Why are you running?
I am running to restore integrity, trust, and responsiveness back to City Hall. The recent scandals surrounding Mayor Levine and his solicitation of developers for the Relentless for Progress PAC, as well as financing a slate of candidates in the other commission races, has led me to run for office. Our city should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Levine claims to be a volunteer yet under his short term our city budget has been inflated by $20M, including a $90k chauffeur and security entourage for the mayor funded by taxpayers. If Levine is a volunteer, he is the most expensive volunteer mayor our city has ever had.
Read more about why I am running at the following link: http://wiederformayor.com/why-im-running-for-mayor/
Also, my platform: http://wiederformayor.com/what-i-stand-for/
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Miami Beach right now?
Corruption, traffic and overdevelopment, a bloated budget, sea level rise, and the demolition of historic homes throughout Miami Beach.
What are some of the solutions you would propose?
Corruption: We need a comprehensive overhaul of the ethics ordinance, in order to prevent the scandal that has happened with Mayor Levine, whereby developers and vendors are solicited for contributions to a political action committee while those organizations have projects pending with the City. This must stop. We also need to prevent campaign consultants from lobbying on behalf of developers at the city.
Traffic and overdevelopment: Mayor Levine has implemented more upzonings than any other mayor in Miami Beach history… in less than 2 years in office. Miami Beach does not have the capability or space to have a significant increase in population or development. Traffic is near gridlock in many areas of the beach, and adding more and more condo towers is not going to help. If elected, I commit to no further upzoning and to task the planning department with identifying key intersections of our city that simply cannot handle more development
Bloated budget: We need to shrink the budget spent by the mayor’s office and the huge spike in public relations fees paid for by taxpayers in order to promote Mayor Levine. He has a full-time photographer on staff as well as several full time aides and publicists along with his chauffeur. I will drive myself to work and promise to slash the cost to taxpayers of the mayor’s office. We should be prioritizing things like education, police, and green space… not publicity.
Imagine we gave you a $100 budget. How would you spend those $100?
Please share a few words about how you would tackle the some of the following challenges:
Poverty and the low median wage: Cost of living is a huge issue on Miami Beach. We continue to allow old buildings and homes to be demolished by speculative developers. This adds tremendously to housing costs. We do not want Miami Beach to become like Sunny Isles or Palm Beach. One of our most unique qualities is the mix of socio-economic income levels living here. We must preserve and protect them.
The high cost of rent/real estate: No more upzoning, no more spec home developments. Encourage preservation of low and moderate income housing.
Congestion and transit options: No more up zoning, study Baylink, and work on more trolley routes but make our trolleys green – not the gas guzzlers that we are currently using.
Climate change and environmental damage: The pumps that were started under Matti Bower’s administration are now being implemented in various parts of the City. Unfortunately, Levine has modified the plans for the pumps and he’s decided to pump all of the stormwater directly into the bay… whereas previously the stormwater would be pushed deep underground by injection wells. Biscayne Bay is now being polluted and residents are complaining about the damage to one of our best natural resources. We must address climate change, but do so in a way that preserves and protects our environment.
Transparency in government and access to open data: Residents need to have more notice when major projects are coming to their neighborhoods. We also have to do better with letting residents have an equal voice as lobbyists and developers. Right now, special interests come first. Under my administration, we will put residents back in the driver’s seat.