Albert Harum-Alvarez, who has been deeply involved in the Kendall community for years, is making his first run for public office — seeking the Miami-Dade Commission District 8 seat being vacated by Katy Sorenson.
Harum-Alvarez says he wants to work for the people of Miami-Dade, but doesn’t plan on becoming a career politician.
“Two terms and I’m done,” he said about his self-imposed term limits.
Among the major issues on his platform are to: Hold the line on overdevelopment by not paving over farmland, and stopping high-rises from invading neighborhoods. He wants to make Miami-Dade County the most transparent local government in the country by publishing all county accounts, contracts and calendars online.
Harum-Alvarez says government should be less about ceremony and more about accountability.
“I don’t know much about ribbon cutting. I do budget cutting. I’m not interested in getting my face on the news. I want to help fix this county — and the place to start is with money.”
He thinks the county has played fast and loose with taxpayers dollars for too long.
“We voted to tax ourselves a half-penny for expanding Metrorail, and another halfpenny for Jackson for indigent care,” he said. “The Transit Department frittered away the Metrorail money in operating expenses, and Jackson is still discovering what happened to its tax dollars.”
Harum-Alvarez believes it’s time to hold county officials responsible for fiscal mismanagement.
“God bless the voters of this county for being so generous. Now it’s time to put the fear of God into bureaucrats who have abused our generosity,” he said. “It’s time to fire county managers who don’t value our tax dollars. It’s time to put all county accounts online, for instant review by those of us who pay their salaries. And it’s time to make the county follow our agenda — not the agenda of billionaires who own sports teams or developers who want to pave over our farmlands.”
Albert Harum-Alvarez is a life-long Miamian whose family dates back to the 1930s in South Florida.
He is married to dancer and schoolteacher Enid Harum-Alvarez. They have three children: Gabriel, Giovanna and Marjory.
Harum-Alvarez began his working life as laborer, ditch digger and carpenter. He became a schoolteacher and a member of the United Teachers of Dade before he founded a company that consults with small businesses around the world.
Harum-Alvarez taught school for 15 years, in Overtown, Liberty City, Brownsville and Coral Gables, as well as in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Watts and South Central. He volunteered for assignments that were hard to fill, and succeeded by believing in his students and finding ways to teach them.
He was an “incentive sub” in Watts, which means he got 150 percent of the daily rate as long as he agreed to take the assignment, no matter what the school or class was. There usually were no lesson plans left in these classrooms, so Harum- Alvarez developed a portfolio of “super lessons” that could engage the toughest classrooms.
When their first child arrived, Albert and Enid decided that they both wanted to stay home to raise their children. Enid left her dance classroom when she was eight months pregnant. Albert founded a small consulting firm that he ran from the kitchen table, and after three years he was able to leave the classroom as well.
The company now is world-renowned for software design, and Harum-Alvarez’s clients and partners are spread across three continents. They include Harvard University, New York Public Library, Fidelity Investments, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Time Inc.
Harum-Alvarez now teaches master classes in software design, and supervises the work of his staff of four. He recently became a Family Mediator, licensed by the Florida Supreme Court, and joined the family firm of Harum and Harum, founded by his grandfather, Al Harum, and now directed by his sister the Hon. Andrea Harum Schiavoni, Esq., Town Justice of Southampton, NY.
Harum-Alvarez entrepreneurial success has allowed him time to devote to his children and to volunteering in the community, starting with the PTA of his children’s school. For nine years, he chaired the Kenwoods Hammock Committee, running an award-winning and nationally renowned outdoor classroom set in a grove of South Florida native trees planted by parents, teachers and students.
He organized Hammock workdays and led classes through the Hammock on a new set of “super lessons” he developed on the history and ecology of South Florida.
Harum-Alvarez and his family have built “The Green House” in Kendall, a home with electric bills of $35 to $110 monthly — about 75 percent lower than comparable households in their neighborhood. The Green House has been featured in films, on television and in print. The family offers regular tours to share its design techniques with others.
Harum-Alvarez has served in dozens of community groups, including: Catholic Church Ministries, Habitat for Humanity: Liberty City construction project, Mayor’s Climate Change Task Force, Continental Park Homeowners’ Association, Dice House Coalition to save the oldest house in Kendall, East Kendall Incorporation Committee (MAC), Florida Bar Grievance Committee, Kendall Public Space Committee, Downtown Kendall Steering Committee, Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Kendall Transit Corridor Studies, Board Member, Urban Environment League and ChamberSouth Trustee.
He is a conservatory-trained musician whose musical performances range from salsa to Gregorian Chant. He performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, dance bands and a gospel group that toured African Methodist Episcopal churches in California. He now enjoys playing and singing standard tunes from the Great American Songbook.
For more on Albert Harum-Alvarez and his campaign, visit online at www.electAlbert.com. The election is on Aug. 24.