Vegas-style slots win okay in Miami-Dade

A victorious new city of Miami bill of rights expands antidiscrimination guarantees.

Associated Press
Published January 30, 2008

MIAMI - Miami-Dade County voters approved the installation of slot machines at three parimutuel facilities, with tax dollars from gambling funneled into a state education fund.

According to complete but unofficial results, 63 percent of county voters approved the measure.

County voters shot down a referendum for Las Vegas-style slot machines in 2005, so Tuesday was their second chance to weigh the pros and cons of introducing the devices at Miami Jai-Alai, the Flagler Sports and Entertainment Center dog track and Calder Race Course.

Broward County approved slots in 2005 for its jai-alai fronton and horse and dog racetracks. The state levies a 50 percent tax on Broward slot machine revenue, and Miami-Dade's rate will be the same.

Bill of rights passes

Voters also created a bill of rights in Miami.

The bill of rights, which received little attention, contains a clause that bans the city, directly or indirectly, from discriminating based on race, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. City employees who violate the code could lose their jobs, and other residents could file civil lawsuits.

Some supporters said they deliberately kept a low profile over the last few weeks, keen to avoid a showdown over legal protections tied to sexual identity.

While its under-the-radar status might have kept the charter change from facing organized opposition, it also left some voters feeling unsure of what they were voting on.

"It scares me because I have no idea about it. ... I left it blank," said Agustin Gonzalez, 27. He worried the charter change might cause some existing rights to be taken away.

New county office

In Miami-Dade County, voters decided to take control of the recently high-profile job of property appraiser, making the position elective instead of appointed by the county mayor.

Orlando mayor

Buddy Dyer, a lawyer and Orlando's Democrat mayor since 2003, was re-elected, again defeating Republican businessman Ken Mulvaney, who came in second four years ago.

Allen replacement

Cocoa Beach Commissioner Tony Sasso will face Merritt Island businessman Sean Campbell in an election next month to replace state Rep. Bob Allen, who resigned after being convicted of solicitation.

Democrat Sasso and Republican Campbell won primaries in the district, which includes parts of Brevard and Orange counties.