Running for South Miami Mayor – Philip Stoddard
Dr. Philip Stoddard is running for City of South Miami Mayor. Now completing his fourth term as Mayor, Dr. Stoddard was named by Miami New Times as the “Best Politician of 2017” and by Politico Magazine to the Politico-50 “Guide to the Thinkers, Doers & Visionaries Transforming American Politics in 2016.” Also that year he was named the Green Municipal Official for 2016 by the Florida Green Building Coalition. He is happily married to FIU Architecture Professor Gray Read and their daughter, Vannak, attends college in Washington.
What do you plan to do in your first 100 days?
Most important is to move ahead with the revitalization of Shops at Sunset by engaging the development scheme currently proposed. I received 617 email messages concerning the redevelopment proposal for Shops, 98 percent favor the proposed plan. The City’s Planning Board favored the plan by a vote of 6 to 1.
Why is this item #1 on my list? Our downtown has been losing customers, businesses have been failing, parking revenues are declining – all while the general economy is booming and the same development team is well underway updating our competitor, Cocowalk.
The South Miami homeowner who never ventures downtown still depends on having a competitive South Miami business district. Most homeowners are unaware that their residential property taxes cover only 16 percent of the city’s total expenses, covering about half our police department costs – and nothing else. Our commercial district, straddling US-1, provides $0.62 of every dollar spent in our residential neighborhoods.
Shops at Sunset is the keystone property of our downtown economy, working symbiotically with the other businesses to drive the economic engine for our city. This necessary redevelopment of Shops includes substantial residential component, which is essential for the entire downtown to become profitable again.
The new apartments will answer another priority of the city to provide housing near the Metrorail. For anyone skeptical that “transit-oriented development” (TOD) reduces traffic, stand just west of the Metrorail station outside of Valencia Apartments at rush hour to watch the majority of residents arriving home on foot. Valencia has twice the density proposed for Shops at Sunset and yet generates no traffic.
The new Commission needs to get Madison Square under contract, the crown jewel of our CRA’s portfolio. Slated to be a mixed-use affordable housing development, Madison Square has long been viewed as essential to revitalizing the Historic Marshall Williamson Neighborhood. We have received several proposals, and will have to decide which is best for our city.
The City is currently revising its tree protection code to mesh with the County’s. We need to adjust our tree code to allow utility workers onto properties to clear branches and restore lines more easily. We also need to allow homeowners to more easily reduce or remove trees that threaten to fall. The City currently has a new arborist, who could focus on correcting problem trees that the utilities have overlooked. If we take these steps, we can keep our spectacular canopy healthy and suffer less severe outages in future storms.
Please feel free to visit my website at http://www.philipstoddard.com/.
Running for South Miami Mayor – Horace Feliu
Horace Feliu is running for City of South Miami Mayor. Born at Doctor’s Hospital in Coral Gables, Feliu owned and directed a biomedical equipment business since 1992. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor of math and algebra at a nursing college. As a graduate of Florida International University, Feliu holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Education, and Bachelors of Science Degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Biological Sciences.
Feliu has served as South Miami Rotary Club President; was a member of the city’s Environmental Review and Preservation Board (ERPB); and is a past Commissioner, Vice Mayor, Mayor of the City of South Miami. He and his wife, Seida, have three children, Henry, Danny, and Sarah – and three grandchildren.
What do you plan to do in your first 100 days?
My first 100-day plan is to work with my colleagues on the dais, and with the City Manager and City Attorney to put an end to the culture of needless litigation which has cost South Miamians an unprecedented waste of over $2 million in lawsuits in 2017 alone. I will provide the leadership that supports transparency for our citizen’s information.
Extreme densities and building heights, such as 18 stories, should not be what South Miami is known for. Developers and all applications submitted to the City Planning Board will be required to follow the city’s zoning codes. Special zoning changes that would exempt developers from the approval of our Planning Board or EPRB, or that create precedent, should not be allowed.
I will meet with our town center business owners to find ways to stop the exodus of businesses and seek the input from our residents. Opening a new business must be made easier, as well as, allowing for more compatible uses. Lowering parking fees and implementing infrastructure improvements to enhance shopping experiences will be a goal.
Violent crimes such as drive-by shootings, which were non-existent eight years ago, have gone up approximately 600 percent. Violent crimes should not be co-mingled with petty crimes in order to make it seem as though shoplifting and other petty crimes are down throughout the state. To put an end to violent crime, I will request that our City Manager reconstitute our Gang Task Force Unit and once again conduct drug sweeps in order put an end to the violence terrorizing our fellow residents.
Working with our utility companies to bury power and cable lines to better prepare for Hurricane recovery, along with quicker trash pickup, will also be addressed during my first 100 days. In addition, I will make sure that our Public Works Department is not outsourced while I am in office.
Our city, like so many others, is faced with a myriad of challenges. I wish to bring a renewed vision to our beloved city – one that will enhance our quality of life today and create a stronger, more resilient city for generations to come.
I look forward to hearing your concerns and priorities and thank you in advance for your support. Please learn more about me and my campaign at https://www.feliuforsomimayor.com/.