Joe Martinez

District 11

Part-owner of a security guard company

Barry University (B.A., Public Administration and Professional Studies)

County commissioner for 12 years

Chairman in 2005 and in 2010

Why are you running?

The commissioner who occupied my seat when I left in 2012 decided he wanted to change the name of West Kendall and create two cities out here and I was against that.

Why are you best qualified?

I was a commissioner for 12 years and I gave up my seat. I was the chairman for two different terms, even when we didn’t have a mayor, so I know how the county works.

What are the biggest challenges Miami is facing?

The traffic situation around Dade County is the biggest concern that a lot of people have in my area. It’s the thing they bring up the most.
How do you propose solving them?

I was the first one to say we need to use the railroad tracks for light rail. I proposed it in 2002 and again in 2012. Politics got in the way in the four years since. I understand someone else revived my ideas — the ones that I presented originally. Politics got in the way and killed it.

What makes Miami so damn cool?

It’s a metro city. I was born and raised here and I’ve always loved it. I’ve seen it grow up from a small town to a metro city and vibrant community. It has people from all over so it’s a very exciting city.

What can Miami-Dade do to prepare for sea level rise and protect our natural environment?

Sea level rise is something that, while it can be addressed minimally at the local level like pumping in Miami Beach — it’s a global issue. Regardless of what it is caused by, whether its man or mother nature taking its course, we have to minimize or delay the impact of what will occur. As far as work at the local level, we should be placing pumps.

Why is the rent so high?

Two of my kids moved back into our house recently because of the lack of affordable housing.

It’s supply and demand. Land owners will get as much as they can for their property and people are paying it. That’s the main reason, there aren’t that many rentals anymore in the locations people want to live in. There are condos and apartments downtown, but only a small segment of population can afford it.

Is there anything that can be done to fix our transit system and get traffic under control?

We have to make the commitment to go ahead and build a reliable mass transit system. If transit was something people could make money on, the private sector would bid on it. So obviously it’s a social function.

We are a huge metro area. We took in 14 million visitors last year, and on top of that we have regular civilian traffic, then you also have buses, police, fire, then commercial traffic like UPS and trucks. You just have a lot of cars on the road.

Now we have have museums and art centers that thrive on tourism. When you do that, you’re gonna have roads that are packed. Miami’s not a small town anymore and it hasn’t been for many years. We need a reliable transit system, something people can depend on and will get people to start start leaving their cars behind.

How do you feel about the county’s campaign finance system?

It’s a system that’s been in place for many years. If you get money, it has to be reported and there’s a campaign limit of $1,000, whether it’s personal or business. To limit that to $250 is ridiculous. I don’t see what that would do. It would just lead to more bundling — people would get more checks from different people. The amount of money doesn’t really matter. If you’re going to sell yourself for $1,000, then you’ll sell it for $250. The amount is irrelevant.

If you had a $100 budget to spend, how would you spend it?