District 1: Verania “Betty” Hermida

Betty Hermida

District 1

https://www.betty4commissioner.com/

Program director, YMCA of Greater Miami’s Allapattah branch

Former member of Miami’s code enforcement and nuisance abatement boards

This post is part of our voter guide for the Nov. 5 local elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to some other key races.

District 1 runs north from about Northwest Seventh Street to Northwest 36th Street, and east from a little past Northwest 42nd Avenue near the Tamiami Canal to Northwest Seventh Avenue.

This interview has been lightly edited. Hermida’s opponents are Horacio Aguirre, Alex Diaz De La Portilla, Miguel Gabela, Yanny Hidalgo, Eleazar Melendez and Francisco “Frank” Pichel.

What would your top 3 priorities be as commissioner?

    1. Realizing an equal, transparent and accessible form of government
    2. Raising the bar on requirements to provide strong community benefits attached to large-scale developments (Special Area Plans)
    3. Safeguarding our community by improving our infrastructure; sidewalks, streets, swales

What does a resilient and sustainable city look like to you?

A sustainable and resilient city is a healthy, clean, green, and safe city.  A city where residents and visitors can enjoy the green areas within our parks.  Our streets are clean and adorned with trees that provide shade from the scorching sun.  A place with contaminant-free beaches and waterways where marine life can thrive and our natural beauty is showcased.  A city where new developments are committed to reduce their carbon footprint and infrastructure can withstand the impacts of sea level rise and severe storms.

What will you do to increase transparency and accountability for public officials?

First and foremost, I want to lead by example.  Transparency is one of my top priorities and I refuse to partake in any “backroom deals.”  The residents of this great city deserve to be properly informed and involved in all matters that impact their living environment and quality of life.  Our government must do a better job in disseminating information and educating its residents on its ordinances and processes.

What steps should Miami take to combat homelessness?

We must be consistent and thorough in our action plans to address and combat homelessness.  We can learn from other cities that have already implemented successful processes, like information management services, which can be used to match individuals to housing, treatment and rehabilitative programs.

How should Miami increase and support affordable housing development and how should Miami address its income inequality issues?

As stated in my top priorities, raising the bar on requirements to provide strong community benefits attached to large-scale developments (Special Area Plans), to include inclusionary housing requirements for low to moderate income families.   We can also use this model to secure better wages, benefits and as a means of incorporating labor union participation, where applicable, to assist in the recruiting and training of personnel.

Do you support the plans for Miami Freedom Park? 

I cannot support the plans for Miami Freedom Park, as I feel that the negative impact on the surrounding community is far too great.  The area residents have expressed great concerns regarding the loss of green space and the tranquility they currently enjoy.  There are also many questions regarding the increase in traffic and parking issues.  The current proposal also lacks substantial community benefits.

What steps should the city take to reduce pollution in Biscayne Bay?

I feel that to reduce the pollution in Biscayne Bay, we must further our research efforts.  We must identify and find ways to remedy this problem before the damage becomes irreversible.

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