I always follow with interest the politics of our local municipalities. Recently I read of the latest developments in the contest for mayor in the city of Miami Beach and was saddened to learn of the tone that race has taken; it reminded me of some of the sad tactics that were often used in the 80’s and 90’s.
Since last Tuesday, my good friend Philip Levine, candidate for Miami Beach mayor, has been victimized by false political attacks. To suggest that Mr. Levine is racist or anti-Hispanic is simply false; and to make these allegations only in the Spanish media in a richly diverse and multi-ethnic community like Miami Beach is cowardly and exactly the type of tactic that was so prevalent several decades ago. It’s wrong to take the voters down this path and even worse that his opponents are simply lying about his record.
Voters are hungry for electoral contests that are based on issues and solutions, but at a minimum, on the truth. Allegations of anti-ethnic behavior are serious and have no place in today’s elections unless there is a clear basis for the attack. Unfortunately, we know when election season is upon us, scoring political points is more important than sticking to issues and facts.
I’ve known Levine for over 20 years; he has always been a loyal friend and supporter even when it wasn’t popular to support a Hispanic candidate countywide. He has always treated everyone, regardless of background or race, with the same respect and demeanor.
To suggest that he is anti-Hispanic is to ignore his passion for diversity, his effort to learn Spanish well before entering public service, and the fact that because of his business success, he has created hundreds of jobs in our community, including jobs for many Hispanics. In fact, his business success story and his commitment to his community show that Levine has a deep respect and admiration for Miami Beach’s diverse community and believes that is what makes his community so special and unique.
Miami Beach will be well-served by having Levine as its next mayor. His leadership, vision and integrity is what we need more of in local government.
I rarely become involved in local elections, but in this case I couldn’t stand idly by as my good friend, Philip Levine, was unfairly attacked. I’m proud to stand with him in his campaign for mayor of Miami Beach.
Alex Penelas, Miami