Why are you running?
I am running because I want to realize Miami Beach’s potential as a world class city! I envision Miami Beach as one of the Top 10 American cities to live in. Our City is moving in the right direction and I want to ensure it continues on that path of progress. Our community is facing generational challenges that we must promptly address to remain on the map. As a business leader, I will bring pragmatic business solutions to City Hall so that Miami Beach becomes the city of the 21st century.
I want to see Miami Beach become a shining example of a high quality of life for its residents; a welcoming place for its visitors; a good place to start and grow a business; and world class government service. I have the integrity, experience and leadership skills to help this vision become a reality.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Miami Beach right now?
The two biggest issues facing Miami Beach is traffic congestion and sea-level rise. In order for Miami Beach to be a world class city it must tackle these issues head on. Traffic gridlock and flooded streets are two regular occurrences that plague residents and tourists. The polices that I seek to enact and implement will be both bold and innovative so as to ensure Miami Beach’s place as a premier, world class city.
What are some of the solutions you would propose?
Traffic congestion can be improved with proper planning for the future. I aim to push forward a comprehensive traffic master plan that promotes alternate methods of transportation. Among these alternate modes of transportation are mass transit systems, protected bike lanes, and the creation of a more walkable Miami Beach. I will prioritize transit-oriented development so that moving forward every new development has a way to mitigate the new traffic congestion it will ultimately produce.
Sea-level rise is another issue facing Miami Beach. This matter is more difficult to tackle since climate change is a global issue. Nevertheless, we can still respond to it by being proactive rather than reactive. I support the city’s measure dictating that all new construction/re-construction on Miami Beach be built three feet above the current flood zone in order to account for the flood zone of the future. Other policies to consider include conducting a comprehensive liability assessment and constructing resilient community assets.
If we gave you a $100 budget, how would you spend it?
Please share a few words about how you would tackle the some of the following challenges:
The high cost of rent/real estate: Miami Beach must to create sustainably affordable housing for the middle class. Artists, young professionals, and new families can not afford to live on the Beach. As a result, the creative class is being driven out. Miami Beach can not afford a brain drain. North Beach is the unpolished gem of Miami Beach and the area presents an ideal opportunity to build housing for our workforce. Doing so will also reduce congestion since workers won’t have to commute into the Beach — they will be able to live on Miami Beach! I want to explore progressive ideas such as microhousing; creation of incentives for workforce housing; increased designation of historic districts; encourage home owners to designate their homes as historic; and create mass transit solutions that can coincide with increased rental units that don’t require parking.
Congestion and transit options: We must combat congestion by offering alternate modes of transportation for residents and tourists. If Miami Beach is to become a 21st century city, it must adopt mass transit. As commissioner I will prioritize Baylink to connect Miami Beach to the mainland. I will also place emphasis on building a light rail system to connect South, Mid, and North Beach. One of my visions is to make Miami Beach the most bike and pedestrian friendly city in America. In order to establish a bike-friendly community, we must change our car-centric culture. I intend on building dedicated and protected bike lanes that connect the entirety of Miami Beach. Road shoulders are simply not safe lanes for cyclists. Our city must also address pedestrian mobility. Our sidewalks were not designed with pedestrians in mind. Miami Beach’s sidewalks are barely large enough to walk side by side with someone. We should look to widening sidewalks and adding shade trees to make walking around our community more enjoyable.
Climate change and environmental damage: Climate change is a global issue, but we can do our part locally. We must safeguard Miami Beach by implementing adaptive strategies to sea-level rise. Our City government’s initiatives, such as installation of pumps throughout our city, provide a good starting point. We must continue making this a top priority, and invest our resources to protect our homes and our city. Because of rising sea levels, we must also continue to build our City at higher flood elevations to meet the future sea level rise. Miami Beach must be at the forefront of addressing sea-level rise. While some might argue about the science of climate change, it is clear that our sea is rising. I aim to take forward-thinking measures to keep our City afloat.
Transparency in government and access to open data: Transparency in government can always be improved. I support any measure to increase government accountability through transparency. Currently, Miami Beach has created apps that inform or show citizens where they can find parking, report problems, look up requests such as permits, and other basic government services. In my experience, the City is responsive to requests for information and will meet with residents who request appointments. Under Florida law, if residents have concerns they can easily enter a public records request and obtain the information they desire in little time with City Hall. Government is beholden to its citizens, not the other way around. As a city we must readily adopt policies that increase trust in government.