800. Of that, only $1,000 is a loan from Manny. Maximum $500 contributors include: Rob Pertierra, Alberto Milian, Gonzalo Dorta, Gonzalo Dorta PA, Matias Dorta PA, Gamba & Lombana, Rene Sotorrio, and Arnold Trevilla.
Alvarez has spent a total of $17,100 so far. He paid $1,000 to consultant Janell Amador, $1,000 to Stephanie Warnell, and $1,000 to Willing Campaigns, Inc (Julio Perez).
You can visit Alvarez’s web site here.
The Miami Herald has endorsed Judge Newman. Who do our readers and bloggers think should wear the robe? Let's hear from you!
CAPTAIN OUT .....