A fledgling attempt to recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez entered an early paperwork phase this week, with its organizer creating a committee to back the challenge.
Retired firefighter Jack Garcia is heading the effort, joined by a group of college students involved in local politics. The campaign has a Facebook page with 2,800 likes, a new website, recallgimenez.com, and now a political committee called "A Better Dade."
Hand-written forms creating A Better Dade were filed with county election officials Wednesday, and a County Hall press conference inaugurating the push is set for noon on Monday.
"There's no billionaire here,'' Garcia, 55, said in reference to Norman Braman, the auto magnate who successfully led (and funded) the 2011 recall effort against Gimenez's predecessor, Carlos Alvarez. "I'm a novice in all this."
In a statement, Gimenez's chief spokesman said the mayor "refuses to be distracted by a recall effort."
"The previous mayor was recalled in part because he raised taxes in order to fund salary and benefit increases for union workers,'' wrote Mike Hernandez, Gimenez's communications chief. "Mayor Gimenez has not increased tax rates and has held the line on employee salaries and benefits."
Garcia entered the media spotlight this summer when his adult son died in a July 4 boating accident off Biscayne Bay. He had been a leading critic of Miami-Dade not funding a dedicated squad for the county's largest fireboat. Garcia suggested in a press conference shortly after the accident that having the vessel in the water might have helped find any survivors not killed on impact.