Letter from the Chair

I find it fascinating to watch all of the political players in action focused on the one goal of getting elected. Politics here in Miami Beach certainly provides enough entertainment to produce a successful reality TV show. But at the end of the day it really is about leadership. Right now this community is in need of great leadership that understands the future of Miami Beach. And the future of our great city is absolutely dependent upon having a renovated convention center and hotel. You will hear a lot of opinions about the convention center, the hotel and the developer from these candidates but in the end it is purely politics with one goal for them…getting elected.

Let me tell you the facts and I have no skin in the game! Our current convention center needs substantial improvement, a ballroom and a convention center hotel. Without that, we will continue to get the smaller day-tripper shows that provide tremendous amounts of traffic, minimal spending in our city, and a declining contribution towards the tourist tax. And less tourist tax means less money to go to our city’ infrastructure and benefits to our residents. It also means that the money has to come from somewhere else to cover these costs. Don’t think differently for one minute. This money will be found through increases to real estate taxes. The candidates will not tell you that their plan will increase property taxes. But if we don’t stick to our original plan and get the convention center improved with a hotel, our residents will pay a lot more to live here and enjoy the city as we know it today.

The best conventions are anxiously awaiting our improved convention center and hotel so they can book events, occupy our hotels and stay and play in our great city. They have made it clear for many years that we need both, the improvements to our convention center and the hotel. And by the way, these larger conventions are the crowd that the city wants and needs. They fly into our airport, take a cab or shuttle to our city, stay in our hotels, dine in our restaurants and shop in our retail stores. They create much less traffic then the day trippers that come in for the bulk of our current conventions. This is what everyone wants. This election is more important than ever. The future of our city depends upon ensuring that the right people get elected and provide the leadership that this city needs to stay the course and get our convention center renovated and add the hotel. I urge you to educate yourself and make the right decision on November 5th to guarantee the right future for our city and I invite you to attend the Chamber’s May 9th Mayoral Debate at Miami Beach High School.

At your service,

Alan A. Lips

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