Miami Visionaries Awards government finalists

Government visionary: An individual who is an elected or employed member of local government who is leading positive change through his/her work.


▪ Carlos Martinez, Miami-Dade Public Defender

▪ Dennis Moss, Miami-Dade county commissioner

▪ Alyce Robertson, executive director, Miami Downtown Development Authority

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Here’s what their nominators wrote about these finalists.

Public Defender Carlos Martinez has been leading positive change through his work in the courts and community. Martinez led the statewide effort that ended the shackling of children in juvenile court and created several educational programs to prevent crime. When his office’s budget was cut almost $3 million, he fought for his clients to have competent counsel and won in Florida’s Supreme Court (with the pro bono help of our law firm). He installed video equipment so his attorneys could communicate with jailed clients and have more time to work on cases, rather than spending hundreds of unproductive hours on the road. He instituted police officer Skype depositions that helped reduce fuel and vehicle maintenance costs to police departments. He obtained a grant and private law firm support to hire four attorneys. Private lawyers, firms and bar associations answered his call for pro bono service to assist public-defender clients.


As the longest-serving member of the Miami Dade County Commission, Dennis Moss is a proven visionary. He had a vision when others were still in the dark after Hurricane Andrew, developing The Moss Plan in 1993, which continues as a living doctrine to guide the region to prosperity. Commissioner Moss also developed regional tourism engines to bring visitors into South Dade while working with the Tourist Development Council. He led the campaign for the development of the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, which attracts regional and national acts and serves 250,000 guests a year. Commissioner Moss has worked diligently to help see the growth of Zoo Miami into a world-class facility. For more than 15 years, Commissioner Moss has led Neat Streets Miami. In 2008, he developed Miami-Dade’s Aesthetics Master Plan, and in 2011, he launched Million Trees Miami with a goal of planting 1,000,000 trees by 2020, thus transforming our region into a greener, healthier landscape. Commissioner Moss currently chairs the Transit Solutions committee with the MPO, working to bring effective transportation solutions to our region.


When Alyce Robertson first assumed her role as the Miami DDA’s executive director in 2008, both the city and agency were mired in poor perception. Under her leadership, downtown has ushered in an economic and cultural renaissance, taking it from ‘ghost town in the sky’ to 24-7 metropolis in a matter of years. Today, businesses are launching, city streets are populated around-the-clock, parks and cultural venues occupy formerly-vacant land, hotels and restaurants are booming, and investment is pouring in at record levels. At the same time, the DDA is spearheading initiatives to enhance quality of life by making city streets cleaner, safer and easier to navigate. From its Biscayne Green proposal and Flagler redevelopment project to its advocacy for public toilets and a mental-health diversion program for the homeless, the DDA is proving that government can not only make a difference, it can reset the course of an entire city.