The more she became involved in the Farm Bureau, said Pena, the more she encountered problems with the county’s Department of Environmental Resources Management, which morphed into another department during the county’s recent downsizing. Removing red tape has became a mainstay of her election quest.
“It’s just too bulky,” Pena said of the former DERM. “Instead of service and efficiency, it’s a huge bureaucracy.”
Former County Commissioner Katy Sorenson questioned Braman’s decision to support Pena, saying “she doesn’t bring much to the table.”
Sorenson said she’s backing Moss, and points to the growth of Zoo Miami and the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center while Moss has represented the district.
Moss, 60, is a Killian High graduate with a degree in economics from Grinnell College in Iowa. He’s married to Margaret Hawkins Moss, a senior aviation procurement officer with Miami-Dade County. They have three children.
After college Moss held jobs as a county lifeguard and worked with Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Overtown and Liberty City. He then worked with the Richmond Heights/Perrine Optimist Club, working his way up to the executive director post he holds today. He earns $52,000 a year there, and the club receives a little more than $200,000 a year in county backing.
It’s an issue he’s been criticized for repeatedly for over the years.
Moss says the club provides services to some of the most difficult places in South Dade.
“We provide services where others don’t,” said Moss. “If you don’t have a problem with the Boys & Girls Club, or the YMCA, you shouldn’t have a problem with us.”
Moss was first elected to represent South Dade in 1993, shortly after Hurricane Andrew devastated the area, and his plan for economic revival, which was adopted by commissioners, became known as the Moss Plan.
He has swept aside competition since. Moss lists helping save Homestead Air Force Base after Hurricane Andrew barreled through in 1992, and the construction of a public hospital, a cultural center and a winery among his credits..
About a decade ago when he chaired the committee that oversaw Miami International Airport, Moss successfully fought off an attempt by the Miami Business Forum to create an independent authority to oversee the airport. Braman was a member – and has a long memory.
“He was an obstacle,” said Braman. “Moss has been in office for 19 years and he’s part of the problem. He’s been an obstacle to charter change for years.”