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Graciela (Grace) Solares

Why are you running?

As a long-time resident of the City of Miami, I know that we must tackle the challenges we face today head on — and it starts by putting Miami first! From increasing public participation in our city government to improving the quality of life for our residents, I have a proven track record of working to better our community. My decision to run for City Commissioner was solely based on the desire to have the voice of the people on the city commission. After seeing firsthand how special interests continue to get ahead while our families and businesses are left behind, I decided that we must change how City Hall operates. And for us, it begins by electing a new voice for District 2 voters. While recognizing that running for office is not an easy decision to make, I know it is the right one for me. Almost two decades of fighting for this community has prepared me for the task of the candidacy and of undertaking the responsibility of being the commissioner of the people. As city commissioner, I know that we can achieve more for our residents.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Miami right now?

Restoring Transparency & Accountability in City Hall

Miami residents are ready to see aggressive steps taken to restore transparency and accountability in City Hall. We must tackle the ongoing perception and problem of corruption that has led to the erosion of public participation in our city government. Adopting measures that assure actual sunshine in our city government. Residents must be fully informed of all contemplated actions or decisions to be made by the city with sufficient time for them to be able to meaningfully participate in the decision making process before the matters are brought before the City Commission for a vote.

Investing in Better Transportation Connectivity

Connecting our residents to a reliable transportation system is an important priority for me. The city must do better to achieve transportation connectivity by utilizing existing transportation services. For example, I will work to ensure that we can properly connect the existing Trolley service to all Grove residents so they too can easily move within the city. Additionally, we must do a better job of encouraging city residents to use the free services of the PeopleMover within its service area.

Supporting A Better Quality of Life for City Residents & Businesses

I believe we must improve the quality of life in the City of Miami. Smart growth must be planned and implemented. We must put an end to developers and other special interests dictating where and how we grow without any meaningful thought as to the ultimate effect on residents and local businesses.   For example, our traffic nightmare is the direct result of the lack of smart growth. I will support efforts that empower existing and future small businesses to grow within the City of Miami. We must continue to protect and develop tourism but we must also develop a plan to generate the interest of other types of business and commercial activities within the City of Miami. This also requires that we invest in our local infrastructure, including parks and open spaces. Finally, we must take the threat of sea level rise seriously. We have seen in recent weeks how parts of Miami and Miami-Dade County have flooded at alarming levels.

What are some of the solutions you would propose?

Transportation
Connecting our residents to a reliable transportation system is an important priority for me. The city must do better to achieve transportation connectivity by utilizing existing transportation services. For example, I will work to ensure that we can properly connect the existing Trolley service to all Grove and Upper Eastside residents so they too can easily move within the city. Additionally, we must do a better job of encouraging city residents to use the free services of the PeopleMover within its service area. I also support creating a dedicated Transportation Trust Fund to ensure we have resources made available to fund new transportation infrastructure.

Accountability
I believe we must increase public participation in our government. Therefore, as commissioner, I will launch monthly engagement series throughout the district. In Brickell, I will host the BrickellBeat. I will also do similar efforts in the Grove, Downtown Miami and the Upper Eastside.

If we gave you a $100 budget, how would you spend it?

Please share a few words about how you would tackle the some of the following challenges:

Poverty and the low median wage: First, I support raising the minimum wage to $15/hr. I also support ordinances that will lead to a more focused workforce and affordable housing program in Miami so young families can attain the reality of homeownership and affordable rents.

The high cost of rent/real estate: I support inclusionary zoning so we can achieve affordable and workforce housing for more residents.

Congestion and transit options: I support establishing a Miami Transportation Trust Fund that allows for an accountable and transparent program to be launched and funded that builds a reliable transportation system. I also support ride-sharing programs so we encourage residents to move around the city through existing transit options and ride-sharing programs.

Climate change and environmental damage: The first step is to establish a senior level Office of Resilience to layout the blueprint. We need to also update ordinances to better reflect our modern day climate change challenges like sea level rise.

Transparency in government and access to open data: First, we need to have an online election system that allows the public to easily search campaign documents as done by the county and state. We have an archaic system that impedes transparency. Further, as commissioner, I will host regular community meetings so our residents can have early information on critical projects and votes that will be taking place at City Hall.