President of JEMO Realty Inc.
County commissioner since 2010.
This post is part of our voter guide for the Aug. 28 local and primary elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to the key races and decisions being made this election.
District 2 runs north from Northwest 36th Street to just past the Golden Glades Interchange, and east from Northwest 37th Avenue to Biscayne Boulevard. It includes areas like North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, and sections of Hialeah and the City of Miami.
This interview has been lightly edited to meet word count requirements. Monestime’s opponent is Dorrin Rolle.
What would your top 3 priorities be as commissioner?
My top 3 priorities are:
Mass transit development
Expanding and diversifying our local economy
What does “good” public transit for Miami-Dade County look like to you?
Good public transit for Miami-Dade County is about the availability of “affordable transit choices.” All the large metropolis of the world, Paris, New York, LA, DC, London, Mexico City and others like them experience traffic issues daily. What differs them from us is that travelers are offered a set of transit modes to choose from depending on their actual need. We ought to do the same.
How will you support expanding affordable housing as commissioner?
We must streamline the funding, zoning and permitting process. We must study the possibility of doubling county surtax allocation in order to fast track housing development. We must approve inclusionary zoning. I will continue to proffer legislation that leads to better housing choices at the most affordable costs.
What does a resilient and sustainable city look like to you?
A resilient and sustainable Miami-Dade County is a community where every neighborhood, every home, every individual rich or poor, is well aware, informed and making daily decisions alongside our municipal and county governments to mitigate the impact of climatic change. More must be done, but I believe the county government is now heading in the right direction.
What lessons did you learn from Hurricane Irma that will influence how you govern if you win?
I learned that preparation is key. That having a multifaceted plan that facilitates the quickest evacuation, the most rapid response toward the access to food and water, energy and communication is paramount to reducing all types of treats.
If you had the chance, would you uphold or reverse the county’s decision to abandon its sanctuary city status and cooperate with federal immigration officials?
I don’t support the county’s decision to abandon its sanctuary city status. As an immigrant, living in and serving an immigrant community, I believe Miami-Dade County could be the prototype for Sanctuary Cities /Counties. I definitely look forward for the opportunity to reversing the current policy.
Do you believe in systemic racism, aka the idea that racism is baked into some of our existing policies and laws, and if yes, what ideas do you have for addressing that?
Racism may be very well baked into some of our current existing laws and policies.There are enough reasons to support that being the case. However, I believe that our United States Constitution offers the best legal framework to fight for a more just society. That should remain our recourse. To the extent that certain policies may be used to discriminate against anyone, once uncovered we must expose and repeal them and introduce and support fairer and/or more just laws and policies into our system.
Should the Urban Development Boundary remain fixed, or do you think there are certain economic and mobility needs that are more important?
Our Urban Development Boundary should remain fixed. There isn’t a need more important than the sustainability and/or the wellbeing of our community. Every decision affecting the UDB must take that into account.