The race for mayor dramatically changed with the downfall of Commissioner Michael Grieco, who resigned from his commission seat on the dais and surrendered to authorities on Tuesday over his connection to an illegal campaign PAC.
He has been foolish enough to play fast and loose with the law, and paid the price, saving residents an overheated and divisive campaign. Now the coveted job of running one of the county’s most dynamic cities is up for grabs, sort of.
Left in the race to replace Philip Levine are Dan Gelber, June Savage, Daniel Kahn, and Kenneth Bereski III. In their candidate interviews with the Editorial Board, all expressed a deep knowledge of the city — and its problems and challenges. From traffic gridlock, to overdevelopment — and did we mention sea level rise?
Savage, a Realtor, is an energetic activist, working a grassroots campaign; Kahn, a local businessman with some solid ideas on what’s wrong with the city and how to fix it, but little support, and Bereski, an outside-the-box candidate in tune with the city’s challenges largely is running on his own.
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But Dan Gelber, 56, is the candidate with the most experience in government and the gravitas. We think he should be the next mayor of Miami Beach. The city needs a firm and steady hand, and Gelber — a one-time federal prosecutor who spent a decade in the Florida Legislature before running unsuccessfully for state attorney general in 2010 — can best provide it. A partner in Gelber Schachter & Greenberg, a boutique law firm based in Brickell, Gelber’s return to politics is most welcome. He will bring an integrity and low-key demeanor that will put the city first. His father, Seymour Gelber, was a respected judge and, later, Miami Beach mayor in the 1990s.
Gelber told the Board he will aggressively address the city’s traffic and overdevelopment issues and continue efforts to make the city more resilient to sea-level rise.
He also said that, in light of recent ethical lapses in the city, he would create a office of inspector general with independent oversight. It’s a solid idea to help restore integrity to of city operations.
Gelber says that as mayor he would focus on improving public safety. “That means focusing on a return to community policing in every neighborhood in the city and increasing our police presence and improving our approach,” he said.
Gelber’s lengthy experience makes him the only candidate in the race who can accomplish these goals.
For Miami Beach mayor, the Miami Herald recommends DAN GELBER.