Three more Miami Beach City Commission candidates introduced themselves to residents at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club this week.
At the forum, held at Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen, 1654 Meridian Ave., locals spoke with candidates running for the Group 5 seat, which is being vacated by Commissioner Ed Tobin, who is term-limited.
▪ Joseph Jorczak: volunteer at Miami Beach Community Church, where he feeds the homeless daily.
▪ Ricky Arriola: chief executive officer of Inktel Holdings, a global outsourcer of business and direct marketing services and immediate past chair of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts trust board.
▪ Mark Weithorn: husband of term-limited Commissioner Deede Weithorn, a real-estate agent who does web development for real estate agents and is a member of Miami Beach’s transportation and parking committee.
Traffic and preservation were again popular topics with residents.
Weithorn said his experience on the transportation committee has shown him the Beach needs to build mass transit facilities and push the county to do the same.
“We need to make that transition,” Weithorn said. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Arriola said that as a biker, runner and triathlete, he wants to make Miami Beach more welcoming to walkers and bicyclists.
“For pedestrians and bikers, it’s very dangerous,” Arriola said. “I don’t do a lot of biking on the Beach, throw my bike in the car and drive to Key Biscayne.”
Jorczak said the city’s trolley system will help and he complained of the city’s constant road and drainage construction projects.
“You shouldn’t have to wear a hard hat and steel-toed boots to get to Publix,” Jorczak said.
The candidates were questioned on whether the city should create local historic districts in North Beach.
“I think there’s definite value in having a historic neighborhood,” Jorczak said.
Arriola said he was open to it, but he favored a more comprehensive approach that includes creating more greenspace and pedestrian- and bike-friendly infrastructure.
Weithorn, a North Beach resident, said yes.
“If that means that we’re going to stop tearing down houses and putting up these ‘McMansions,’ then my answer is yes,” he said.
In this election season’s only campaign squabble so far, Arriola and Weithorn traded a few jabs that stem from earlier in campaign season, when an attack ad was sent out criticizing Arriola for running for office while he has a contract with the city.
Arriola’s firm does have contract to handle customer service calls for certain city departments. He has said he does not have a conflict of interest now, he would take care of the conflict if he is elected and he would discuss the specifics of how he would take care of it directly with voters.
Weithorn denied being involved with the ad. He did contribute $5,000 to the electioneering communications committee, Common Sense, that sponsored the ad. He did agree with the ad’s premise and said a city vendor should not run for office.
On July 21, the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club hosted a forum introducing residents to five candidates for commission Group 4. The club will host one more forum for the last group of commission candidates, Group 6. The free event starts at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen.
One of the candidates in the Group 6 race to succeed Deede Weithorn, Jeff Cynamon, announced Tuesday he was pulling out of the race after he injured his leg in an accident. He said he couldn’t stay in the campaign since he can’t go door to door to meet voters.