Local Businessman & newly elected Mayor, Philip Levine spoke at the Quarterly Pillar Breakfast hosted by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and sponsored by Sudsies Dry Cleaners and Laundry, on Friday, January 17 at the James Royal Palm Hotel. Michael S. Goldberg, Chairman of the Chamber and SVP of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust opened the meeting, and DeAnne Connolly Graham, Chairman of the Pillar Board introduced the Mayor and welcomed the 150 guests that attended the sold out event.
“The Mayor conveyed the goals for his administration clearly and concisely,” said Goldberg. “His ‘get it done’ attitude combined with his plans onmoving Miami Beach forward are just what this city needs. I applaud him tackling important issues head on.”
An entrepreneur and integral member of the Miami Beach community for 30 years, Mayor Levine started his speech by addressing ways he will change city hall during his tenure. Part of his proactive leadership platform, he shared the importance of making customer service a priority for City Hall and the Police Department.
“We would like to bring customer service to city hall and get things done,“ said Mayor Levine. “A great example of how we want to handle things is the unfortunate Club Madonna incident, which has been in the news. The way our city handled it, specifically Jimmy Morales, by shutting down the club right away, with my full support, shows proactive leadership.”
He stressed the importance of Miami Beach being a more “pro-business friendly city” and used Uber, the app that connects individuals with a driver at the tap of a button, as an example. Recently, the Mayor sponsored a non-binding resolution urging the County Commission to adopt legislation that would expand opportunities for digital dispatch providers of for-hire transportation services in Miami-Dade County.
An important issue he touched upon was the revitalization of North Beach and his plans to revamp this important community. City Manager Morales encouraged business leaders and community members to attend two public North Beach workshops on January 30th and February 13th , at the North Shore Youth Center, that are aimed at gathering information on ways the city can be revamped.
“We want to push North Beach forward,” said Mayor Levine. “There are some great educational institutions interested in coming to the area and we want to use education as a stimulus for North Beach. It has been ignored for far too long.”
Addressing the convention center issue or the “10,000 lbs gorilla in the room,” he touched on important points from his recent memo to the City Commission. One of the points he stressed was decoupling the hotel from the renovation project, which is designed to speed up the process. He even entertained the idea of City Hall moving to the convention center site and the City Hall lot being the location of a new hotel as one of the solutions.
“We want to get it done now and not wait,” Mayor Levine said. “The convention center is one of the most important institutions in the city. We want to get things done yesterday.”
Currently, Mayor Levine is CEO of Royal Media Partners, an exclusive partner of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. From its Alton Road offices, Royal Media Partners handles the creation of all the media for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises ships sailing in the Caribbean and Alaska. Mayor Levine is actively involved with the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization that implements innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. He is also on the board of directors for Best Buddies International, the Miami-based nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
In 2010, Philip was tapped by President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce to serve on a Task Force advising on U.S. tourism. Through his work on the Task Force, Philip is working to strengthen the nation’s growing international tourism industry — which in turn strengthens our economy.
Various dignitaries attended the breakfast including: Commissioner Michael Grieco; Commissioner Joy Malakoff; Commissioner Micky Steinberg; Commissioner Sally A. Heyman; Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy L. Morales and the Town of Golden Beach Mayor Glenn Singer.
Additional speakers included President of the Chamber and former Commissioner Jerry Libbin and President of Sudsies and former Chairman of the Chamber Jason Loeb.