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Dennis the Moderate

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Come January, expect to see a new dynamic take shape on the Miami-Dade County Commission when Dennis Moss becomes chairman. For one, Natacha Seijas will no longer have influence over the selection of committee chairs and assignments. Each of the last three commission chairs, from Barbara Carey-Shuler to Joe Martinez to Bruno Barreiro, forged alliances with Seijas to snag one of the most powerful positions in the county. The result was Seijas getting plum assignments chairing commission committees in charge of zoning, development, and daily operations.

This time around, Moss won without Seijas by building a coalition with some of his more sensible colleagues, such as Katy Sorenson and Carlos Gimenez, who, unlike Seijas, are not beholden to special interests like the Latin Builders Association. And that is a good thing for county residents. Indeed, Moss has shown he is not all about business as usual at county hall when he voted to hold the line against developers who want to build on land the commission has deemed off-limits for construction.

Recently he was responsible for holding the town meeting where he and Mayor Carlos Alvarez admitted the county screwed up the half-penny transit tax, as well as opposing Barreiro's dubious plan to get rid of a county law that bars lobbyists and contractors bidding on contracts from contacting county administrators and employees during the competitive process. "He will project a good image of the commission," Gimenez says. "With Dennis, it is about the issues and not about personality."

-- Francisco Alvarado

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