Election Night Lessons: Miami Beach Loves Marijuana, But Not Enough to Elect Steve Berke
Good morning Miami Beach. Are you feeling sore and tired from swilling too many flutes of celebratory champagne last night? Are you surprised to find yourself wearing a campaign T-shirt altered to say "Philip
Miami Beach voters chose pot, but not its messenger: Steve Berke Levine Latrine"? Is your living room floor littered with more flyers than a Free Tibet rally? In other words, are you suffering from Election Night hangover?
Actually, you're probably just plain ol' hungover. That's because only around 11,170 people voted in yesterday's election on Miami Beach, out of nearly 90,000 residents. So if you were simply too lazy, apathetic, foreign, or felonious to cast a ballot, here's a run down of what we learned from last night's election results -- from marijuana to Matti Bower.
Lesson One: C.R.E.A.M.
You didn't really think a candidate could spend a small fortune on a tiny island election and lose, did you? Self-made millionaire Philip Levine made it rain on Miami Beach, dropping more than $1.5 million on us like a strip-club king. So it should be no surprise that Levine's largess landed him the lion's share of the votes. He garnered 5,639 of 11,170 votes, or 50.48 percent. That works out to roughly $266 per vote.
Levine's convincing win is a bit more complicated than it seems, however. Because his victory is within half a percentage point of the threshold for a runoff with second place Michael Góngora (36.43%), city officials will have to recount the votes. That could change if Góngora concedes.
Lesson Two: Miami Beach Loves Marijuana, But Not THAT Much
Two years ago, more than 9,000 Miami Beach residents signed a petition to decriminalize marijuana, but city officials balked at the idea. Yesterday, islanders once again sent a message that the city needs to light(en) up. On a "non-binding straw ballot question," 64 percent of voters said they want the city to urge Florida and federal officials to decriminalize medicinal marijuana.
Before you spark up that spliff, however, you should know that the vote doesn't mean much. First of all, city commissioners aren't required to follow through on the resolution. Second, the resolution holds no real weight. Finally, voters resounding rejected the one mayoral candidate -- Steve Berke -- who supported decriminalization. So follow Francisco Alvarado's lead and head 90 miles off-shore to smoke.