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District 8: Johnathan Burke

District 8

https://www.facebook.com/Vote4JBurke/

Owner of Slim Port Associates, a consulting company

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 8 curves through South Miami-Dade and goes north from about Southwest 320th Street northeast to about Southwest 112th Street. The district goes as far west as Southwest 227th Avenue and east toward Biscayne Bay. It includes areas like Cutler Bay, Homestead and Palmetto Bay.

This interview has been lightly edited to meet word count requirements. Burke’s opponents are Gus Barreiro and Daniella Levine Cava.

What would your top 3 priorities be as commissioner?

Affordable Housing

Public Safety

Transportation

What does “good” public transit for Miami-Dade County look like to you?

A combination of rail, Metrorail, buses, and Metromover service that can handle employment and entertainment needs of the community. I see a north-south link as important as an east-west link. Overall, transit must help to create jobs or get more people to the jobs we already have available.

How will you support expanding affordable housing as commissioner?

This district cannot grow without a flourishing middle-class and access to affordable housing is a key pillar of economic stability. In addition to working to create good-paying jobs with higher wages, we have to promote strategies that expand zoning options to allow the construction of duplex and four-plex accommodations so that more affordable housing options are available for every resident at all income levels.

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

A sustainable city is one that equally meets the economic, social and environmental needs of every resident regardless of income. Right now we have communities that are doing better than others in one or all of these categories, but we cannot call our city resilient and sustainable until we have equity in all these areas that reaches every resident regardless of income, race or gender. We must be attuned to our environment and work to keep the air and water clean, the sea level down, and the temperatures moderate, while creating good paying jobs that provide more pathways to enter and stay in the middle class, and a place where people of all cultures and talent levels can live and prosper.

What lessons did you learn from Hurricane Irma that will influence how you govern if you win?

I learned that preparation is key, and that even the greatest disasters can be mitigated with proper investments on the front end.  My experience has taught me that it’s easier to maintain a constant state of readiness than it is to suddenly work to become ready only after a disaster strikes. I plan to take the same sense of urgency to all areas of public policy as a commissioner, because government should work for the people everyday, not just when there is an emergency or disaster.

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 believe that either upholding or reversing the county’s decision completely gets us to where we need to be, therefore my goal as a commissioner would be to promote policies that will help us to use our diversity as a tool for economic growth while aggressively fighting to make our communities safer. I would fight to ensure we have policies in place that recognize the cultural, economic and public safety advantages that come with embracing diversity. We are safer when all communities feel as though they can work with law enforcement to report crimes.

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?

Yes, I believe even in 2018 that there are signs of systemic racism. However, I am not surprised because just 50 years ago, people of my race were not allowed to vote. Today I am running for public office. Things have changed greatly but race relations are still young. As we get more young people like myself who have not been poisoned with the cruel hatred that people in our country had for one another we should see those policies and laws begin to change. I also believe that affirmative action is an effective tool to achieve racial harmony and opportunity for people of color.

Should the Urban Development Boundary remain fixed, or do you think there are certain economic and mobility needs that are more important?

Yes, I believe that the UDB should stay fixed. Besides being the main source of our drinking water, the Everglades is a very important part of our state. Miami is a very desirable place to develop, but we have to recognize that what could look good today undermines our growth tomorrow.