Miami is in the midst of the most spirited campaign-finance debate it's had in years. Barring the results of legal appeals and a counter-suit filed this week, a group of activists has forced Miami-Dade County to let its citizens vote on a measure that would cut political donations to just $250 per person. If the bill passes, it will likely lessen the stranglehold the wealthy have over Miami's political climate.
But not everyone agrees: During a meeting last week, many county commissioners, including Jose "Pepe" Diaz, asked why Miami-Dade should bother reforming its campaign-donation laws right now.
A study the civil-rights think-tank Demos released yesterday answers that exact question: According to Demos' figures, the people who donate to Miami political campaigns are disproportionately non-Hispanic white, rich, and male, despite the fact that Miami is a Latino-dominated town.
The study's author, Sean McElwee, tells New Times the results suggest county politicians are far more responsive to the concerns of Miami's wealthy non-Hispanic whites than they are to the majority of the city's residents.