MIAMI BEACH COMMISSION
After losing his last commission election by only 77 votes, Mark Samuelian, 53, is making his second bid.
Samuelian is an eager-to-please candidate with a grasp of the key issues facing Miami Beach. He has put in the hours as a city activist; he is facing newcomer Rafael Velasquez, 44, both vying for the seat vacated by Michael Grieco.
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Samuelian, a residential rental business owner, has served as president of Miami Beach United and is well-known in City Hall activist circles. He says he’s running because “Miami Beach faces serious and urgent challenges” and his business and engineering expertise will make him a valuable commissioner.
“We need to rein in overdevelopment and find creative ways to keep people moving. Expanding the trolley across all of Miami Beach is a good first step,” he said. He also would focus on flooding, safety and city responsiveness.
Velasquez, a self-employed real estate broker who was born in Germany, is new to politics, but not to activism. He is passionate about the city and wants to help.
He says the commission should pay more attention to individual Beach neighborhoods and offer better policing. He’s also spurred by the current fraught political climate across the country.
“I believe that we as a global city can’t remain silent in this current era of rising hate, fear, racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry. We need to stand up for all of our communities at every level of government,” he told the Board.
Samuelian is president of Miami Beach United, an organization that advocates preservation and smart growth in the face of rampant development. The group has been a primary force in crafting a ballot initiative focused on North Beach development.
For the Group 2 commission seat, the Herald recommends MARK SAMUELIAN.