Today I filed to be your next Mayor, the 39th Mayor of Miami Beach. Why run for Mayor and why now? It's all about refocusing our priorities and getting back to the basics. I will lead as I have governed, with a sense of urgency to provide safe, clean, quiet neighborhoods. All too often our focus and City resources are unnecessarily diverted. This must change.
I am listening carefully to you our residents. Most of you tell me that you enjoy living on Miami Beach ... but it could be better. I agree. Every day I am determined to measurably improve our daily quality of life.
Although law and order and reducing crime is job number one (more details below), the fight does not stop there. I have proven to be a bold leader, and an independent voice with a strong moral and ethical compass, asking the tough questions to counter overdevelopment, easing our nightmare traffic, addressing our homeless issues in a meaningful way, providing clean streets and sidewalks, proposing resident-friendly resiliency measures to keep our streets and homes dry, reducing excessive and obnoxious noise, and earning our residents' trust by improving the transparency in our government so everyone is on a fair and level playing field.
There is so much more we can accomplish at City Hall. We need a sense of urgency. And we must prioritize City resources (time and money) for the benefit of our residents, and no one else. Read More
Many of you personally know me, my lovely wife Shanyn and our two school-aged children. I have been a practicing attorney for 26 years handling complex financial cases. Currently I am a federal Enforcement attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (16 years). Prior to the SEC, I practiced complex financial litigation for international law firms Dewey Ballantine and Mayer Brown.
About My Campaign
I plan to run a clean campaign for Mayor similar to my campaign for Commissioner four (4) years ago. I have not hired a professional campaign consultant. Four years ago I ran an entirely positive campaign and did not say a single negative word about my opponents. My current plan is to continue with that positive formula as I believe the unrelenting negativity takes the focus away from the important issues our Mayor and Commission must address, degrades our City, and disrespects our residents.
Also unique is I am not soliciting or have an affiliation with any Political Action Committees (PAC) or Electioneering Communications Organizations (ECO). (To the contrary, I sponsored legislation this year with Mayor Gelber to tighten campaign disclosure requirements.) There is a good reason why Miami Beach prohibits campaign donations from real estate developers, lobbyists and vendors.
Now I'd like to take a deeper dive into the following legislative initiatives I am currently working on along with some of my signature legislation that has already positively improved our quality of life:
- Law and Order: Prosecuting Crime
- Police Presence and Enforcement
- Traffic Mitigation
- Counter Overdevelopment
- Proactively Address and Improve the Homeless Situation
- Protecting Biscayne Bay and Sewer Upgrades
- Quality of Life Improvements
- Transparent and Open Government - We Must Earn the Public's Trust
Law and Order: Prosecuting Crime
In 2021, only 8% of arrests by our Miami Beach Police for municipal misdemeanor crimes were successfully prosecuted. To ensure law and order is enforced, I proposed over a dozen legislative initiatives passed by our Commission that has transformed and expanded the way Miami Beach prosecutes crime. Since May 2022, Miami Beach has successfully prosecuted nearly 90% of municipal misdemeanor arrests. (Read More). I also regularly communicate and advocate with our State Attorney's Office who handles all felony prosecutions. Holding criminal violators accountable, especially repeat offenders, reduces crime.
Below are some highlights of my prosecutorial legislative initiatives already implemented:
- Added additional misdemeanor crimes to our municipal prosecution coverage to ensure accountability Read More
- Requiring the prosecution of crimes committed by repeat offenders Read More
- Opposed and helped defeat proposal to eliminate bail for misdemeanor crimes Read More
- Added probation and stay away orders as criminal sentencing options Read More
- Requiring appeals of unwarranted judicial dismissal to a higher court Read More
- Hired two (2) new prosecutors to our Municipal Prosecution Team Read More
- Creation of a pre-trial diversion (rehabilitation) program for those arrested in need, at no cost to Miami Beach Read More
- Ensuring Police are alerted to the issuance of bench warrants for criminal defendants failing to appear in court Read More
- Created the Civilian Volunteer Patrol (CVP) program Read More
Police Presence and Enforcement
The work to maintain law and order and reduce crime if far from over. A visible engaged police presence is a major deterrent to crime and provides a sense of safety. Legislative initiatives I am currently working on include:
- Creation of a Miami Beach crime laboratory to test substances seized during drug dealing arrests Read More
- Proactively enforce and prosecute street-level drug dealing Read More
- Implement secured perimeters by Ocean Drive during next year's Spring Break to ensure weapons and drugs are excluded Read More
- Enhanced high visibility police presence and foot patrols Read More
- Add additional misdemeanor crimes to our municipal prosecution coverage such as assault and petit theft Read More
- Vigorous enforcement against criminal conduct of dangerous biker and bicyclist groups Read More
Traffic in many parts of our City has become a nightmare, causing delays and requiring residents to alter their schedules to avoid the gridlock. Pursuant to my proposal, we will be scheduling a special Commission meeting to find solutions to mitigate traffic. Here are some highlights of measures I am working on:
- Implement a traffic management software system Read More
- Legal options to prevent and penalize contractors from obstructing traffic lanes Read More
- Free ferry service to and from Miami with North/South routes within Miami Beach utilizing federal, state and county grant funding Read More
- Deployment of specialized traffic control officers on major corridors throughout our City Read More
- Coordination with FDOT and the County to assist with traffic solutions Read More
- Modifications to the 63rd Street bridge schedule to ease traffic Read More
Overdevelopment strains our aging infrastructure and leads to more traffic congestion. In contrast, sensible development helps cities upgrade aging buildings. I am observing firsthand and listening to our residents who are telling me - as evidenced by recent voter referendum results - that we must limit building height and density increases.
Since 1997, the Miami Beach City Charter has required a 5/7 Commission vote plus voter approval for any increase in a property's zoned floor area ratio (FAR). FAR is the method the City uses to regulate the size of a building. From 1997-2015, the City Commission did not propose any FAR increases (meaning an increase in building size). However, from 2015-2022, the City Commission approved 12(!) proposed FAR increases for voter referendum.
Making matters worse, the Florida legislature has proposed a bill preempting voter referendum approval. Our Commission will be able to approve FAR increases (and potentially significant height and density increases) through a 5/7 Commission vote without voter approval. To keep development in check I proposed the following:
Legislation that would require 6/7 Commission approval for building size increases instead of the current 5/7. This is to counter the recent Florida bill that would restrict residents' right to vote on FAR increases. Read More
Another overdevelopment issue that concerns me relates to the Baylink Metromover proposal and the Miami-Dade County law on Rapid Transit Zones (RTZ). A real potential exists for County zoning laws to preempt Miami Beach zoning and allow for higher intensity development near proposed mass transit corridors. To counter this risk, I introduced a resolution, passed by our Commission, seeking an exemption to the County's preemption of municipal zoning laws. Read More
Let's ensure responsible development!
We Must Proactively Address & Improve the Homeless Situation
Our City provides a number of outreach services and shelter to our homeless population. Most homeless repeatedly reject our offers. We also need to increase proactive police enforcement to prevent homeless encampments, illegal loitering, and enforce against criminal activity. I have proposed the following legislative initiatives, some of which have already been implemented:
- Provide employment opportunities to the homeless Read More
- Provide pre-trial diversion programs (rehabilitation) to the homeless Read More
- Ensure that individuals with mental health issues who pose a harm to themselves and others are not immediately released back on our streets and neighborhoods Read More
- Transfer Marchman and Baker acted individuals to Jackson Memorial Hospital Read More
- Coordinate with Mount Sinai Medical Center for advanced notification of released homeless individuals Read More
- Press the Florida legislature for new laws requiring a more comprehensive evaluation for individuals who repeatedly meet the criteria under Florida's Baker Act laws Read More
Protecting Biscayne Bay & Sewer Upgrades
Our resident-friendly resiliency measures must keep our streets and homes dry, protect Biscayne Bay and prioritize upgrading our aging water and sewer infrastructure. Here are a few of my resiliency priorities and initiatives:
- Prioritize installation of new water and sewer piping and related infrastructure throughout Miami Beach. This is a must to prevent sewer main breaks and protect and preserve Biscayne Bay Read More
- Coordinate and align the City's sewer replacement projects with the recommendations of the County's Biscayne Bay Task Force Read More
- Address flooding in low-lying areas Read More
- 3D printing of “living” seawalls Read More
Quality of Life Improvements
My focus has been and will always be on the basics of what our residents expect from municipal government: to improve our quality of life with safe neighborhoods, clean streets, and quiet residential neighborhoods. Below are some of my many accomplishments and upcoming priorities:
- Tree lighting enhancements throughout Miami Beach Read More
- Passed legislation requiring removal of graffiti within 48 hours instead of ten days Read More
- Co-sponsoring permitting process improvements Read More
- Sponsored and passed legislation to prohibit and restrict short term rentals where allowed by law and increase enforcement efforts Read More
- 41st Street Business Improvement District to improve the retail business district Read More
- Protecting palm trees from unnecessary removal and phase-out Read More
- Initiatives to improve school safety, including structural integrity and mold issues at North Beach Elementary School Read More, active shooter training Read More, fill crossing guard staffing shortages Read More and address concerns near South Pointe Elementary School Read More
- Dial-in option for residents similar to 3-1-1 for non-emergency and code compliance issues Read More
- Implemented noise meter and camera technology (the first in Florida) to enforce excessive vehicle noise and modified mufflers Read More
- Restricted charter activity past 9pm at the Marina South of Fifth to shut down the unruly party Read More
- Activate Pride Park for the benefit of residents, not commercial interests Read More
- Identify neighborhoods eligible for undergrounding of power lines at no cost to residents through FPL's Storm Secure Underground program Read More
- Enhanced Beachwalk safety through visible police presence and separating pedestrian and bicyclists by using the hardpack sand east of the dunes Read More
- Requiring body-worn cameras for tow truck operators Read More
- Implementing non-motorized boat zone surrounding Monument Island Read More
- Finalize implementation of the real-time crime center, deployment of security cameras and utilizing rapid DNA testing and drone technology Read More
- Arranged for a bi-monthly Mobile DMV at Miami Beach City Hall Read More
- Voted every time to support a 2am alcohol cutoff, especially in residential neighborhoods
- Proposed and passed six (6) legislative items to prohibit and/or strictly regulate delivery warehouses on Miami Beach Read More
Transparent and Open Government - We Must Earn the Public's Trust
Many people view government with a skeptical eye, often with good reason. I continue to press for more transparency and flow of information into the hands of our residents. Informed residents can better communicate their vision and priorities for Miami Beach which in turn leads to better decisions by our Commission.
I have brought a number of good governance legislative initiatives and have consistently pushed for a more equal playing field, including:
- I voted against the no-bid for Nikki Beach and then voted no again to the shortened timeline seeking competitive bidding Read More
- I have consistently voted against awarding or extending contracts that lack a competitive bidding process. Everyone should have a fair chance and competition is fiscally prudent.
- Initiatives requiring the public availability of all City contracts, audits, Conditional Use Permits and an interactive map of all planned commercial development Read More
- I took a firm stand voting in favor of an election to fill Commissioner Samuelian's vacancy while voicing strong opposition to a direct Commission appointment View
Thank you for the opportunity you have entrusted in me to serve as your Commissioner. It is an honor. If I can help in any way, or if you have any suggestions or concerns, please reach out to me. My personal cell phone is 305-849-8932 email is email@example.com
Our City needs to refocus its priorities and resources to benefit our residents. If you elect me as your next Mayor on November 7, I will lead as I have governed: with empathy, compassion, honesty, and an intense passion to make Miami Beach the safest and most resident-friendly city in the nation.
Posted on 05 Jun 2023, 15:46 - Category: 2023