Richard Dunn II Can Never Replace Michelle Spence-Jones
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke assesses the fight for District Five in the City of Miami.
Rev. Richard Dunn II and all of Michelle Spence-Jones' haters think they got the last laugh on her. They're wrong. Last week, a Florida District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that Miami's only African American city commissioner is barred by the city's charter from seeking a third consecutive term.
She had appealed a lower court's decision siding with Dunn, who sued the city and Spence-Jones claiming that an opinion from the city attorney that the commissioner could run again because she didn't serve two full terms was flawed and unconstitutional.
Now Dunn is celebrating a hollow victory. He may have finally beaten Spence-Jones, but the real loser is Miami's black community. She's been the real deal, getting things done in her district. Following her return to office in August 2011 after she beat two bogus criminal cases against her, Spence-Jones secured $50 million in city redevelopment funds for Overtown. Recently she successfully blocked a plan by the Florida Department of Transportation to take over historic streets in Overtown, citing the agency's long history of screwing African-Americans in that part of Miami.
Any time a black city commissioner gets results, they become a target. The same thing happened to her predecessor Arthur Teele, the late city commissioner who paid the ultimate price for protecting his district; taking his own life because of relentless politically motivated prosecutions.
Her enemies couldn't put her in prison, so they got Dunn -- who has never beaten Spence-Jones at the polls -- to file his bogus lawsuit. Coincidentally, the judge who ruled in Dunn's favor was an assistant state attorney who investigated Spence-Jones, a fact he failed to disclose when he made his decision to disenfranchise the voters who elected her.
But Spence-Jones is a strong-willed person who's found clarity. And she's far from beaten. I spoke to her following her court loss. She feels at peace with the decision. Now she can focus on raising her two sons, do what she wants to accomplish in her professional life, and still serve the community from behind the scenes.
And Dunn's not guaranteed a win in November. The qualifying dates are in September. Spence-Jones can be far more dangerous playing the role of queen maker.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.