Over the years, VIP’s visiting SIB have lent prominence to the city by delivering inspiring, informative speeches regarding issues including education, child welfare, healthcare, national security, Middle East peace, crime prevention, diversity, leadership, public service, immigration law, art and culture, economic growth, new development – and even “freedom of speech.”
The following dignitaries, business, community and political leaders appearing at City Commission and Aventura Marketing Council meetings as well as other civic events within city limits have helped shine a spotlight on Sunny Isles Beach – heralded for creating one the country’s greatest municipal success stories and gaining international notoriety as “Florida’s Riviera.”
Arthur H. Hertz, Chair of Wometco Enterprises
“This city is beautiful and fiscally sound…this can be attributed to [strong] leadership…The [aquarium] will complement the essence of the city and be a special destination point capturing the attention of neighboring cities.”
Progress in Sunny Isles Beach continues as plans are moving forward to construct a magnificent new Park/Aquarium complex at the gateway to the city on Sunny Isles Boulevard. Addressing site selection for the Park/Aquarium complex, Arthur Hertz, Chair of Wometco Enterprises, appeared at a City Commission meeting to praise the Sunny Isles Beach success story.
Dr. Jayne Greenberg, Anchors Away Foundation
“It’s been great watching the Anchors Away program expand…It has now been adopted in New South Wales, Singapore and will soon be launched in China. Our waters sports manual is also being used as a model in London for the 2012 Olympics.”
Hundreds of local business and community leaders were recently impressed by progressive Sunny Isles Beach beautification projects and desirable community amenities while attending a meeting at the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort featuring a “sailebration” of the Anchors Away Foundation, established by Dr. Jayne Greenberg.
Greenberg had the vision to create a marine academy to teach children with cognitive and physical disabilities learn to sail while learning science, math and life skills – setting a course for success in the marine industry. During the event, Mayor Norman Edelcup announced Sunny Isles Beach would sponsor a boat christened “Florida’s Riviera.”
Martin Karp, Miami-Dade School Board Member
“All other municipalities will be looking to see how this works out and [will be taking note of] the generosity, support and confidence Sunny Isles Beach has in our public school system.”
Miami-Dade County School Board member Dr. Martin Karp joined by Enid Weisman, Region 2 District Superintendent appeared at a City Commission meeting to recognize Sunny Isles Beach for contributing $8.5 million toward the acquisition of land for the K-8 Sunny Isles Beach Community School, which has received two “A” grades based on students’ FCAT scores since opening in 2008.
Over the years, education has also been the focus of other keynote speeches delivered in Sunny Isles Beach:
Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent Miami-Dade County Public Schools
“We cannot forget our core function – teaching kids there is nobility in every profession if you do it with your heart and your mind; and if you perfect your skill and do it honestly. Our educational institution has a greater function than just teaching reading and math – we have to ‘create community.’ It’s up to us to help kids get to see horizons that stretch out far beyond what they see from where they sit today.”
David Lawrence Jr., Chair of The Children’s Trust and President of the Early Childhood Initiative Foundation
“From Pensacola to Key West, we’ve launched The Children’s Movement in Florida. I’m frequently told I’m doing noble work – but it’s practical work for the future of our community and our country. If we want [Florida] to be a safe and secure place our children and grandchildren will want to be, we need to grow a greater proportion of successful people…It’s all about early investment. If children get off to the right start in life, chances are they’ll have wind at their backs to move forward their entire lives.”
Former Miami-Dade School Superintendent Merrett Stierheim
“I look upon myself as a ‘change agent.’ and intend to do everything I can to improve the education of children…I’m optimistic. I’ve always said to people in public life, ‘You have to be an optimist or the job will kill you.’”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez
“I believe a [mayor] who has to run county-wide should be able to get involved with the day-to-day operations of county government without having to go through the county manager.
“Stay informed and exercise your right to vote…This is not about ‘personalities’ – this is about an issue…Major cities around the world have a strong mayor. I believe it will cut through the bureaucracy and make Miami-Dade more efficient.”
Former President Bill Clinton
Sunny Isles Beach was recently in the international spotlight when former President Bill Clinton along with Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis plus hundreds of Haitian and Haitian-American professionals met at the Trump International Beach Resort for the opening of the Haitian Diaspora Unity Congress.
In keeping with the mission to lend support to Haitians, the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission approved a resolution urging President Barack Obama to grant Temporary Protective Status to Haitians in the United States.
During the Diaspora Unity Conference, Clinton also addressed immigration issues that concern Haitians living in the United States. He urged those fighting for Temporary Protected Status on behalf of an estimated 30,000 undocumented Haitians to, “Keep the pressure on [Washington] but to do so respectfully…Do not do it in a hostile way because this is a complicated thing…Haiti needs you now. The more involved you are, the better the odds get, so do not be deterred.”
Dr. Eneida Roldan, CEO, Jackson Health System
“Truly a gem and asset in this community, Jackson has been around for over 90 years – and it is the commitment and dedication of employees and members of the Public Health Trust that will help ensure our doors will stay open for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, for 90 plus years.”
Charles P. Garcia, author of ‘Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows’
“Leaders have a ‘laser light’ focus on people…Know everybody’s first name, know what’s important in their life and they’ll know you care…Leaders energize their people. You can be an ‘energy vampire’ sucking all the energy out of a room with a negative attitude – or the type of leader that motivates people to do more in the right way.”
Sen. Gwen Margolis at dedication of Sen. Gwen Margolis Park
“Just looking at this wonderful park is a breathtaking experience,” Margolis said. “Serving this city and neighboring municipalities is really a labor of love for me. Forming the City of Sunny Isles Beach was one of the smartest things we ever did. It certainly makes a lot of sense for a very cohesive community to become a city and have its own elected officials bringing people closer to the government that takes care of them.”
“Beyond being called the Sen. Gwen Margolis Park, this is really ‘the people’s park.’ In the midst of all the high rise buildings, it’s important to have this kind of opportunity for residents of all ages, including many young children, to have a place to gather and enjoy green, open space.”
Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman
“I have a love for this community… I’m ‘home town’, my parents live here – and I’m committed to do whatever I can to help improve our quality of life. I want to be there to ‘jump into the fray’ and do the right thing.”
Former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas
“Miami-Dade is a dynamic and progressive place. Sure – we’re going to have our ups and downs…but this is a place that always comes together and I think exemplifies the word ‘progress.’We are always progressing towards a better tomorrow and a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve drawn upon our diversity.”
Former US Attorney General Janet Reno
“For over 25 years, I tried to serve the people of the state of Florida or this nation in one way or another. As State Attorney in Miami during the turbulent drug wars from abroad and as Attorney General in Washington…I’ve tried to look at problems and get them solved…To build drug courts that now number over 400 across the nation; to develop child support enforcement efforts – this is what makes public service so rewarding.”
Eric Poms, Orange Bowl Committee CEO
“Special thanks goes out to volunteers and everyone involved with helping us put on events helping to ensure the Orange Bowl enhances the image, economy and culture of South Florida. Every year, the Orange Bowl attracts over 150,000 visitors, injecting over $100 million into the area’s economy.”
Developer Donald Trump
“I’m entering into a co-development agreement with the Dezers because I believe this is an amazing tract of beachfront property with phenomenal potential. It is the equivalent of owning everything on Fifth Avenue from 52 to 57 Street. With virtually no remaining prime oceanfront property in Florida, there is no doubt that this project is going to be a great success.”
At the height of the renaissance taking place in Sunny Isles Beach, the “triumphant” announcement was made that Donald J. Trump and developers Michael and Gil Dezer signed a joint venture agreement for a $600 million, three-phase oceanfront development on the east side of Collins Avenue – Grande Ocean Resort and Residences.
Robert Goodman, Art Basel Florida
“People come here to enjoy the world’s finest art and the great parties and end up falling in love with and investing in the area,” Goodman said. “Without a doubt, Art Basel has been a spark that has led to a ‘forest fire of interest’ in art here and positively impacted our economy…Every year, fifty to sixty thousand visitors come from all over the world – and shop at Aventura Mall, eat at our restaurants and spend their money all throughout Miami-Dade County.”
‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’
Kevin Klose, president of National Public Radio (NPR).
“The power of democracy rests in the speed and the depth and the freedom of transmission of ideas across this society with free access to ideas, generated and transmitted, shared, adopted, used and stored – independent of government control or censorship; and dependent upon the wisdom of the people to make the right choices when we have the correct, factual, truthful information.”
Dr. Mark Pitcavage, Anti-Defamation League’s Director of Investigative Research.
“Our South Florida office led by Andrew Rosenkrantz is one of the best – protecting the citizens of Florida in all different ways…from hate crimes and law enforcement training – to helping with discrimination complaints, legislative and policy issues. It doesn’t take very many people totally committed to extreme ideologies to cause a whole lot of misery for a whole lot of people.”
Bobby Parker, Director Miami-Dade Police
“The Miami-Dade Police Department employs 9,000 people, of which roughly 3,100 are sworn officers. Divisions include Police Services, Investigative Services, Department Services (responsible for SWAT teams, marine, motorcycle and helicopter patrols) and Support Services (facilitating partnerships between other law enforcement agencies from Palm Beach down to Key West in collaboration with the Regional Domestic Security Council)…Rest assured, you’re well covered in the arena of law enforcement.”
Col. Raanan Gissin of Israel
“The people of Israel are innovative – they’re moving forward and they are undefeated. “Our real mission is to ensure life in Israel…It’s time to ring all the bells and together with the United States – we must tell the world there is a threat and we have to fight against it.
“Today, the victims of terrorism are all of us…Values can survive despite forces of evil…We must unite and fight together so we can deliver to future generations the life we have promised to [cherish for] ourselves – even if it is on a slightly tarnished silver platter.”
‘SUCCESS STORY SPEECHES’
Author/historian Seth H. Bramson & Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman Edelcup
From Sandbar to Sophistication: The Story of Sunny Isles Beach by historian and author Seth H. Bramson received almost as much notoriety as an Oprah book choice at an AMC meeting attended by hundreds of business and community leaders gathered at the Newport Beachside Resort & Hotel.
“The Sunny Isles Beach story is probably the greatest Pygmalion of any municipal story in the history of Florida – if not the United States,” Bramson said.
“The story actually goes back to 1905 when Harvey Baker Graves came here for the first time…In 1918, he took a boat trip and fell in love with the mangroves and beaches. Graves bought 1,900 acres from the Flagler system for $60,000 and then began construction on what he referred to as ‘America’s Riviera.’”
Fast forwarding to the ‘80s era, Bramson noted that beyond a lack of desirable city services, motels were falling into disrepair. “[The late Mayor David Samson and a group of civic activists] began to realize the only solution was to form a city just around the same time the folks in Aventura came to that same realization. So [incorporation] was achieved and with that the Pygmalion began.
“Old motels have now been replaced by magnificent buildings thanks to a city that cares so strongly about its future…There are now beach accesses, municipal parks, a library, post office – and [there will soon be] a new public school…Today, Sunny Isles Beach as well as Aventura have both become great places!”
Elaborating upon why Sunny Isles Beach is now heralded as “Florida’s Riviera.,” Mayor Norman Edelcup explained, “Major innovations set us apart from many other South Florida cities – primarily our beachfront…We’ve made sure we’d always have beach accesses and we want as much green space as possible…There are now more than 1,600 children living in Sunny Isles Beach, [generating the need for] a school that opened in August 2008 in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
“Sunny Isles Boulevard is now [being redeveloped] and the road itself is being reconfigured to make it more pedestrian friendly. You’ll also see new construction on the south end of the city, where we’ll be developing more parks.
“We [anticipate] stable growth and expect the city’s population to max out at 22 or 23 thousand [including] many international residents…We hope all of you will see the improvements progressing throughout the coming years as our City Commission and staff work diligently to make this possible.”