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Equality Florida Action PAC backs Dan Gelber, Mark Samuelian reelection bids in Miami Beach

Both candidates are netting support more than nine months before the November election.

A prominent LGBT rights organization is endorsing a pair of Miami Beach officials seeking reelection this fall.

Equality Florida Action PAC is backing Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and Miami Beach City Commissioner Mark Samuelian in their respective reelection bids.

Gelber is seeking a third and final term leading the city after winning reelection unopposed in 2019. Samuelian first joined the Commission after winning election in 2017.

“I am truly proud to earn the early endorsement of Equality Florida Action PAC,” Samuelian added.

“Together, we have worked to make Miami Beach a more equal and welcoming city, and I remain committed to ensuring we are always at the forefront of tearing down any form of discrimination. I look forward to the continued work with such great organizations like Equality Florida Action PAC, who every day fight for a better and more fair community.”

Both posts are nonpartisan. So far, no candidates have filed to oppose Gelber or Samuelian.

“As municipal leaders both Mayor Gelber and Commissioner Samuelian have defended attacks on conversion therapy bans in federal courts, challenged Tallahassee to end erroneous and unpopular attacks on abortion rights, and have pushed for greater local control when it comes to gun safety reforms. They have kept their promises to advance policies we all believe in and that’s why Equality Florida Action PAC has pledged our support.”

March 30, 2021 | Florida Politics | Equality Florida Action PAC backs Dan Gelber, Mark Samuelian reelection bids in Miami Beach

Miami Beach Continues to Wrestle with its South Beach Entertainment District

In a special meeting to discuss proposals to fix what Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber calls the “anything goes” atmosphere in the City’s South Beach Entertainment District, Commissioner Mark Samuelian summed up the discussion with the word “frustrating.” After praising the City’s Police Department for its work and efforts to increase enforcement, all of the Commissioners expressed a desire to step it up.

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said he agrees with the enforcement push, but he said the area needs more. Referencing the entire package of what Gelber calls “carrots and sticks” – measures that include development incentives, repealing the noise exemption, tying alcohol and entertainment licenses to Conditional Use Permits, and increased penalties for bad operators, Samuelian said, “As I think about the problem, my approach to the solution… is all of the above. I think we need to use all of the tools. I don’t think it’s just an enforcement issue. I don’t it’s just a noise issue. I think we need every tool, and the risk is not doing enough.”

He emphasized the “challenges” with police visibility, noting resident observations as well as his own. “We need to raise the game in terms of visibility” but he underscored a comment the Police Chief made about the impact on other neighborhoods when resources are diverted to the MXE and the movement of crime out of the Entertainment District into nearby areas as a result of increased enforcement in the MXE. Clements said MBPD has seen increased problems on Collins Avenue recently.

Samuelian said he was happy to hear the Administration was giving consideration to not renewing sidewalk café permits at the end of the year for bad operators. Reiterating that the permits are “a privilege, not a right,” he said, “It seems like we just have a hard time reining in this bad behavior despite the legislation that we’ve put forward” in the past few years. “I really hope we can do a better job reining in these bad operators and not giving them the opportunity to make money on the public right of way.”

December 5, 2020 | RE:Miami Beach | Miami Beach Continues to Wrestle with its South Beach Entertainment District

Renewal of City Manager’s Contract Agreed to in Principle

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said he wanted to see “more data, more fact-based analysis” of projects. “With the size of money flying around, I really think we need to elevate our game.”

Referencing the “unique challenges” faced by the City in terms of sea level rise and flooding, he said he wanted to “raise the bar on resiliency” with better “planning and executive engagement with community stakeholders and with the boards.”

Samuelian urged Morales to present a “stronger point of view” on items so that decisions are “less Commission driven.”

“We rely on your professional expertise and your team to call it like you see it,” Samuelian told Morales. He wants Commissioners to consider less of the “small details” and more big picture items but added, “Overall, I’m very pleased.”

February 20, 2019 | RE: Miami Beach | Renewal of City Manager’s Contract Agreed to in Principle

With overwhelming support from voters, Miami Beach creates a watchdog for City Hall

Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who has pushed for the inspector general’s office, said he thinks the initiative will end up saving the city money over the long run.

“One of the main functions of the inspector general is to help the city government work more efficiently, so if you think about it, even if the inspector general would identify just 1 percent efficiencies, that’s $6 million a year,” he said. “If you ask me if I’d spend $1 million to save $6 million? Any day of the week.”

February 13, 2019 | Miami Herald | With overwhelming support from voters, Miami Beach creates a watchdog for City Hall

Budget Nears Final Approval

Mark Samuelian who is going through his first budget process on the Commission and as a member of the Finance Committee said, “We keep running into the CPI thing” referencing the lack of automatic increases to keep up with the Consumer Price Index. “Costs go up every year. We’ve waited years without acknowledging cost increases… that’s partly on us. We need to stop that.”

September 22, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Budget Nears Final Approval

Miami Beach voters reject $40,000 raise for city officials by a slim margin

Critics of the salary increase, including Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, have questioned whether elected officials should recommend their own raises. Gelber said earlier in the month that he would support a review of commissioner salaries by a third-party group as long as any changes didn’t impact current officeholders. Commissioners Micky Steinberg and Mark Samuelian also opposed putting raises on the August ballot.

August 28, 2018 | Miami Herald | Miami Beach voters reject $40,000 raise for city officials by a slim margin

Update: Pay Raise for Mayor and Commissioners on August Ballot

In June, four Commissioners voted in favor of adding the item to the August 28th ballot: Ricky Arriola, John Alemán, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, and item sponsor Michael Góngora. Commissioners Mark Samuelian and Micky Steinberg voted no. Mayor Dan Gelber left the meeting early to attend his daughter’s high school graduation but was later quoted by the Miami Herald as saying he opposed the increase.

Samuelian said, “I absolutely understand the spirit and totally buy into the comments around talent pool… I do think the timing that Commissioner Alemán mentions with the upcoming budget, that fact that we’re in little bit tougher times I think is an important point.”

Samuelian reiterated his opposition. “I understand the spirit. I would echo the comments about timing and I know it’s not reality but somehow I think people are going to conflate the GO Bond and raising taxes.” Putting these on the ballot in the same election cycle with the GO Bond in November “gives me pause,” he said. “I do not believe that’s a legitimate connection but somehow I could see that if folks aren’t following the dialogue closely, those things coming at the same time also doesn’t strike me well, so I’m not going to support this today.”

August 18, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Update: Pay Raise for Mayor and Commissioners on August Ballot