I’m heading home this weekend (on Thursday) for Joanna’s bridal shower on Friday and her bachelorette party Saturday-Sunday. This includes a trip to Chicago, pole dancing lessons, limo and bars well into the night. Don’t worry, I’m sure there will be at least one picture taken of preggo on a pole. (Congrats to Joanna! Wedding June 27th!)
And thank goodness I got that book of Pregnancy Tips from Jacalyn to remind me how to behave this weekend:
Voter fraud and defamation of character are focus of suit filed by Richard Dunn against Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones
Westside Gazette January 5, 2006 | Vaughns, Starla Some would say former Miami Commission candidate for District 5, Richard Dunn II is a sore loser because he’s filed a lawsuit to overturn election results that gave Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones her seat.
Most concede that overturning of election results rarely occurs. This doesn’t bother Dunn, because he’s doing what he’s always done. He’s standing up for the little guy and the disenfranchised.
The suit filed Dec 9 in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit accuses Spence-Jones of using her previous position as a staff person for Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and the favorite of Miami City Manager Joe Arriola to receive favors that boosted her campaign. go to site defamation of character
Most significantly, Dunn’s suit includes a sworn affidavit from poll worker Jessie Harris who is the president of the Edison Park Plaza Resident’s Council and Region 1 Representative of OTAC. She has worked as a poll worker for seven years and was responsible for setting up Precinct 514 for the Nov. 15 election and the Nov 29 run-off.
Spence-Jones won by more than 500 votes but according to Harris she witnessed Spence-Jones’ campaign workers pay three voters. “This campaign worker reached into a bag and gave $50 to this voter who is a resident of my building,” swears Harris.
According to State Statutes 104.31 and 104.062, No state, county or municipal officer may use his office or official authority to influence political outcomes.
But, Dunn has photos of official City of Miami vehicles packed with ice in front of Spence-Jones’ campaign headquarters.
Spence-Jones was given ice from the City of Miami during the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma to distribute to residents in District 5.
Other candidates complained they were denied access to the ice. However, one other candidate, Irby McKnight said he too received ice. Spence-Jones was the only candidate who received a city vehicle to distribute the ice.
Miami City Manager Joe Arriola made it perfectly clear who he supported. He contributed $1,000 to Spence-Jones’ campaign and was quoted in a Nov. 3, article appearing in New Times. “I’m telling people Dunn is the wrong person. Nothing will happen in district 5 if he is elected because he has zero support from the city manager, zero support from the mayor and zero support from the majority of the city commission.” Its true Dunn may lack the support of those with money and influence. His campaign raised $65,868, while Spence-Jones raised $152,805.
Spence-Jones will be held accountable by the many developers that contributed to her campaign. Developers like Riverside Homes of South Florida, LLC, Sunset Pointe of South Miami, and LLC, Palmetto Homes of Miami and Renaissance Pointe, LLC were among those that contributed.
The Miami Commission had reached an impasse before the untimely suicide of Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele who consistently refused to support big developers who wanted to install condo-retail projects in Overtown. He was against gentrification.
With the blessings of Mayor Manny Diaz and his hand-picked City Manager, Arriola, Spence-Jones is in a good position to receive the support of her fellow Commissioners and will probably vote along with them to continue the slow but sure gentrification of Miami’s historic Overtown.
Dunn, a native Miami, has long been involved in the struggles of Liberty City residents and was a point man in the efforts to establish single member districts in the City of Miami in 1996. “Before that we had city wide elections. I knew if that continued we wouldn’t ever have another Black Commissioner again. The numbers don’t favor African Americans. Hispanics make up 70 percent of Miami’s voters,” Dunn said. web site defamation of character
His supporters were the owners of the Country Grocery Store, Miami Firefighters, AFSCMEFl Council, Florida Carpenters Regional and people who actually live in District 5.
One of the most damaging aspects of the campaign was the smear tactics used by Spence-Jones. Radio and print advertising capitalized on Dunn’s past brushes with the law. It’s true that Dunn has admitted he had a gambling problem and he did resign as assistant pastor of Drake Memorial Baptist church for misuse of funds in the late 80’s. Church members did not press charges.
Radio and print ads against Dunn began with the phrase “Will a man rob God? Reverend Richard Dunn is a thief. Don’t waste your vote on Reverend Richard Dunn. He will be arrested again in 90 days. One print ad has Dunn face crossed out, surrounded by gambling paraphernalia and the words “Don’t gamble on Reverend Richard Dunn for City Commission.” Dunn says he has been forgiven by the members of Drake Memorial and has preached there every year since the death of his grandfather who was its pastor. After resigning there, he became the pastor of New Mount Moriah for two years. His son was his assistant pastor and is now its pastor.
Dunn is the pastor of Cathedral of Hope, which was formerly Word of Life Church for 11 years. “It takes 30 years to build a name and seconds to destroy it. All we have in this life is our good names. If everything they say was true about me, there would be no way in heaven they would ever want me back.
“I’ve acknowledged what I’ve done but for God’s sake don’t lie on me. I have a family, sons and a mother. I’ve stood up to some of the same forces that helped lead to Teele’s demise. The only difference is they didn’t have anything criminal against me. With former Commissioner Miller Dawkins going to jail and the accusations made against Teele, I’m sure voters were swayed by these ads.
“This is really a matter of people trying to hand pick and control the predominately Black seat in the City of Miami. The Black seat our community has fought for,” he said.
Photograph (Michelle Spence-Jones) Vaughns, Starla