Group 5: Stephen Cohen

Stephen Cohen

Group 5



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.

Commission seats in Miami Beach are at-large positions, so the groups don’t represent any particular neighborhood or section of the city.

This interview has been lightly edited.

What would your top 3 priorities be as commissioner?

1. Crime- City has a crime problem in entertainment district, that has spread to residential neighborhoods.

2. Budget shortage- City has had 2 consecutive budget shortage because developer giveaways and a bloated budget.

3. Climate change- City needs to listen to the experts about sea rise and implement their suggestions. Urban Land Institute and other experts advised more uniform seawalls, more trees, bio-swales, and using green space to mitigate flooding.

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

Miami Beach needs to listen to the experts, we will not curve climate change in a year. As the experts said, “we need to adapt with searise and continue to use tools to fight climate change.” If the city implements the actions suggested from experts, by using greenspace to mitigate flooding: Our city’s survival will be certain, allowing us to thrive.

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

I would change commission meetings to afternoons and evenings, for residents to get involved more. Currently, city meetings are during work hours which most residents cannot attend.

What steps should Miami Beach take to combat homelessness?

Our city does NOT use Miami-Dade homeless outreach, which every other city in the county does. The county’s outreach is far superior to Miami Beach’s and we should work with them. Miami Beach can not solve homelessness on its own, we need to work the county and federal government.

What does responsible development look like in Miami Beach?

Development should be decided as a community (public vote) to grow properly, without disrupting neighborhoods. As well as developers should be offering more public benefits for increased density. For example, 20 percent of workforce housing in the development or public parks donated to the community.

How do you think areas like Washington Avenue and Lincoln Road should address their vacancies and lost businesses?

Crime is the issue on Washington Avenue, until it’s safe businesses will not do well. Lincoln Road needs more shade, an easier permitting process, and parking at reasonable rates.

Do you support the latest Baylink proposals to connect Miami and Miami Beach?

The current plan for the Baylink has a foreign adversary producing it. I don’t believe our county should have our adversaries building infrastructure for us. The plan to have the Baylink land at Fifth and Alton only, would be too for much this area to handle.

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

I would add injection wells to the current pump system, which is not filtering the top inch of dirty water on our streets. Also, I would test the bay water completely rather than just for fecal bacteria. We need to have a full scope of what is going in our bay.

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