Business Monday

CEOs have a list of issues they hope new mayors will tackle


This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: Two major cities in Miami-Dade have new mayors: Miami Beach and Miami. What issues would you like to see Mayors Dan Gelber and Francis Suarez address this year?


Count me as deeply excited about the leadership in both Miami and Miami Beach. Beyond any one issue, I am hopeful that both Mayors Gelber and Suarez use their positions to begin to expand our individual community’s concerns about issues relevant to Greater Miami and all Miamians.

Vance Aloupis, CEO, The Children’s Movement of Florida


I would like Mayors Dan Gelber and Francis Suarez to address the following issues: reduce the flooding risk and improving the storm water infrastructure, as well as enhance the public safety systems and parks.

Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center


I would like to see both mayors take on the housing crisis. According to the United Way’s Alice Report, 69 percent of the residents of the City of Miami and 52 percent of the residents of the City of Miami Beach are either living in poverty or cannot consistently cover the cost of living. This is not acceptable and we as a community must do better. Housing is a critical component, as most of us are paying more than 50 percent of our income on housing. As a Commissioner, Mayor Suarez was a strong advocate of affordable housing and I am hopeful that he will use his platform as mayor to have an even greater impact. Miami Beach still has a ways to go in tackling the need for affordable housing for its residents. I am hopeful that Mayor Gelber will bring a new vision to address the dire need for affordable housing in Miami Beach.

Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing


Resiliency and sustainability are two key issues all local leaders will need to place a larger emphasis on in the coming years. We need to work together to continue to help Miami grow as a gateway city and an attractive long-term destination for both international and domestic visitors.

Michael A. Comras, president, The Comras Company of Florida


I would like to see the new mayors address social mobility, equality, and job creation. South Florida is an incredible, thriving area, and we need to do more as a society to target our opportunities around these areas, so we become even better in 2018.

Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes


The most important issue for the cities of Miami and Miami Beach is transportation infrastructure. The current gridlock is unbearable and is harmful to the future economy of Miami. Of course, this requires strategic planning, transit-oriented development, willpower, resolve and resources.

Willie Logan, founder, CEO and president, Opa-locka Community Development Corp.


Mayor Gelber will need to address sea level rise, the commercialization of residential neighborhoods (AirBnB), and the ongoing problems of safety for tourists on Ocean Drive. Mayor Suarez will have to address the financial woes of the city, particularly in regards to the recent decision reversing the pay and pension cuts to the police and fire departments. Along with Mayor Gelber, sea level rise had become a major issue for the City of Miami. Mayor Suarez is inheriting about $400 million from a bond initiative to specifically address this.

Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.


For both cities: traffic, thoughtful development, infrastructure maintenance/development (i.e., roads, sewer systems, bridges, etc.), crime control/reduction, well-managed local government organizations.

Julie Neitzel, partner, WE Family Offices


We would like to see them encouraging and growing tourism opportunities for our city, while providing the resources and tools to our community to continue enhancing our beautiful city.

Gene Prescott, president and CEO, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables


At Univision Deportes, our passion and dedication to sports extends to the communities we serve. Therefore, we would love to see a bigger push to build and create more spaces for everyone, especially youth, to be active and play sports. We believe that sports are a factor for social change, and creating these spaces definitely helps create a better society.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president, Univision Deportes


We need to continue to make our city attractive to high-paying companies and the well-educated workforce that supports them. A city is only as good as its residents and so we need to make sure we’re attracting and retaining a resident base that will continue to push our city to reach new heights. On a more micro-level, I’d like to see a solution for the ongoing traffic issues caused by the Brickell Bridge. Of course, the Miami River is an integral part of the local economy, but it’s critical we find a solution that works for all parties.

Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division


I am a resident of Miami Beach and work in the city of Miami. In both cities, there are several issues: both cities need to work on more shelters for the homeless. I would like to see Miami Beach continue working on rising tide issues. Another major problem is traffic. With all the new condominiums going up, the traffic on I-395, I-95 and Biscayne Boulevard is simply out of control. Lastly, I am personally hoping to see a more bike-friendly environment.

Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.


Transportation, accessibility and resiliency should be key priorities for the new administrations. We need to give people a reason to get out of their cars and onto the street — and the best way to do this is by creating an environment that is clean, safe and walkable. There are a number of projects already underway, such as the Underline, Baywalk-Riverwalk, and the Flagler Street revitalization effort that should help by activating the street via wider sidewalks and adding more green space, pedestrian and bike paths, and ground level retail. We also need to invest in real solutions that will improve our public transit infrastructure, because adding more highways and roadways is simply not sustainable. Additionally, we need to keep investing in our resiliency to protect against the effects of stronger storms and sea level rise. Miami-Dade County voters thankfully approved a general obligation bond this November that will allocate at least $200 million to this effort. Now we need to translate those dollars into meaningful action.

Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena


Income inequality and affordable housing.

Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank


Infrastructure and transportation. We also need to deal with creating incentives for the development of housing that can be tailored to the economics of Miami’s workforce. Also, we should keep creating opportunities to enhance quality of life for all sectors of our community.

Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects



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