This week’s deadline

I’ve been so proud to see this community come together in support of my campaign for re-election. The dedication you’ve all shown to moving Miami Beach forward is an inspiration.

Together, I know that we can make a real difference for Miami Beach. That’s why I’m asking for your help before our April fundraising deadline. 

If we’re going to win re-election in November and continue to improve our city, your contribution is critical. That’s why my team set a goal to raise $5,000 online for this week. Can you pitch in $25 to help us finish the month strong?

The Residents Voice

As your City Commissioner, I’ve worked hard for our residents on public safety, COVID-19, climate resiliency, and more.

I’m running for re-election because I know that we’re at a critical juncture in Miami Beach, and there’s more work to do. 

With your help, we can build a strong campaign to engage and mobilize Miami Beach voters. We can continue to move our community forward, together. Click here to make your contribution before the deadline. 

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Mark

Public Safety in the Art Deco Cultural District

Over the past few weeks, we’ve all been reminded of the toll that spring break and other high impact periods take on our city. In light of recent events, Mayor Gelber recently laid out a 12 point plan to increase public safety in our Art Deco Cultural District and South Beach.

My top priority as your representative is to ensure the safety and well-being of every Miami Beach resident. I believe the plan does just that, and I fully support these efforts to move our city forward.

With these steps, we can keep our community safe, enhance Ocean Drive for residents, and improve our quality of life.

Art Deco

As your City Commissioner, I’ve been working hard to drive progress on all of these fronts, particularly when it comes to the pedestrianization of Ocean Drive. As Chair of the Land Use & Sustainability Committee, I fought to increase security, expand pedestrian access, improve sidewalk cafes and preserve the appeal of our Cultural District.

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I look forward to collaborating with the Mayor and Commission to continue our efforts to promote a safe, thriving tourism environment and protect our residents. I hope you’ll join us as we work to make a difference for Miami Beach.

Thank you for your support.

— Mark

Let’s finish March strong!

This week is a big week for our campaign. Our campaign is finishing March with broad-based community support, including elected officials and diverse organizations:

Endorsements

And it’s no wonder why: Mark is an honest public servant through and through. As we emerge from COVID-19 and work hard to keep our city safe, we need Mark on the City Commission.

At midnight on Wednesday, we’ll hit our first fundraising deadline of Mark’s campaign for re-election to the Miami Beach City Commission.

It’s so important that we finish our first month strong. That’s why our team has set an ambitious goal to raise an additional $5,000 online before midnight on Wednesday. Click here to pitch in $25 and help us reach our goal. 

Mark has distinguished himself as a skilled and compassionate leader in our community. He listens to his constituents and works hard to deliver real victories for our residents. He makes sure that our government works hard to maintain our high quality of life, keep us safe, and prepare our city for the future.

Help us re-elect a true champion for Miami Beach residents. Click here to make a contribution before our deadline.

Your contribution will help us build our campaign operation, increase outreach within our community, and create enough momentum to win a victory for all Miami Beach residents this November.

Thank you for your support.

— Team Samuelian

Chag pesach sameach!

With Passover beginning tomorrow, I want to wish a very happy holiday to all who celebrate.

Like most of the holidays we’ve celebrated over the past year, Passover will likely look very different for many of you. But, for those of you who have received a COVID vaccine, the upcoming seders could be the first time in a very long time that you’ve been able to gather with family members in celebration of a holiday safely.

It’s fitting, I think, that this first major holiday that some of us may spend together centers on the story of the Israelites’ struggle for freedom—the obstacles they faced and the sacrifices they made together.

After the past year of social distancing and immense loss, we slowly start to see the world reopen. Together, we have struggled through one of the most significant global challenges in modern memory. We’ve sacrificed time spent with loved ones, deferred our plans, and changed our habits, all to keep our fellow community members safe.

So I hope that, for those who observe, this Passover will also serve as a solemn reminder of our struggles over the past year and a celebration of how far we’ve come because we joined together, protected each other, and kept moving forward.

Happy Passover

I hope that you and your families, whether in person or at a distance, can meaningfully and safely observe Passover together.

Wishing you all the best,

Mark

Public Safety is Job One for Local Government

I’ve always been a dedicated public servant. And ever since I was elected to the Miami Beach City Commission, I’ve worked hard to make sure that everything I do is in service of you — the residents of Miami Beach.

Recently, we’ve seen a disturbing rise in crime and associated chaos, especially in South Beach and the former Entertainment District. Enough is enough. We need to keep residents, businesses, and visitors safe.

Revamping South Beach with an eye towards art, culture, and wellness will make a substantial difference in our public safety and quality of life. Ocean Drive can be more than bars and nightclubs–and by making it more than a party spot, we’ll make our city safer and more livable.

I’ve worked hard to hold bad actors accountable, support our public safety officers with more security cameras and better technology, and clean up malfeasance on public property. In my next term, I’ll continue to prioritize reducing crime and improving our quality of life.

Actions for Keeping Miami Beach Safe

Many of us worry about public safety and the crime rate in our city. My goal as your City Commissioner has been to enact policies that will help Miami Beach residents feel safe in their homes and on our streets. Going forward, I will continue to advocate for swift, bold actions and all options are absolutely on the table.

I’m running for re-election to continue working to reduce crime and make South Beach–and our entire city–safer and friendlier especially for residents.

In the coming months, I hope I’ll have your support for this campaign and for our efforts to create a safer Miami Beach.

With gratitude,

Mark

Help us start this campaign strong

As you may know, I’ve officially filed to run for re-election to the Miami Beach City Commission.

From enhancing public safety to protecting our environment, I’ve made representing the residents of Miami Beach my top priority, and I’ve worked hard to ensure that our local government puts you first.

I’m dedicating my life to public service. Now, I’m running for re-election to continue my service to this community and build on all of the progress we’ve made together over the past three years. But I can’t do it without your help. Click here to make a contribution and help me build a campaign that truly represents Miami Beach.

Donate to Campaign

I’m so excited for this campaign, because I’m not only campaigning for re-election, but also for a vision for the future of Miami Beach that all of us can share.

Between now and November, we have the chance to make our vision for the future of Miami Beach a reality. And it all starts with you, Laura.

This month is our first month of fundraising, and we need to make a strong showing if we’re going to take this race through to the finish line in November. I’m counting on you to help us start strong. Can you make a contribution today to help me kick off this re-election fight?

Thank you for your support. Let’s win this race, together!

All the best,
Mark

Join our Virtual Town Hall on Public Safety – Monday 5 pm

Virtual Town Hall on Public Safety

Monday, February 8th from 5 pm – 6 pm

Residents deserve to be heard on the critical topic of public safety. Recent events have shown us that while we have vastly increased safety efforts in our City, we can, should, and will do better. Enough is enough!

Join MBPD Chief Rick Clements and me this Monday, February 8, from 5 pm – 6 pm for a Virtual Town Hall on enhancing public safety in South Beach.

I am again focused on safety measures this month at the Miami Beach City Commission Meeting (agenda here) on Wednesday, February 10th at 8:30 am. Here are some of the items I have sponsored/co-sponsored that I would like to highlight:

Ordinance: outlining criteria to secure a sidewalk cafe permit. (R5 J – Sponsors Commissioner Samuelian and Vice-Major Meiner)

Discussion: collaboration with Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife, and MBPD on Noise/ Water Safety. (R9 E – Sponsor Commissioner Samuelian)

Referral: Neighborhoods – SOBESafe Resolution on Public Safety Technology. (C4 J – Sponsor Commissioner Samuelian, Co-Sponsor Commissioner Gongora)

Referral: Neighborhoods – Noise from Unorthodox Vehicles. (C4 K – Sponsor Commissioner Samuelian)

Resolution: urging the Florida State Legislature to adopt standalone stay away orders. (C7 U – Sponsors Commissioner Samuelian and Commissioner Góngora)

Also next week, the City will host a Virtual Town Hall on February 11th at 4 pm on the City Manager search. I forcefully advocated for community input and want to hear your valuable feedback.

Yours in service,

Mark Samuelian

The Beginning of the End

After a challenging and tragic 2020, I truly believe we have entered the beginning of the end of the devastating pandemic. I am proud of our Miami Beach residents who have been caring and resilient during the most trying of times. We can’t let our guards down now and should continue to be vigilant in practicing social distancing and wearing masks while vaccination advances.

The coming year will bring exciting changes to Miami Beach, including the reimagining of our entertainment district in South Beach. Arts and cultural activities will be expanded to more areas than ever before.  Public safety will remain a top priority, and we will continue working with the Miami Beach Police Department on increasing presence and enforcement to ensure the security of our residents and visitors alike. Moreover, the new CRA will bring exciting prospects for North Beach. Finally, I will continue to advocate for a sustainable resiliency program where our entire community is better positioned to address flooding/ sea-level-rise.

Wishing each and every one of our residents good health and prosperity in 2021!

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings 2

Yours in service,

Mark Samuelian

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.

CAREFUL PHASED REOPENING

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!

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.

FREE RESOURCES

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)
Email: MBCovid@miamibeachfl.gov

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 COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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

Sincerely,

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