Rapper Luther Campbell Runs for Mayor of Miami
MIAMI (CN) - Luther Campbell, lead singer for 2 Live Crew, is running for mayor of Miami-Dade County, now that voters have recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Campbell, aka Uncle Luke, told Courthouse News why he's the best man for the job: "I represent the people," he said.
"I always had a passion for helping people, so public office has been one of my long term goals," Campbell added.
Campbell voted early in the recall election that ended Tuesday with 88 percent of voters booting Alvarez from office. Asked why he voted to recall Alvarez, Campbell said, "It is not what I don't like about the mayor, it is what I do not see happening in our community. This administration has forgotten about the people and why they are in public office."
With Alvarez recalled, Campbell took questions from Courthouse News in an interview conducted by email.
"I can offer ideas of how we can we bring more economical balance to the county," he said.
The key issue in Alvarez's recall was his decision to hike property taxes while giving raises to county employees, including his personal staff, in the face of a large budget deficit. Millionaire auto dealer Norman Braman funded the recall with more than $1 million of his own money.
Campbell said the county is being mismanaged.
"We need to change the way county government does business," he said.
He cited Miami's public hospital, Jackson Memorial, which is sinking in debt and may run out of money this summer.
"The lobbyists control the county," Campbell said. "It's time to make real change by getting out and not staying in the stands. Jackson Memorial Hospital's mismanagement tells it all. ... Miami-Dade County is a wonderful place, but we have to continue to improve on the infrastructure and attract new industries thus create new job opportunities. ...
"I am running for mayor because I want to give the people of Dade County what they need, a fresh new start. I want to bring in new ideas.
Among his priorities are fighting crime, building more baseball fields, attracting new business and allocating county projects to local residents only.
He also wants to tax strippers.
"We do not want to leave any money on the table," Campbell said. "We need to look at all tax potentials. The ability to tax all professions that are making money in our county is essential. Revenues from taxes can go to support necessary community programs, especially those affecting our youth, just as in Palm Beach County and other parts of the country that require a fee to dance."
Campbell said he has always been an advocate for youth and families. He has coached high school in Miami since 2004.
"Being a part of the coaching team of Miami Central High School, we have won our first state championship, which I am very proud of. I speak regularly to youth groups, business owners, and community groups. One of my biggest accomplishments and causes that I will continue to champion is sending students to college. I have personally helped 20 kids through scholarships over the last two years."
He also speaks regularly with business owners and community groups, Campbell said.
"It is about people, not politics," he said. "I represent the people. The grassroots campaign is getting out and talking directly to the people I'm working for.
"To work for the people, you have an obligation to the people. My grassroots campaign will empower and allow the people to be fully vested partners. This is why we ask for $5 from your sister, brother, cousin and friend, any person that wants to be a part of the political process."
A native of Miami, Campbell is no stranger to politics or courtrooms. He rose to fame as leader 2 Live Crew, whose Southern Rap style was known as Miami Bass, and has been involved in high-profile First Amendment cases involving song lyrics, parody and profanity.
The 11th Circuit overturned a 1990 Miami Federal Court ruling that found 2 Live Crew's album "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" obscene.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Campbell in 1994, in Campbell v. Acuff-Ross Music, ruling that Campbell's "Pretty Woman" parody was a fair use of Roy Orbison's 1964 hit, "Oh, Pretty Woman."
Campbell's hit singles include "Hey, We Want Some Pussy," "Me So Horney," "Pop That Pussy," "Face Down, Ass Up," and "Shake that Ass, Bitch."
Asked if he thinks his tunes might hurt him with women voters, Campbell said, "No, I don't think so. In my travels around the world, I've always had more women than men attend my events. When I chose to fight in the '90's for freedom of speech, it was about individual expression. My continued work over the last 30 years in the community speaks for itself."
In the recall election, Campbell will face two-term Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and former state legislator Marcelo Llorente.
Under the County Charter, the County Commission has 30 days from the recall election to appoint a new mayor or call another special election, to be held within 45 days. Due to Miami's restive electorate, a special election is almost a certainty.
The recalled mayor's term expires next year. Campbell said he plans to run again in 2012.