Jeffrey Lampert, Mayoral Candidate, Threatened with Arrest for Attending Debate

Categories: Politicks
Jeffrey Lampert.jpg
Local 10
Jeffrey Lampert says debate organizers threatened to have him arrested if he showed up for a debate.
When Carlos Alvarez was booted from office on March 15, the largest local recall election in U.S. history sent a clear message to the Miami establishment: no more inside-the-beltway politics. Six weeks later, however, that lesson seems already forgotten.

Yesterday, the Miami Foundation held a debate at UM between those vying to replace Alvarez, but the organization only invited six of the 11 candidates. When two of those excluded complained, one was threatened with arrest if he showed up; another was told she needed The Miami Herald to prove her candidacy was serious.

"What a fix!" said Jeffrey Lampert, the fireman threatened with arrest. "I've been so discriminated against in this campaign, it's mind boggling."

Lampert admits that he's a "long shot" to become Miami-Dade mayor, but says he wasn't expecting to be shut out of the debates altogether. He didn't even learn of the March 25 Latin Builders Association debate until he read about it in the newspaper the next day. So when he realized he wasn't included in The Miami Foundation's debate either, he called organizer Jay Lundy.

"I asked him why I had been excluded, and Jay said: 'Frankly, we based it on campaign contributions,'" Lampert says. "But I made a moral and conscientious decision not to accept contributions when I entered the race."

Lampert says Lundy was unmoved by his explanation. When the candidate said he would show up anyways, Lundy said he would be removed by the police.

"It's ridiculous that after 13 years of police work, SWAT duty, many awards as a fireman, going to Iraq, and being an active part of this community for so long, somebody would tell me that I'm going to be arrested if I show up to a debate," Lampert said.

He says Lundy called him last night to tell him he could participate in the debate. When he showed up, however, he was still treated like a second class candidate. Lundy could not be reached for comment.

"When I arrived, they had us scheduled in alphabetical order," Lampert says. "But when we walked out, they rearranged the names and put the six candidates originally invited in the center."

"They didn't even ask us questions in the beginning," he says. "Every fourth question they would throw us a bone."

Gabrielle Redfern.jpg
redfernformayor.com
Gabrielle Redfern
Lampert isn't the only candidate pissed off about the debate. When Miami Beach bike advocate Gabrielle Redfern asked why she had been excluded, the Miami Foundation's Nancy Jones emailed her: "The Foundation considered a private opinion poll, amount of money raised and whether or not candidates have or will be profiled in The Miami Herald's series of candidate profiles."

But Redfern says the criteria are bogus: when the debate was organized, only three candidates even had campaign bank accounts established, so how could the foundation assess their fund-raising?

And when Redfern asked to see the poll -- or even who conducted it -- she was refused. Finally, when she told debate organizers that her Herald interview was scheduled for the day of the debate, they asked her to prove it by having the news reporter call them.

Like Lampert, Redfern and the other three candidates were ultimately allowed into the debate. Jones, from the Miami Foundation, seems to think the debate worked out swimmingly.

"We originally invited top six candidates according to a private poll," she said. "Then we were approached by other candidates. We were happy to let them attend."

But Redfern says the show was heavily stacked against lesser-known candidates. Case in point: the five candidates only allowed on stage at the last minute (Lampert, Redfern, Wilbur B. Bell, Farid A. Khavar, and Eddie Lewis) had much less time to prepare for questions than the six originally invited (Roosevelt Bradley, Luther Campbell, Jose "Pepe" Cancio, Carlos Gimenez, Marcelo Llorente, and Julio Robaina).

"We all hoped that in wake of the recall, we would have received a more level playing field," Redfern said.

"No wonder people are looking at us like a Banana Republic," Lampert echoed.

Alvarez may be gone, but some things in Miami never change.

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8 comments
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Constitutionalmama
Constitutionalmama

Ultimately i will speak on behalf of my voting family, and my voting community. Lampart will be one of the best three candidates to vote for and will be highly recommended by his South Florida residents. Why, because we shall no longer vote for pretty faces in high places who have failed us time and again. Once they get into office, they shut the doors on their constituents. Their eyes become glued to the grand prize, their corporate buddies and business like the Miami Herald. Families and registered voters, now is the time to wake up and smell the coffee. Vote for an honest government, don't vote for lawyers, nor pretty faced politians, nor those who have failed us in the past. Do a research on each candidate, the internet is your freind. Vote for change. If you want to know who the best candidate is, tell them to sign our form; a sworn affidavit that demands that they will not lie, cheat or steal from their community, not engage in a partnership outside of their political dutty an htat they promise to defend and uphold our constituion while in office. I will served each one with this form.

Vanessa Brito
Vanessa Brito

Regardless of people's personal views on the candidates, I don't think it is right to exclude anyone who has qualified from participating in a debate. Serious or not, if you qualify then you have a right - just as all of us who are registered to vote have a right to choose who gets our vote. ~Vanessa Brito (personal view)

Constitutional Mama
Constitutional Mama

I am with you on that one, everyone should have a fair chance. And the Miami Herald should not be the influence as to what candidates are to be in the spotlight. This is hipocrasy.

Odious_Debt
Odious_Debt

Oh my, what a sham. Same thing happened to Ralph Nader when the “popular candidates” were afraid that someone just might give a real answer to a question. With invitation in hand, the State Police threatened to arrest him if he attempted to enter the property. The point is not what your opinion is of a particular candidate, it is the process. Just the statement that they are chosen by the amount of money raised is a problem. The fact it is made into a money game is why the public always loses, because everyone is playing with your money.

Candidate raises money to pay the media – media only wants the big payers.Candidate gets money as a bribe that allows the contributor to rob you later. You end up paying for the pleasure of being raped. ALVAREZ is gone but what has changed?, Nothing.

The contenders are picked for you and everyone in the circuit tries to convince you that those are all you get to choose from.

It is simple folks – just listen to them – they say “these are the chosen one’s” should mean to you that those are the excluded ones. When you knock those so called top three of four out, the picture starts getting a lot clearer.

Odious_Debt
Odious_Debt

Oh my, what a sham. Same thing happened to Ralph Nader when the “popular candidates” were afraid that someone just might give a real answer to a question. With invitation in hand, the State Police threatened to arrest him if he attempted to enter the property. The point is not what your opinion is of a particular candidate, it is the process. Just the statement that they are chosen by the amount of money raised is a problem. The fact it is made into a money game is why the public always loses, because everyone is playing with your money. Candidate raises money to pay the media – media only wants the big payers.Candidate gets money as a bribe that allows the contributor to rob you later. You end up paying for the pleasure of being raped. ALVAREZ is gone but what has changed?, Nothing. The contenders are picked for you and everyone in the circuit tries to convince you that those are all you get to choose from. It is simple folks – just listen to them – they say “these are the chosen one’s” should mean to you that those are the excluded ones. When you knock those so called top three of four out, the picture starts getting a lot clearer.

tad sharpe
tad sharpe

I attended this "forum", the ONLY serious candidates are Mr Gimenez and Ms Redfern, the rest should be EMBARASSED to be running for office. "UNCA LUKE" talks like he never got out of second grade, THAT IS GOING TO REPRESENT MIAMI DADE?? for that, find GEE DUBYA!

Hatuey
Hatuey

Are you kidding me.... FYI to all who can read and read very closely.... Lampert supported keeping ALVAREZ in office....yes you read correctly. ask him next time he joins or is invited to a debate...he openly lobbied for his old pal to stay in office. FACT not fiction... I personally received his mass text sent to family and friends... its out there texted in stone... hasta la vista baby...

You Must Be Joking, Son...
You Must Be Joking, Son...

You've got to be kidding me...! If the Miami Foundation had Luke Campbell as one of the "serious" candidates for debate, then they should accept ANYONE else! Luke's not a serious contender, he's doing this for a goof on Miami citizens...

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