Moving Miami Beach Forward

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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