Miami Beach residents decided it was a time for change in the city’s commission run-off election for office, which took place on November 19, 2013. In her first run for political office, retired banker Joy Malakoff defeated Matti Herrera Bower for the Commission Group III seat by garnering 60% of the votes. Mayor of Miami Beach for six years, Bower was term limited from her current post and ran for commissioner. Additionally, criminal defense lawyer Michael Grieco won, receiving 54% the votes, for elected office against Group II incumbent Jorge Exposito. Realtor Micky Steinberg guaranteed her commission seat by garnering 53% of the votes, beating retiree Elsa Urquiza for the Group I post.
“Commissioners-elect Grieco, Malakoff, and Steinberg are exactly the type of leaders Miami Beach needs to serve on the City Commission,” said Mayor-elect Phillip Levine. “Their years of civic activism and community involvement have placed them in a unique position to serve the needs of Miami Beach residents. Our community needed new leadership and I am honored and humbled to serve with these three community leaders.”
Malakoff’s campaign focus was mainly around term limits and introducing new blood to the commission office. A staple in the Miami Beach political scene since 1999, Bower has served as commissioner and mayor. However, the city’s rules prohibit only the number of consecutive terms an elected official can serve and allows politicians, like Bower, to jump between posts when they reach their term limit. As commissioner Malakoff wants to focus on restoring the city’s beaches, reducing the amount of retail space currently included in the planned convention center district renovation and to better manage flooding problems in the city.
Endorsed by Levine, Grieco’s “back to basics” platform focused on improving the city’s infrastructure, which included reducing noise pollution and improving road conditions and safety. Among other issues Grieco hopes to address as commissioner: scaling-back the city’s convention center project, and tackling corruption in the city, as well as placing greater emphasis on hiring employees who live in the city of Miami Beach.
Wife of former State Representative Richard Steinberg, Micky Steinberg’s priorities while in office include: restoring confidence in the city and fighting back against high profile corruption scandals; tackling flooding issues; and strengthening the city’s schools. A mother of two young children, she proposes city leaders work in partnership with the School Superintendent and School Board members to strengthen the education system and ensure smart investments are made to grow the opportunities for Miami Beach children.
In all, four political newcomers, with newly-elected Mayor Philip Levine, will join the seven-member commission at a transformative moment in the Beach’s history. The first items likely to be addressed by the new commissioners: historic preservation of homes and the Miami Beach Convention Center project.
As previously reported by the Miami Beach Community News, the race for Miami Beach mayor was decided during the general election on November 5th, 2013. Mayor Levine won the post against incumbent commissioner Michael Góngora by capturing more than 50 % of the vote, thus requiring no runoff. Levine’s first line of business will be to sit down with the city manager for a full briefing on the city’s issues, including getting the convention center back on track and resolving flooding problems.
The new commission was sworn in on November 25th, 2013. We wish all the new commissioners good luck in their new positions.