Michael DeFilippi

Why are you running?

I’m running because it’s time someone takes the initiative to make our city operate more efficiently. Miami Beach is ready for a leader with a fresh perspective that will transform this city into an even greater paradise.

The importance of traffic reduction, infrastructure improvements and improving quality of life issues will be strong focuses. With more efficient sanitation operations, a trash can on every street corner and a focus on cleaner waters, the appearance of our city in pristine condition will increase our appeal as a worldwide destination.

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

The biggest challenge we face right now is repairing neglected infrastructure with minimal impact on residents. We have streets, sidewalks and drain systems which have been neglected for many years. These items need to be addressed but we need to factor in the inconveniences to residents. Traffic, noise and water pollution from construction projects are impacting residents quality of life. The city needs to communicate more effectively with residents.

What are some of the solutions you would propose?

I would do a full analysis of our streets, sidewalks and crosswalks. Being a world class city, we should have an infrastructure that reflects the high revenues received. Residents deserve clean, smooth streets that drain properly.

After it rains, we have street corners with sitting water for days. Our streets need proper paving and drainage. There are certain areas which need immediate infrastructure improvements.

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

I’m not sure if this was meant to say $100,000 so I’m assuming it is…

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

Poverty and the low median wage: I want to create a ‘green business district’ on Washington Avenue to create jobs in our city and encourage sustainable businesses to locate here.

The high cost of rent/real estate: The market dictates the value of real estate but I would support work force housing for teachers and similar positions who work in our city but can’t afford the housing costs. We need to look into creative ways to protect small businesses from massive rent increases.

Congestion and transit options: I’d push for protected bike lanes in as many places as possible to encourage people not to use their cars here. I also would aggressively explore water transportation. It can be done much faster and would be an enjoyable experience for visitors and residents.

Climate change and environmental damage: Presently, we allow a lot of trash to empty into our waters. The trash from the street level goes into the storm drains and then exits into the water at outfalls. Instead of spending a lot of money on cleaning storm drains of debris and trash we can install storm drain gratings which will reduce trash from getting into the water, mitigate street flooding and save Miami Beach taxpayers money.

Regarding climate change, we need to be leaders in using clean energy. Switching the fleet of vehicles from gas powered to an electric or hybrid model is necessary. Investing in wind and solar technology needs to be looked into for every city project. We need to offer incentives for owners to invest in making their buildings more resilient and sustainable.

Transparency in government and access to open data: My first act as commissioner would be to propose the creation of a Miami Beach Inspector Generals office to weed out corruption and allow for employees to report any suspicious activity without risk of being targeted.