First Miami Beach commission race mailer is out, causing some confusion

The first mailer for a city of Miami Beach commission candidate of the five running to replace the late Mark Samuelian reached voters homes Friday. And already there may be some confusion.

That’s because the name of the political action committee that paid for the folded, four-pager is Miami Beach Residents United, which is very similar to the name of a residents’ group that serves as a watchdog of the commission.

Members of Miami Beach United even felt obligated to send an email Saturday afternoon clarifying that the piece praising Sabrina Cohen was not from them.

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“We never endorse candidates for elected office,” reads the headline, all in caps. “Voters across the city received a campaign mailer from a PAC calling itself ‘Miami Beach Residents United.’ Although it may just be a coincidence, that name could easily be misinterpreted to suggest that Miami Beach United is supporting the PAC and it’s candidate and that is not the case.”

Wink, wink, nod, nod. Because they don’t really think it’s a coincidence.

Miami Beach United is almost synonymous with Samuelian, who was president of the nonprofit organization at one time. The name of Sabrina Cohen’s PAC is Miami Beach Residents United for Progress, and it was formed on Aug. 4.

The “for Progress” was coincidentally dropped from the disclaimer on this piece. Could it have been to cause confusion? To make it seem like an endorsement?

The PAC has not reported any contributions or expenses yet. Formed in August, it’s first campaign finance report is due around Sept. 10.

Sabrina Cohen, a C5 quadriplegic as the result of a teen age car accident, founded the Sabrina Cohen Foundation — which is dedicated to developing adaptive fitness and recreational programs for individuals living with paralysis and other disabilities — is one of five candidates running for the seat, vacated when Samuelian died suddenly in June. The others are real estate investor and activist Stephen Cohen, Samuelian’s partner, Laura Dominguez, environmental scientist Isaiah Mosley and hotelier Mitch Novick.

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None of them are going to be officially backed by Miami Beach United.

“We have never, and are not now, endorsing or supporting any candidate in any city election. We advocate on policy issues on behalf of residents’ rihts year-round, and nothing more.”

Well, one thing more: The group is expecting to present a candidates’ forum in early September.