STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 113
“High-tech start-ups have the potential to transform our economy, but local entrepreneurs face a hostile environment. South Florida offers little or no access to the seed funding and venture capital that is necessary to create a vibrant high-tech community.” Would propose tax and investment incentives to encourage local and foreign investors to invest in area: This will “pay huge dividends by diversifying our economy and creating jobs for a highly skilled and educated workforce.”
Wants increased funding to public schools and creative new sources of funding. Believes emphasis on the FCAT has “weakened academics, especially for our best students,” and wants to implement a test that “measures actual academic achievement [and] encourages students to learn and perform rather than just pushing teachers to teach to a minimum competence exam.” Would work to encourage state universities to promote themselves to foreign students, “together with an increased tuition scale for non-U.S. students, which will help keep tuition low for Floridians.”
Believes the state’s windstorm insurance market is “dysfunctional” and requires reform: “Every year, Citizens increases its rates, institutes onerous inspection procedures, and is now seeking to unload customers even though many have no realistic alternative.” Also, Citizens’ planned rate hike on new customers “will make it harder to sell our homes, as new buyers find they simply can’t afford insurance in Miami Beach.” Unless and until reformed, it “promises to be a major hurdle to a full recovery of South Florida’s economy.”
“We need to expand the focus of our economy beyond just tourism and attract industries that create year-round, high-paying jobs,” such as in the life sciences, creative design, film and TV production, international finance, and advanced aviation. “Growing these industries will have a direct impact in improving the quality of life” here.
Opposes dramatic cuts to public schools, colleges, and universities. Opposes school vouchers. “I believe we must attract and retain the best teachers by ensuring they are paid a competitive salary.”
Supports equal rights based on gender, race, and sexual orientation: “Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Would protect a woman’s right to chose: “A woman’s health is up to her and her doctor, not politicians.”
Supports the DREAM Act: “I understand our nation was started and built by immigrants. I want to make sure that all our children have the same opportunity to live an American Dream.”
“Community re-development is critical to a healthy local economy.” District includes many small businesses: “We need to look for ways to encourage job growth by spurring entrepreneurism.”
“There are parts of the Affordable Care Act that are very important: not letting pre-existing conditions stop people from getting insurance, allowing children up to 26 to stay on their parent’s policy, closing the doughnut hole for drugs for seniors. Mandating that people get insurance is also important. People without insurance don’t get preventative care, so they get sick and go to the emergency room. This is the most expensive form of health care and is costing us millions of dollars. A family of four pays over $1,000 a year in additional health care premiums to cover those without insurance who show up to the emergency room. We need to fix this. Gov. Scott is blind to the problem and the burdens it is placing on counties across the state.”
“Now they want to change the rules and thereby drastically increase our rates. We need to fight this. I will start looking at these numbers and fight to prevent these increases.”
“FDOT has plans to fix many of our streets, but their plans don’t fit into the needs of our communities. We will lose parking and it will create grid-lock. We need to have an educated voice in Tallahassee.”
Economy & Jobs
Will look for ways to “promote economic development and bring new industries to our state.”
Would reform property insurance and freeze rates, making insurers’ rate hike requests “truly transparent.”
Destination Resort Casinos. Yes or No?
YES, BUT LET’S CUT A DEAL Adam Kravitz
We already have gambling in South Florida, which is regressive on the primarily lower-income local residents who patronize gambling venues. Destination casinos would bring in another clientele.
We’re going to have them; the question is, how can we cut the best deal for Miami Beach and the area?
Strike a deal with Genting to fund the convention center project and link it to protecting the Beach.
1, 2, or 3 casinos in tri-county region can work.
The polling is 50/50 for and against. Eventually the Genting/gambling interests will win. I would say to them: rather than spend millions on attorneys, work out a deal with us.
MAYBE, BUT NOT IN MIAMI BEACH David Richardson
I will vote for casino legislation only if it will benefit the community as a whole.
A world-class city has to offer amenities that will draw people. I don’t like what happened in Atlantic City, but we’ve learned from that experience.
Regarding competition from a gambling casino hotel, my forte is mediating conflict; in particular, contract resolution. That is how I would approach the problem.
From campaign website: “We already have gambling in Florida, but any expansion in the Miami area should adequately address questions regarding: density, traffic, and equity/parity amongst venues. I will only support gambling venues that benefit the community as a whole. I do not support casinos in the city of Miami Beach; they are not a good fit for this community.”
NO Mark Weithorn
The Genting project does not fit here. It is like fitting a square peg in a round hole. It will be a giant vacuum on all our businesses.
Miami is thriving. Downtown Miami and Brickell are mature communities. They have 95% occupancy rates in the condos and there are thriving restaurants and retailers.
Miami Beach is an economic engine for the state. A destination casino doesn’t fit here.
Miami Beach needs to flex a little muscle. We are the economic generator bringing in people from all over the world to the Miami-Dade economy. This is a county-wide issue and the county has to look at the broader picture. We are part of that picture.
From campaign website: “Having the Genting project at the Miami Herald site would kill the tourism industry in Miami Beach. Presently, the city of Miami Beach receives $48 million a year in tourism dollars. These dollars lower our taxes. Genting would siphon off these dollars and our taxes would go up. Plus smaller hotels, restaurants, and clubs would go out of business. It would set us back 20 years. I am dead set against this and will fight this. Look at other cities. The Atlantic City boardwalk area looks great, but walk a couple of blocks west and it’s terrible. They, too, were sold on the benefits to the overall community. Don’t believe it.”
COUNTY PROPERTY APPRAISER
On January 6, 2009, veteran realtor and appraiser Pedro J. Garcia officially assumed office as Miami-Dade County’s first elected Property Appraiser in five decades.
Prior to his December 16, 2008 election victory, Mr. Garcia worked in the real estate industry for 34 years. From 1974 he was a Realtor, operating his own real estate firm. He was also a Real Estate Appraiser for more than 30-years and a State-Certified General Real Estate Appraiser.
From 2000-2002 he was the President of the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Master Appraisers. He is a Director of the Florida Association of Property Appraisers Inc. (FAPA).
He also served for ten years as a Special Magistrate with Miami-Dade County’s Value Adjustment Board, the agency which adjudicates property owners’ appeals against their assessments.
In the campaign leading to his election, Mr. Garcia pledged to ensure complete fairness and accuracy in the County’s property assessments which, in part, determine a homeowner’s level of property taxes.
His efforts since being elected have resulted in him being named 2009 Civic Leader of the Year by the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches and 2010 Public Servant of the Year by the Minority Chamber of Commerce. He has also been honored by the Coral Gables Good Government Committee and the by the Hispanic Association of Public Administrators.
Investigate property owners who intentionally apply for and receive fraudulent tax exemptions.
Combat fraudulent property tax exemptions using common sense solutions by seeking the assistance of electric utility companies in order to cross-reference utility bills with property owners who claim a homestead exemption. Will seek to work closely with the Realtors Association of Miami-Dade County in order to cross-reference rental listings published on the multiple listing service (MLS) with property owners who claim a homestead exemption.
Will call for policies that facilitate the sharing of information between the Property Appraiser’s Office and other Miami-Dade County Departments, as well all municipalities located within the County.
Equally important to proper management is customer service, which needs to become an integral part of the Property Appraiser’s Office, as it is now merely a minor component within it. As a pubic office, the Property Appraiser’s Office most vital assets are the residents of Miami-Dade County, which is why all employees will appreciate the power of “Yes”. As such, I will err on the side of property owners, and NOT government, when interpreting an ambiguity in the law.
Runs the fourth largest prosecutor’s office in America.
Advocated and worked for victims’ rights. With the help of crime victims, has successfully targeted and convicted career criminals.
Accomplished a 46 percent decrease in crime.
• Murders: down 36 percent
• Burglaries: down 51 percent
• Robberies: down 65 percent
• Rapes: down 62 percent
• Aggravated assaults: down 48 percent
• Car thefts: down 73 percent
Rod Vereen became the first African-American assistant federal public defender in the Pensacola, Fl. area. Has represented and defended everyday people in a court of law. He envisions using his legal experience to take on the challenges facing the U.S. Congress, and bring change to District 17.
A solo practitioner, He concentrates his legal practice in the areas of Federal and State criminal law. He is a former Assistant State Attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit and later became the first African-American Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Florida, in Pensacola, Florida. He was also an adjunct professor at Florida State University’s
School of Criminology and Florida A & M University’s School of Criminal Justice. In 1989, he was voted Professor of the Year at Florida State University’s Panama City campus.
With over 20 years of legal experience, Vareen has been involved in a wide range of significant matters including:
U.S. v. Paul Hill: First Case in the United States to try the FACE ACT (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances/ Abortion Doctor and Body Guard Murder Case)
U.S. v. Salvadore Magluta and Willie Falcon a/k/a The Boys: Drug Kingpins
U.S. v. Chris Hall: Washington, D.C, drug kingpin and largest drug case in Washington, D.C., resulting in acquittal as to 8 counts and two hung juries as to remaining counts.
State v. Alexander Bedford: Miami juvenile charged with the murder of his mother.
State v. Lionel Tate: Juvenile charged with the murder of his playmate/Armed Robbery.
U.S. v. Stanley Phanor: The Liberty City Seven and Liberty City Six. A federal terrorism cases.
He serves on the Federal Criminal Justice Act Committee, appointed by United States District Judge Donald Graham, as well as the Committee on Admissions, Grievances and Peer Review, appointed by United States District Chief Judge Frederico Moreno. He is a past president of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association
DISTRICT 5 COUNTY COMMISSIONER
Bruno A. Barreiro was first elected to this position in June 2, 1998. Since then, he has been re-elected for subsequent terms to represent constituents in and , as well as the communities of Little Havana, Downtown, and South Beach.
Currently, Barreiro serves as the Vice Chair of the Recreation, Culture and Tourism Committee, which oversees all matters concerning parks, culture, and tourism-related activities in Miami-Dade County. He also sits on the Airport and Seaport; and Health, Public Safety and Intergovernmental Committees, as well as the State Intergovernmental Affairs Subcommittee.
Throughout his career, he has spearhead services, like Miami-Dade’s Golden Passport transit for the elderly, the expansion of the Miami River to accommodate more shipping, and beach re-nourishment projects.
Garcia plans to revitalize Little Havana, especially businesses on 8th Street, to creat new sources of work for the community.
He will support a project to lower taxes and will oppose any new increase in taxes.
Reduce the exorbitant salaries in upper management. Tackle wastefulness in Public Transportation and address the failure of programs such as HUD. Accountability, accessibility and total transparency, making Government less restrictive and more business friendly.
Public Works and Public Parks need to address the needs of the community. Open public facilities such as parks and other recreational locations to be more easily accessible to children and families.
Assure that, when funding is cut, children and the elderly continue to receive necessary care (i.e., meal sites, day care centers, etc).
Increase Openness to the Public
Require a public vote for any project or contract substantially impacting the budget; e.g. Marlins Stadium
Require County elections to be held concurrently with Federal and State elections
Repeal County restrictions limiting citizens access to the petition process
Reform County Commission
Impose term limits on County Commission Seats (2 four year terms)
Bar Commissioners from outside employment while elected
Bar Commissioners from lobbying activities for ten years after leaving office
Implement reasonable salary for full-time Commissioners
Reduce County Spending
Reduce inflated salaries for top tier county administrators
Reduce the number of Commissioners from thirteen to nine; including two at-large
Eliminate Commissioner’s discretionary funds
Eliminate frivolous travel by County officials
Quality of Life issues
Secure future funding for Jackson Memorial Hospital
Improve connectivity of County transportation
Improve district aesthetics through garbage and graffiti removal
Review and eliminate any unjust County impact fees
Stop the proliferation of outdoor advertisements
Reform County Commission:
Limit the period of service of Commissioners to two consecutive terms, to avoid making a profession of their positions for life.
Reduce the Government, cutting unnecessary costs and stabilize the budget in order to lower taxes. No tax increases.
Quality of Life:
Improve care for the neediest residents, paying special attention to kitchens and benefits of our elderly.
Remove the light cameras on public roads, which are an attack on our privacy and presumption of guilt. We also denounce those legislators who support them.
Study and eliminate excessive regulations that exist in the County to grant the necessary permits to open new businesses, to promote free enterprise and job creation
Avoid creating bonds and loans that jeopardize our economic future, balancing the budget and reducing debt
Establish a Regulatory Commission of the Game, statewide, which will be responsible for ensuring the legality, both in terms of security as in the reward system, preventing abuse and who are now scrupulously observed.
Casinos and gaming halls will be a source of income and jobs for our community.
The ultimate decision to grant the necessary licenses will be on the Commissioners. This ensures that the benefit and development of our district and our county.