Morales To Ask County To Put Aviation Authority On August Ballot
By Shannon Pettypiece
Jimmy Morales plans to ask fellow Miami-Dade County commissioners to let voters decide whether airports should remain in commission hands or be turned over to an independent board.
An independent authority would assume day-to-day operations at Miami International and the county’s four other airports.
"My message to my colleagues is going to be that whether you agree with (an aviation authority) or not, it is certainly worth going to the community," Commissioner Morales said Tuesday.
If the commission refuses to put an aviation authority on the ballot, the referendum could still go forward with signatures from 4% of registered voters.
Commissioner Morales said the referendum he will propose in January will follow a plan drafted by an ad hoc group. In November, the commission considered an aviation authority as proposed by that group, but the plan was withdrawn for lack of support.
"It represented a good middle ground on a lot of issues," Commissioner Morales said. "I think it was a good proposal."
If sent to voters Aug. 31, the aviation authority referendum would share the ballot with the county’s mayoral primaries, in which Commissioner Morales is a candidate.
With his eye on the mayor’s seat, Commissioner Morales said he hopes his support of an aviation authority would demonstrate his determination to reform government.
"I think this will further what people already know about me, which is that I try to think of what is best for government and the community," he said. "I think leadership is taking the next step."
Aviation Director Angela Gittens supports Commissioner Morales’ moves toward a referendum.
"I would think they would want to use what the ad hoc committee came up, Ms. Gittens said Tuesday, "that was a commission-created committee."