On February 14th the City of South Miami citizens will get an opportunity to change this community for the better so long as the right choices are made in this year’s election. Those choices are NOT Sally Phillips and Bob Welch.
I contemplated writing this article weeks ago but decided to wait for the recent debate which occurred this past Tuesday, January 24th at City Hall. What I witnessed that night left me and I presume those of sound mind in attendance with clear choices if this city is to progress. Josh Liebman is one of those choices.
Dr Phillips as she asked to be formally referred to showed a complete lack of understanding of every issue presented and failed to offer any positions other than to indicate things would be “looked into” or “invite people to speak.” That is the same overused rhetoric that residents and local businesses in South Miami have heard countless times leading up to prior elections. That mindset is not what this city needs. Sally had no idea how to approach the City’s largest private employer, South Miami Hospital and even more disturbing, had no ideas regarding improvements for the local merchants that make this small city so desirable to live, eat and shop in. Those same merchants provide an estimated 53% of the tax revenue for the City. That fact alone commands attention and focus to their needs. At one point she nodded in agreement with candidate Liebman when he stated that he would require a commissioner serve as ambassador to both the Red Sunset Merchants Association (RSMA) and Chamber South in order to provide a political presence and conduit for their voices to be heard and more importantly actions to occur.
Candidate Welch, a last minute candidate who coincidentally stumps for Sally, was no better, claiming he has looked into building an underground tunnel under US1. Unless this tunnel is to be carved out with a spoon over a 19 year period like Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption I fail to see how the City can either afford to build it, have any need for it or have something equal to personal freedom as the end reward. His solution for the increased vacancies on store fronts along sunset drive was having UM art students place their art in empty store fronts thereby completely missing the point of the question posed by RSMA President and panelist Hans Huseby. Mr. Huseby’s question as a resident business owner of Footworks for over 35 years was about the dire situation of merchants, parking issues, vacancies and the City’s role in supporting local business. Candidate Josh Liebman effectively stated that this city needs business sense and to be run “like a business.” Candidate Oliveros’ comment that “placing art in the storefront doesn’t pay rent” is also an accurate reflection of the proper mindset to move this city forward.
We are a small town but we should not tolerate small town politics. Sally Phillips initially filed to run for Seat 3 and filed a last minute change to run against Josh Liebman just minutes before the January deadline despite having originally declared for Seat 2 in August. In those few hours before the deadline, candidate Bob Welch also changed seats. Those puzzle pieces are hard to connect with clean lines and coincidences when analyzed, usually defy logic and reason that allows continued reference to them as just being a coincidence.
Results, action, activism, work with city businesses and residents, promote local events such as the Art Fairs, Christmas and Halloween events, the Farmers Market. That’s how this City will flourish. With candidates that represent the city and not a 3 block radius where a majority of them currently reside. Sally ended her statements at the debate saying “I reserve the right to change my mind at anytime.” Sally, running a city, a family or a business is done by hitting play, not rewind and erase.
South Miami Resident and Business Owner