Spence-Jones Won't Be Suspended for at Least Four Days

Categories: News
spencejones018.jpg
Photo by Erik Maza
Michelle Spence-Jones talks to the press after she was declared the winner with 53 percent of the vote.
Click here to view photos as we followed Michelle Spence-Jones on campaign day.

The morning after suspended Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones won a special election and delivered a defiant speech to supporters, her lawyer Dennis Bedard headed to court.

He asked a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge for an emergency hearing. Bedard wants a temporary injunction to stop Gov. Charlie Crist from removing Spence-Jones a second time. She filed a lawsuit January 4 seeking to prevent the governor's action. Bedard is hoping for a hearing as early as this week. "Our entire case rests on that injunction prohibiting the governor from suspending her," Bedard said.

Aides said Spence-Jones is also trying to persuade the American Civil Liberties Union to join her suit on behalf of voters.

It'll be at least four days until the uncertainty of Spence-Jones's win is settled, but for her supporters, the 53 percent blowout (Rev. Richard Dunn received 16 percent) represents a vindication.

And there's something else: For her volunteers, the majority of whom are women, there's added pride in electing a black woman to this office. "It's not just she's a woman; she's a young black woman," said Lavern Elie.

Spence-Jones, the first woman on the city commission in 20 years, took pride in Elie's comment. "There's so many challenges women in my community have had to endure. To see me elected is a victory for them as well."

Others also supported Spence-Jones. At her campaign headquarters on election night were developer (and Genius Grant winner) Otis Pitts Jr.; former commissioner Angel Gonzalez, whose District 1 seat was taken by former commissioner Willy Gort last night; and Anthony Tate, president of People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, a local black grass-roots organization.

"I admire the things she did for her district and her people," Gonzalez said, sounding vindicated. "She deserves my being here supporting her." Gonzalez added that the Governor can't suspend Spence-Jones until her swearing in, which is scheduled to happen Saturday at noon.

At a press conference this morning, Crist said he remained committed to issuing an executive order suspending Spence-Jones again.

Responded Spence-Jones: "We are not going to allow Crist, [Mayor Tomas] Regalado, or the City of Miami to disrespect these voters."


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