The Miami Beach community stands with Mark

Mark is an honest public servant through and through. He knows that, more than anything else, Miami Beach residents want to feel safe. As our City Commissioner, he’s made public safety a priority.

It’s no wonder that Mark has earned the support of local leaders, organizations, and advocates who are fighting to make Miami Beach a better, safer place to live.

Support Mark

We’re proud to have a broad base of support in our community. From Mayor Dan Gelber to our local firefighters’ union, the people who make a real difference in the lives of Miami Beach residents are standing with Mark.

They all know that Mark is a skilled, compassionate leader who listens to his constituents and works to deliver real victories for our residents. And they know that he’ll continue to put public safety first in his next term.

We hope you’ll join our firefighters, first responders, hospitality workers, local leaders, and so many others in supporting Mark’s re-election campaign. Click here to make a contribution today!

Thank you,

Laura Dominguez and Team Samuelian

From Beach to Bay

Finding innovative ways to improve our city and our quality of life has been my top priority as your City Commissioner.

One of my proudest days in office was November 6, 2018, when a number of important referendums passed, including the creation of the Inspector General’s office, the approval of the Convention Center Hotel and, perhaps most significantly, the approval of the G.O. Bond program.

The $439M G.O. Bond has been and will continue to be truly transformative for Miami Beach, and I’m proud to have been a leading advocate for its approval. 

As a result of funding from the G.O. Bond program, the Beachwalk is now fully open from South Pointe Park to 79th Street, so residents and visitors can walk, bike, or run! Our city is also using G.O. Bond funding to connect South Pointe Park to the bay with a new pedestrian bridge over 5th street and to accelerate progress on our Baywalk.

Thanks to our work promoting and supporting the G.O. Bond program, soon, people will be able to walk from the beach, around South Pointe Park and continue to the bay in South Beach.

GO Bond

I’m proud to have advocated for these game-changing projects. Through our hard work and consistent outreach to the Miami Beach community, the G.O. Bond passed with a resounding 70% voter approval. To learn more about the G.O. Bond program, click here. 

We all have a vision for the future of Miami Beach. I’m running for re-election to make that vision a reality, and I know that innovative programs like the G.O. Bond will help us get there. 

I will always fight for innovation and progress. With our May fundraising deadline just around the corner, can you make a contribution today to support our work building a better future for Miami Beach? 

Thank you for your support.

— Mark

COVID-19: The End of the Beginning – Carefully Reopening

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Together we are experiencing an extraordinarily sad and challenging time. I am so grateful for everyone’s efforts and sacrifices. We now appear to be ending the beginning phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and thankfully can start to carefully reopen some businesses with continued vigilance.

My number one priority throughout has been public safety. At this point, data and our medical experts indicate that we can begin to open Miami Beach due to many of the initial decisions made as well as our community’s amazing efforts. I have contributed to and called for steady leadership based on sound science during our daily meetings with the City Manager, Mayor, and Commission. I have advocated for our residents, especially our most vulnerable, and ensured that in-home senior testing was implemented. Moreover, I am proud of my contributions to the new “MB Gold Standard” branding which will drive safer business behavior and build customer confidence. Finally, I argued strongly to repurpose certain streets in Miami Beach for much-improved pedestrian and cyclist access. As of tomorrow (Saturday), Ocean Drive will be fully open for pedestrians/ cyclists (no vehicles) and soon cafes; stay tuned as you soon will be able to enjoy some of your other favorite streets!

Below are some highlights I would like to share beginning with the City of Miami Beach’s reopening plans, an extension of gratitude to all who have contributed to softening the blow of COVID-19 in our community, and a list of free resources.


County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has announced that the county will begin a phased reopening next week. With that, the City of Miami Beach recently announced that it will begin its own phased reopening next week. As per the linked article, “the plan, which was proposed by City Manager Jimmy Morales, would reopen 602 retail stores, 18 museums and 141 barbershops, hair and nail salons by next week on Wednesday, May 20th.”

Please see the graphic below for additional specifics.


Thank you to our wonderful residents and the entire community who have helped “stop the spread.”  Your continued efforts are absolutely critical to our ability to fight this virus.

And thank you to all our city personnel, especially our police and fire professionals, and also our healthcare and other frontline workers, who have served admirably to keep us safe.

Also, I would like to thank Commissioner David Richardson, Feeding South Florida, South Florida Seniors in Action, and our community heroes who volunteer to deliver food to our most vulnerable. In addition, I would like to recognize the Miami Beach Bots from Miami Beach Senior High who took it upon themselves to create masks and shields for our community.

Lastly, I want to thank the team behind Meals for Heroes Miami. This program has provided food, free of charge, to our frontline workers while simultaneously helping local restaurants survive.


The City of Miami Beach Convention Center has become a walk-up & drive-thru diagnostic test site for COVID-19, and is in operation from Monday – Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm (excluding 5.15 – 5.17). The testing site has capacity for 750 tests a day and is completely free to anyone 18 years of age or older regardless of symptoms. No appointments are necessary and no limit on frequency of tests.

In addition, the Commission unanimously approved the creation of a limited rental assistance fund to help eligible residents pay their rent.

As we weather these trying times, I am working hard to make sure that our city continues to listen to its residents and provide support for those who genuinely need it. We are all in this together, and if you find yourself needing assistance, please feel free to use one of the resources below:

City of Miami Beach Resource Center from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.  305.604.CITY (2489)

The Florida Department of Health has established a Call Center available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1.866.779.6121 or email your questions to

Food distribution sign up

Resources for workers

Let’s all continue to follow safe behaviors including social distancing and masks.  Be safe and healthy, and if you need any assistance please feel free to either contact me or my aide:
Elias Gonzalez, EliasGonzalez@MiamiBeachFl.Gov or call 305.673.7000 ext.6860


Mark Samuelian
Miami Beach City Commissioner

Phased Opening

Picking up shields and masks

Picking up shields and masks from Miami Beach Bots in North Beach

Press Conference at Joes

At Joe’s Stone Crab during one of the early press conferences about COVID-19

Improving our Approach to Flooding in 2020!

Season’s greetings! A lot has happened in our little slice of paradise over the last year. First, I want to congratulate my Commission colleague, Ricky Arriola, for his reelection and Steven Meiner and David Richardson for their electoral victories. I look forward to working with them and the rest of my fellow Commissioners as we continue to pursue what is best for the long-term interests of our City.

I am grateful for my colleagues on the Commission, the City Administration, my Commission Aide, Elias Gonzalez, and most importantly my life partner, Laura Dominguez.

Flooding exacerbated by sea-level rise is a real concern and a scientific fact. As Chairman of the Sustainability and Resiliency Committee (SRC), I want to summarize my latest thinking.

Historically, South Florida has experienced 1 – 2 inches/ decade increases with wide variations in potential future acceleration.  I am proud that we have a significant program in place, our FEMA flood scores are improving, and 70% of voters supported the GO Bonds where investors clamored to lend money to our City for the decades to come. There is still much more we can do, and below are my thoughts on how we can improve:

Miami Beach needs to continue to invest and adapt – “do nothing” is not an alternative.  As Mayor Gelber recently stated:
  • “We can now recalibrate our approach. By the way, we haven’t paused. I don’t have a second thought about taking action. I just want to make sure the actions we’re taking are the right ones. A pause would be reconsidering what we’re doing. I just want to make sure what we’re doing is the right thing.”

While it is clear that we must continue to act, we need to make sure we are executing our neighborhood projects properly. Under my leadership, our SRC Committee strengthened its oversight role in the City’s flooding/stormwater management program and have identified and worked to address major issues with both the Indian Creek and Palm and Hibiscus projects. Our new Inspector General is currently reviewing these projects, and you can hear more about my specific improvement ideas here.

We must change our current one-size-fits-all policy of raising all roads to one uniform level across all neighborhoods.  Private properties put substantially below the street may be adversely impacted in a number of ways:  flooding risk, walkability, aesthetics, costs, etc. Our real-world experiences indicate that road raising is making our neighborhood projects overly complex and extending timelines to unacceptable lengths. Dramatic road raising in a built environment is highly controversial and extraordinarily risky for Miami Beach.  Indeed, the recent FDOT Alton Road project did Not elevate roads and due to pumps and other infrastructure improvements 5th Street – Michigan is much improved.  Finally, this approach is very expensive with substantial costs to the City and private property owners. I hope our new Commission will quickly make important improvements to our road raising policy so that we can accelerate our program.

Our seawalls need much greater attention as we are currently targeting well under 5% of our planned flooding spending towards sea walls.  Moreover, approximately 90% of sea walls are on private property.  We have water “overtopping” and flooding neighbors and streets today and so this must be addressed with much greater urgency.

We need to focus more on short-term solutions for current flooding challenges. Our program will likely take 10+ years to complete, so interim approaches are clearly required. One specific opportunity is to expand the use of temporary pumps that have been used effectively in the City. Temporary pumps, permitted through DERM (Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management), have been successfully deployed in many neighborhoods including North Bay Road, Orchard Park, Indian Creek, Taum Waterway, and other North Beach areas.

Going forward, the City also needs to ensure that private properties are becoming more resilient. We need to provide the right mix of requirements, information and tools and even potentially financial support. Commissioner Arriola’s agenda item to create a “Historic Preservation Fund” is an excellent example of such thinking.

Given that our total program (including Water/ Sewer enhancements) is currently estimated to be $1+ billion, we need to be fiscally responsible, identify cost efficiencies and secure additional state/federal funding. To that end, I recently sponsored an item discussing how Miami Beach can pursue mitigation funding from the $633 million allocated to Florida from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

I am proud to round out my second year serving as your Commissioner, and it has been a productive year. Altogether, Elias and I have addressed over 410 resident concerns/issues, and I have attended over 200 community meetings.

Warm wishes to all this holiday season. Looking forward to 2020, and please contact us if we may be of service.

Mark Samuelian

Upcoming MB Ballot Questions

Miami Beach is abuzz with news and excitement over the upcoming local elections with Vote-By-Mail beginning this month, followed by Early Voting and Election Day on November 5.  Mayor Gelber faced no opposition and will serve an additional two-year term. I was proud to endorse him and am delighted to see the Mayor back on the dais.

There are also six important ballot questions.   I have received a number of resident inquiries and wanted to share some information and perspective that may help in your decision-making process. This link includes the actual ballot questions and official explanation from the City:

Official City Explanation Here

In addition, below I have summarized my opinion as to the essence of each question as well as my vote and rationale.

Ballot Question 1: Increasing Mayor’s Term and Changing Mayor’s Term
This ballot question concerns increasing the Mayor’s term from two years to four years. If approved by the City’s voters, all members of the City Commission – including the Mayor – will have a four-year term, with a maximum term limit of eight years (two four-year terms) starting in November 2021.

NO – The current Mayoral two-year term structure has served Miami Beach well and provides significant accountability for this important office to the voters.  In addition, given that three Commissioners are on the ballot every cycle, keeping the Mayor on two-year terms allows residents to change the majority of their City Commission if they so choose.  Finally, I believe that voter participation is important to a thriving city, and we are challenged by having our races in odd years without other major elections.  A Mayoral race increases community interest and engagement, and so this change would likely decrease turnout to an even lower level.

Ballot Question 2: Amend City Charter to Increase Annual Compensation of Mayor and City Commissioners

The ballot question asks voters whether Mayor and Commissioner compensations should be increased, starting in 2021 (in other words, if approved, the increased compensations will not immediately apply to sitting members of the City Commission). Specifically, the question asks whether effective with the City’s General Election in 2021, the Mayor’s annual compensation should be increased from $10,000 to $75,636, and whether the annual compensation of each City Commissioner should be increased from $6,000 to $45,381.  These new figures reflect the annual cost of living increase from 1966 to the present, and additionally, the new salaries would be increased annually based on the Consumer Price Index.  Separately, elected officials will also continue to receive taxable expense allowances to pay for position-related costs.

YES – This ballot question (passed with a 6 -1 Commission vote) will not affect me or any of my colleagues in our current terms on the City Commission.  In fact, I voted against a previous version of this ballot question proposed last election cycle because it would have applied to the current terms of the Commission.  Higher salaries will allow more people to venture into running for office, not just those that have enough income/time flexibility to do so.  A larger talent pool should ultimately produce more representative and qualified candidates, as well as more people participating in the political process.  The current salaries established in 1966 do not adequately reflect the size and complexity of our current City government and the resulting time required.

Ballot Question 3: Amending Procedures for Filling of Vacancies in City Commission
The proposed amendments revise the Charter by establishing a procedure (including specific time periods) related to vacancies on the Commission caused by the resignation of a Commission member. (Note: The existing Charter language only addresses vacancies in general and does not address vacancies due to resignation.) Further, in order to clarify the Charter’s provisions governing the filling of any vacancy on the Commission, the proposed amendments make clear that the Commission is not required to appoint someone to fill the vacancy, but instead must initially decide whether to appoint or schedule an election to fill the vacancy.

YES – This ballot question will create clear procedures for the filling of a vacancy caused by the resignation of a City Commission member maintaining the two options of appointment and election.  It will allow the Commission more time to make this decision and provide more opportunities to cost-effectively conduct such an election at the same time as the County or City are being held.

Ballot Question 4: Naming of the Main Convention Center Park/P-Lot as “Pride Park”
Pursuant to the City Code, a referendum is required to approve the naming of an exterior portion of a City facility, including a City park. The subject ballot question asks the City’s voters whether the main Convention Center Park/P-Lot should be named “Pride Park.”

YES – Pride Park is truly fitting for our community and sends a strong message of inclusivity.

Ballot Question 5: Ordinance Authorizing New Floor Area Within the Interior of Historic Buildings for Adaptive Reuse
This question asks whether the City Commission shall adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of new floor area within the interior of historic buildings for the adaptive reuse of such buildings. “Floor area” generally means the sum of the horizontal areas of the floors of a building. “Floor area ratio” (“FAR”) is the measure utilized by the City to regulate the overall size of a building. The City’s Land Development Regulations establish a maximum FAR for each of the City’s zoning districts. “Adaptive reuse” generally means the renovation and reuse of pre-existing buildings for new purposes.

YES – This ballot question would encourage the renovation and enhanced utilization of certain historic buildings.

Ballot Question 6: Floor Area Ratio Increase for Office Uses Along Washington Avenue and Alton Road
This question asks whether the City Commission shall adopt an Ordinance increasing FAR to 2.0 for buildings in the CD-2 district that are located along Washington Avenue and Alton Road if more than 25% of the building area is used for offices. The measure is intended to provide the same maximum FAR for buildings along Washington Avenue and Alton Road that contain offices, as the maximum FAR that currently applies to buildings in the CD-2 district that contain residential or hotel units.

Mark Samuelian

YES – Washington Ave and Alton Road would benefit from additional office space and additional people during the day.  This measure would allow office buildings the same FAR (ie., building size) as hotels/ residential uses.

Please note this link which shows a clip from when the Commission voted on these and rejected three other potential ballot questions:

View Video Clip Here
(Timestamp: 2:46:55)

I hope this information was helpful as you prepare to vote on these important ballot questions!

Mark Samuelian

FOSPE Thanks City of Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian

Chess TeamThank you, City of Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian

Friends of South Pointe Elementary (FOSPE) Children & Education Foundation would like to express our heartfelt thanks & gratitude to City of Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian for his sponsorship of two Miami Beach South Pointe Elementary students (Christopher Urgell & Jolie Bagat) in our after-school fall semester chess enrichment class.

Mark playing chessHis generosity is allowing two students to learn about this historic game that continues to have relevance when success in school and life can be aided by being “one-step ahead”. On behalf of myself and the FOSPE board & team, thank you very much Commissioner Mark Samuelian.
Miami Beach High School

Also a sponsor of Miami Beach Sr. High’s football team’s t-shirts…. Go Hi-Tides!

Moving Miami Beach Forward — Together!

Dear Neighbors,

We have much going on in our little slice of paradise. I want to highlight some important accomplishments achieved for Miami Beach residents so far in my second year as Commissioner. My office has made it a priority to promote a better quality of life for our residents, improve Ocean Drive, prudently address flooding/sea level rise and make sound financial decisions for our City.

Fifth Street Pedestrian Bridge: This G. O. Bond project was approved by the Commission earlier this year, and I was a strong advocate. Completion is expected for next year, and I am confident it will bring safety and convenience to our residents.

Inspector General Office: Over 60 applications were received and are currently being reviewed by the selection committee. The current plan is to present the finalist at the September Commission Meeting, and for the office to be implemented later this year.

G. O. Bond: The first round of bonds have been issued and our resident oversight committee has reviewed and prioritized the 24 projects that are currently underway. Some of these projects are termed Quick Wins and include the Mid Beach Beachwalk, park improvements (Polo, Collins, Fairway, Crespi, Stillwater and North Shore parks), and enhanced security for public places.

Flooding/Sea Level Rise: Mayor Gelber appointed me the Chair of the Sustainability and Resiliency Committee, and we are working diligently to improve our approach with enhanced community engagement and third-party reviews. While we continue to execute Neighborhood Improvement Projects, we are simultaneously implementing recommendations from the Urban Land Institute’s review which I proudly sponsored.

Unsanctioned Vendors on City Property: I advocated forcefully to clean up malfeasance on public property and am proud to have sponsored this ordinance. Some of these vendors have bad intentions and include “promoters” of troublesome unsanctioned events/parties which adversely impact our community.

Sidewalk Cafes: Taking advantage of or deceiving customers not only makes the City look bad but affects our quality of life. Proper advertising of prices on menus is now a requirement. And I have been particularly focused on other approaches to address these bad apples. Enough is enough!

Miami Beach Senior High: The safety of our children is paramount and in conjunction with the City and PTSA, accident-prone drop off zones are being improved. There is now better visibility, additional signage and reinvigorated MBPD enforcement.

Better Bus Project: The City is a sponsor of the county-wide Transit Alliance which is working to improve our bus routes. Proper public transportation helps riders and reduces cars on the road.

Miami Beach Website: Engagement Toolbox! A big part of having trust in government is transparency and making information easy to access and understand. I am happy to say that working with Miami Beach United and the City, we have added a one-stop shop on the City website to access information most important to residents.

I have tremendous gratitude to my colleagues on the Commission, the City administration, my Commission Aide, Elias Gonzalez, and most importantly my life partner, Laura Dominguez.

Warm wishes to all for a safe and happy summer. Looking forward to the second half of 2019, and please contact us if we may be of service.

Happy Fourth of July,

Mark Samuelian
Miami Beach City Commissioner


Moving Miami Beach Forward

Dear Neighbors,

I am honored to share highlights of progress in our community during my first year in office including: new Miami Beach Inspector General, reorientation of our flooding program, planned G.O. Bond improvements, Ocean Drive enhancements; all accomplished while listening to and helping residents.

Thank you to Miami Beach residents, our businesses, City Administration and Officers, Mayor Gelber and my fellow Commissioners — important, sustainable progress is always a team effort.

Inspector General: I am thrilled the community voted 81% for an independent office of an Inspector General.  This was a campaign promise, and I am excited to see it come to fruition.

Flooding/Stormwater Program Critical Review: Sponsored legislation that invited an external review of the City’s flooding mitigation efforts at no cost to the taxpayers.  The City is reorienting and improving its flooding/stormwater program based on Urban Land Institute, Harvard, Columbia and other external perspectives.

G. O. Bond Referendums: As a resident, I completely supported the G. O. Bond which passed with an overwhelming 70%.  I spent time attending over 15 neighborhood and community meetings across the City to answer resident questions.

Ocean Drive Enforcement Enhancements: Sponsored legislation ensuring bad operators on Ocean Drive no longer mislead customers with false or vague information on their menus. This has already led to enforcement actions resulting in a restaurant closure and a second operator losing its sidewalk cafe license. Also promoted, along with my colleagues, an off-duty police program in order to alleviate safety concerns.

Express Bus: Co-sponsored a project to create a dedicated lane on the Julia Tuttle for an express bus service.  This bus will help approximately 40,000 workers that commute to Miami Beach as well as any other driver on the Tuttle.

Vacant Storefront Window Covers: Aesthetics is important to our community, and I have sponsored legislation that has focused on ensuring vacant storefronts have visually appealing window covers.

City Grader pilot: Sponsored a program to have the city pilot City Grader, a website committed to real-time performance review of city government by residents

Kite Surfing Ordinance: Sponsored legislation that ensured kitesurfing rules are codified for the safety of all swimmers and kitesurfers on the beach as well as clamping down on illegal teaching that inconveniences all beachgoers.

Animal Welfare Committee: Sponsored legislation that created the Animal Welfare Committee, an advisory committee comprised of residents with expertise in the field of animal care.

Small Biz Task Force: Sponsored legislation that created the small business task force to identify ways the city can help incentivize the creation of new, small businesses and nurture the ones already here.  The task force was able to have the National Small Business Association host its southeast regional meeting in Miami Beach, an event which brought together small business owners and experts from throughout the region.

Miami Beach City Committees: Mayor Gelber has appointed me as Vice – Chair Finance Committee and one of two commissioners on the new Ocean Drive Committee.  I anticipate being appointed as a Committee Chair in the coming year.

I have tremendous gratitude for my Commission Aide, Elias Gonzalez, and most importantly my life partner, Laura Dominguez.   As Hanukkah began at nightfall December 2nd, I would like to wish all who celebrated the Festival of Lights many happy moments and lots of smiles.  And for those that observe Christmastime, peace and joy to you and yours this season.

Warm wishes to all for a safe and Happy New Year.  Looking forward to 2019 with so many exciting projects and knowing the best is yet to come!

Yours in service,

Mark Samuelian
Miami Beach City Commissioner


Importance of a Miami Beach Inspector General

Dear Friends,

October is upon us and that usually means the final weeks before voters make their voices heard.  This election season brings referendum questions that could mean exciting changes to Miami Beach.  In this newsletter, I am happy to share my Op-Ed in The Miami Herald about the Miami Beach Inspector General, a “Meet Mark” video, and some upcoming dates where you can learn more about the G. O. Bond and its projects.

Yours in service,
Mark Samuelian
Miami Beach City Commissioner

Miami Beach Referendum Questions – Vote YES!

Dear Friends,

Voting has officially begun!  If you receive your ballot by mail, it may have already arrived.   This year’s ballot has wonderful opportunities for Miami Beach.  Voting YES on all six Miami Beach Referendum questions will help continue to move Miami Beach forward.  Plus, The Miami Herald unanimously recommended YES on all initiatives and below is a brief explanation of each referendum:

Inspector General (Miami Beach Referendum 1)
An independent Inspector General will significantly raise the performance bar at Miami Beach City Hall. Miami Beach voters will help bring this vision and my promise to reality by voting Yes #384.

Convention Center Hotel (Miami Beach Referendums 2 and 3)
The City listened to the voters and your feedback helped shape this new project. The hotel is smaller at 800 rooms and 100 feet shorter than the previous proposal.  A developer will be leasing City land and funding the project, so no tax dollars!  This lease guarantees over $16 million of new city revenue in the first ten years.  The third referendum is the hotel question and the second referendum allows you to decide if you would like a portion of the money generated to go to education, flooding, and traffic measures.  Vote YES #386 and #388

G. O. Bonds (Miami Beach Referendums 4, 5 and 6)
The City established a special committee of residents from across Miami Beach who met diligently for weeks evaluating and prioritizing projects that were most needed.  Please check out for information on each of the Parks, Neighborhoods and Public Safety projects.  We need these critical investments for our community and candidly there really is no great “Plan B.”  Vote YES #390, #392 and #394.

My office is always available to answer questions.  Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

Yours in service,
Mark Samuelian
Miami Beach City Commissioner