In their own words: Why I want to be mayor

Horace Feliu

Why I am running for Mayor? My wife’s first response: “Are you nuts?” I explained to her that many who didn’t support me in the past Horace-Feliu-(A)have asked me to run. I also explained that my opponent now has a track record. Last year, he quietly voted for the 30-year FPL fran-chise agreement without any concessions. Quietly and stealthily, without any mention, tens of thousands of our tax dollars have been wasted on failed litigation. My position six years ago of working with other cities to bury the lines has been justified!

Not so quietly, however, as reported on the front page of the Miami Herald, have been the scandals involving our South Miami Police Department. Not so quietly, as also covered by the Herald and Channel 4, has been the latest shooting of an unarmed resident of South Miami by one of our police officers. And certainly not so quietly has been the failed attempt to cover it up with damage control by making the victim seem as though he was responsible.

As many now know, the changing of city hall’s zoning to more liberal, less restrictive uses in order to develop without the consent of our citizens is not only a violation of our city charter, it clearly highlights the deception and dishonesty going on at City Hall.

Developers, lobbyists and special interests need to conform to our rules and ordinances and not the other way around. Doomsday scenarios of global warming, rising sea levels threatening to swallow up City Hall along with the extinction of the red striped mosquito are interesting but we should focus on important city issues which we can control. Police problems, rising taxes, overdevelopment, connecting to the county’s sewer system and doing away with septic tanks should be our primary concerns. Losing lawsuits due to blatant violations of contracts should also be of concern.

After a few minutes of grilling, Seida, my wife and best friend, knew that I needed to step into the mix once again, regardless of the slander, lies and innuendo that typically accompany running for office. She smiled in her usual loving, understanding way and said the magic words I wanted to hear:

“You have my support.”

Claudia Hauri

 

claudia hauriI was born in Coral Gables of Swiss/German parents, moving before age one to five ‘Stoney Acres’ near where South Miami Senior High is located. I attended Sunset Elementary K-3 grade. The furthest south I ever lived was 19901 Old Cutler Rd. After a divorce in 1971, I moved back to South Miami and bought a house at 6861 SW 77 Ter. The final move was in 1977 when I bought my home at 5752 SW 77 Ter.

I have seen the area change throughout the years. I can close my eyes and remember the aroma of bread baking, drifting from the Holsum Bakery, and the Christmas display on US 1. There was minimal traffic; residents could easily walk about town and park right at the business visited. I even rode my bike to Sunset. It was a kinder, gentler time. But we all expect change; it’s a good thing and a sign of progress. I have seen many administrations leave their own history and mark on our city but now we have a different and, I believe, critical need for a new administration.

As your mayor I want to return our city to the City of Pleasant Living as it is named. The city is very far from that at this time.

We are guided by our charter and our codes but developers submit plans that do not conform with our regulations, and they are approved with variances, code violations and changes/amendments to the charter to accommodate them. The result is building five homes on a lot that previously had a single-family home. Surely four would have produced enough monetary profit. Where there were wo lots and two houses, there are three being built. Trees are destroyed to clear lots for over-building and our infrastructure is now overburdened with poor planning.

Our residents take great pride in their neighborhoods and invest in their home to enjoy an expected quality of life. Increased density, traffic and non-conformance with the character of their area are destroying our ‘home town’ feeling.

As your mayor, I will return civility and respect to our commission meetings and, most importantly, keep an open transparent communication with all of our residents. Foremost on my agenda as Mayor is that you, the residents, are shareholders and have not only a vested interest but the right to know and get information on all city business. We are a city of 2.3 square miles and our taxes and revenues should be spent improving our parks and streets and eventually eliminating the use of septic tanks. We are not real estate developers and there is no valid reason to purchase or maintain any recreational area out-side our city boundaries. Our City Hall and adja-cent historic Sylvia Martin building are ours and should never be sold. They are the face of the City of South Miami.

We are guided by our charter and our codes but developers submit plans that do not conform with our regulations, and they are approved with variances, code violations and changes/amendments to the charter to accommodate them. The result is building five homes on a lot that previously had a single-family home. Surely four would have produced enough monetary profit. Where there were two lots and two houses, there are three being built. Trees are destroyed to clear lots for over-building and our infrastructure is now overburdened with poor planning. Our residents take great pride in their neighborhoods and invest in their home to enjoy an expected quality of life. Increased density, traffic and non-conformance with the character of their area are destroying our ‘home town’ feeling.

As your mayor, I will return civility and respect to our commission meetings and, most importantly, keep an open transparent communication with all of our residents. Foremost on my agenda as Mayor is that you, the residents, are shareholders and have not only a vested interest but the right to know and get information on all city business. We are a city of 2.3 square miles and our taxes and revenues should be spent improving our parks and streets and eventually eliminating the use of septic tanks. We are not real estate developers and there is no valid reason to purchase or maintain any recreational area out-side our city boundaries. Our City Hall and adja-cent historic Sylvia Martin building are ours and should never be sold. They are the face of the City of South Miami.

Phillip Stoddard

Town Kitchen scores an ‘A’

The American novelist Thomas Pynchon wrote: “If you can get them asking the wrong questions, you don’t have to worry about the answers.”  After six years as Mayor of South Miami, I still think these four questions are the right questions to ask of our citizen-led local government: Are we safe?
We are safer. Crime in South Miami is down 34 percent compared to when I ran or office in 2010. The drop stems from the new Community Policing program we insti-tuted last year. Let’s keep going. Is our city a good place to live and work?Everybody wants to move to South Miami, such that homes are in high demand, especially affordable ones. This year NerdWallet.com listed South Miami as among the 10 best cities in Florida for young families. We have added tree canopy, achieving “Tree City USA” certification four years in a row and we recently strengthened our tree protection rules. We have succeeded thus far in holding off FPL’s plans to run high voltage transmission lines through the heart of our city. Residents enjoy our Community Center, community pool and our neighborhood parks. Our Fourth of July celebration at Palmer Park is a big hit every year. We are not a bedroom community but a mix of residences and businesses, so we are taking care of both by investing in “complete streets” design to make both our urban and suburban areas safer places to walk and bike.

Are we getting a good deal for our taxes?

We dropped South Miami’s property tax rate to an all time low while improving police and staff salaries and boosting spend-ing on trees, parks, and infrastructure. I will continue my history of holding down taxes while improving city revenues with grants and other sources.

Is our city in good shape going forward?

 


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1 Comment on "In their own words: Why I want to be mayor"

  1. So Not America | January 13, 2016 at 10:32 am | Reply

    After six years as Mayor of South Miami, I still think these four questions are the right questions to ask of our citizen-led local government: Are we safe?
    Answer Uh No!
    South Miami PD Explorers Answer No.
    South Miami Resident Mr.Gavins Shot by SMPD in Coral Gables Answer No.
    South Miami PD staff and the general public at the hands of South Miami PD officer Aguiar Answer No.
    Mayor stoddard is more outraged that the cleaning staff at sunset place got fired than what the SMPD is doing to its own residents, the public at large, and South Miami PD staff under the new South Miami chief Landa…
    Question what color is the sky in your world Stoddard?

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