THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
EARLY VOTING CONTINUES ...
UPDATED BELOW. One of our loyal readers took photos of several signs around town all showing Blumstein in his Navy uniform. One of those signs is shown below.
Circuit Court Group 34
Judge Mark Blumstein vs. Ariel Rodriguez
Mark Blumstein (I)
Judge Blumstein ran for the Circuit Court bench in 2016 in a four way contest. In the primary he came in first ahead of attorney Luis Perez-Medina. In the general election he defeated Perez-Medina 51% to 49%. This will be his second election campaign.
Judge Blumstein has a Net Worth of $2,877,273. His salary according to his financial disclosure is $132,384; (this must be a typo as a Circuit Court Judge is paid roughly $165,000). Blumstein also reports an additional $77,300 in rental property income. He has raised $199,571 from a total of 397 contributors. He has loaned his campaign a total of $60,000. He has so far spent a total of $88,111 on his campaign.
He has been a Member of The Florida Bar for 23 years. He is employed by DOJ, Office of the US Trustee as a trial attorney in Bankruptcy court.
Attorney Rodriguez has a Net Worth of $1,606,772. He is paid $156,854 by the U.S.D.O.J. He has raised $59,651 from a total of 206 contributors. He has loaned his campaign a total of $17,233. He has spent a total of $56,772 on his campaign to date.
The “big” controversy in this campaign is similar to the one in 2016 when then candidate Blumstein plastered campaign posters all over the County with photographs of him dressed in his Navy uniform; (Blumstein spent 20 years in the Navy as a JAG). According to several of our readers this violates the Department of Defense rules as it could lead a voter to assume that the Navy was endorsing Blumstein. According to the DOD, the Defense Department directive bans the use of an image in uniform as a “primary graphic representation” on a campaign ad.
In 2022, some of our readers have indicated that Blumstein continues to violate that same DOD directive. We checked the Blumstein For Judge web site and there does not appear to be any photos of Blumstein in a navy uniform (or hat). We also checked his Facebook Blumstein for Judge page and could not find anything. We did locate one video Blumstein is running where he does discuss his past including his service to our country. The video ends with a screen shot of Blumstein wearing his Navy hat. (See the video here). We also found an announcement for a radio show Blumstein participated in from June 12. The announcement includes a photo of Blumstein, in his Navy hat (and it appears, his uniform).
In contrast, Ariel Rodriguez's extra-curricular activities include his being a high school and college football referee for almost a decade. And a check of his web site ARodriguez4Judge does have a photo of him in his referee uniform. A check with the FHSAA does not find any rules prohibiting the wearing of the referee uniform in a campaign ad. You can find the web site by going here.
Of particular note, the Miami Herald Editorial Board did endorse the challenger, Ariel Rodriguez. The Herald pointed out that Blumstein has been reversed no less than 14 times by the appellate court. As just one example cited, “Blumstein empanelled a six-person jury in a murder case in which both defense and prosecution — which rarely act in concert — filed an emergency writ, insisting that the case required a jury of 12. The appellate court decided they were right, and the ruling was reversed.”
The Editorial Board stated: “ ... our conversations with disinterested legal professionals led us to question the degree to which Blumstein is steeped in the law, or taking the time to educate himself before making rulings. Judges are obligated to do their homework as the law evolves or as legislative decisions change the law. Again, it’s a matter of the quality of his rulings and knowledge of the law. Despite his long experience, we are concerned he’s getting the legal basics wrong.”.
Two recent Bar Polls were released, one from the Miami-Dade Bar (MDB)and the other from the Cuban American Bar (CABA). In the MDB, attorneys were asked which candidate is the Most Qualified. The final result was: Blumstein 50% and Rodriguez 50%. In the CABA Poll, attorneys were asked to rate the Qualifications of each candidate as Exceptionally Qualified, Satisfactory, and Unqualified. Blumstein’s scores were 10%, 36%, and 41%. Rodriguez scored out at 26%, 31%, and 17%.
We would be interested in hearing from our readers as to their experiences appearing before Judge Blumstein and any interaction they may have had with Ariel Rodriguez.