Why are you running?
Miami’s toxic political climate has to change. Miami’s politicians have sold the future of our city for the short-term gains of the special interests that contribute to their campaigns. Effectively, our quality of life is being diluted in order to return favors to select campaign contributors. Traffic, like most problems we face on a daily basis, is the direct cause of too much building, too fast without any thought as to local impact for the sake of returning those favors. There was no candidate willing to truly discuss these issues of concern and the solutions to address them. I felt a moral obligation to run and be that person who starts the conversation about reform in Miami. I have made campaign finance reform the center of my message but my ultimate goal is to change how the administration of the City of Miami handles every day city services and what solutions it considers when planning development and quality of life projects. Ultimately, I want the people of Miami to take back their city from the hands of the special interests. I want good government and best practices done here. After my time as commissioner, I want my legacy to be THE example for what a public official concerned about quality of life can do in Miami.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Miami right now?
- Public Trust
- Permanent Jobs
- Affordable Housing
What are some of the solutions you would propose?
- Campaign finance reform (copy and paste Miami Beach’s campaign finance reform ordinance to Miami).
- SkyTran (NASA’s solution to traffic is a monorail that operates by the principal of magnetic levitation which can be built at 10 times less the cost of MetroRail; Google CEO Eric Schmidt is an investor).
- Job creation: Offer more public venues like a 500,000 square foot convention center and establish Miami once-again as an event hub to draw important tourist and convention dollars.
- Affordable housing/infill development (Miami 21 updates allowing for relaxed parking regulation, mixed use and improve walkability in order to add desperately-needed affordable housing; make our city more friendly for family and corporate headquarters).
Imagine we gave you a $100 budget. How would you spend those $100?
Please share a few words about how you would tackle the some of the following challenges:
Poverty and the low median wage: Each income bracket faces different challenges. Many households are one paycheck away from homelessness. For ultra-low income households, day to day survival is the chief concern. Providing access to social workers and subsistence support is key. For low-income households, its about developing human capital, providing a ladder of success through training and education and workforce employment. The key to prosperity is the idea of climbing out of poverty, providing the support as the person advances with the goal of becoming a self-fulfilled/self-motivated and independent person.
The high cost of rent/real estate: Affordable housing needs to be addressed by 1) changing regulations that make market-rate affordable housing impossible (that is eliminate the parking requirement, increase the number of units per property, and 2) actually using funding that is dedicated to affordable housing for affordable housing. The application of both ideas will allow neighborhoods to be more friendly for millennials and transform neighborhoods into a walkable, urban paradise.
Congestion and transit options: Address the causes of traffic which is the question as to why people are traveling so much on the road by car. City policies in development has led to the demolition of commercial corridors replacing them with residential-only towers requiring residents to travel further out of their areas to purchase day-to-day necessities. Further, modern traffic control systems need to be implemented to coordinate traffic lights during peak traffic hours. Lastly, building and infrastructure construction needs to be coordinated otherwise they will chronically disrupt traffic flow.
Climate change and environmental damage: Our waters, our parks and ours politics are all polluted. The city of Miami has neglected its parks except where they make great photo ops for politicians. The city still has 6 neighborhood parks closed and has a war on natural grass. The city policy is challenging the right of residents and their pets to have access to natural grass parks by advocating artificial turf in every available public open space (at ten times the cost of natural grass). Our city is one of the least family-friendly metro areas in America. Our city should advocate policies that raise building standards to include platinum LEED certification which includes in-house, power generation (i.e. solar) and water recycling. Essentially, modern buildings can and should be self-sufficient and sustainable.
Transparency in government and access to open data: One of the biggest lessons I learned from the hundreds of issues discussed on my radio program, Miami After Dark, was about civic technology and our legal climate regarding government transparency. It was determined that states like Florida with strong but antiquated sunshine laws actually make it easier to hide government activities from the public. However, we can’t even begin to question transparency in Miami since our various city computer systems are 25-30 years old — many of which handle critical issues such as bookkeeping and payroll. I advocate for adopting an enterprise-level system and bring city government processes forward. However, readers should be aware that technology is not to be used for accountability — you cannot use computer systems to change a corporate culture that is tainted by poor manager-employee relationships such as what we have in the City of Miami.