Voting is under way in Miami-Dade County. Here is the Miami Herald’s recommendation in Miami Beach’s Group IV City Commission race:
Kristen Rosen Gonzalez wants to return to the dais. As required by state law, she resigned her commission seat to run for Congress in 2018. She was a passionate public servant who positioned herself as a representative of Beach residents who are not necessarily affluent or Miami Beach hip.
However, time and again she showed questionable judgment as an elected official, if not misusing her powers, then showing a lack of good common sense. She has five ethics complaints to prove it.
She acknowledged as much in her candidate interview: “I was green. I’m an emotional person. I’m more experienced now. I have legislative and administrative experience,” she said.
“I’ve learned my lessons by being investigated five times. Enough. This is Kristen 2.0”
Perhaps. Indeed, she has been cleared of each ethics complaint filed against her, including allegedly lobbying senior city staff on behalf of three businesses contracted to do flooding-related work for the city. (According to Beach rules, former elected officials cannot lobby the city until two years after leaving office.)
But she also recently admitted that she initially lied to a Miami Herald reporter about a meeting with the head of a marine contracting company, Pac Comm.
Like Rosen Gonzalez said herself: Enough.
There are three other candidates in this race: Rafael Velasquez is a real estate broker whom, in 2017, Rosen Gonzalez accused of exposing his penis after a dinner and trying to force her to touch it. It’s a problematic accusation that still lacks clarity or conclusion. The issue should not be dragged onto the commission; Michael Barrineau is a luxury real-estate broker. He is a member of the Miami Beach Planning Board; Steven Meiner is an attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Barrineau brought a reassuring, level-headed demeanor to the candidate interview, which would serve his constituents well on the commission. Like most other candidates, he says community policing is a must for the sake of public safety and sustaining tourism. He wants the city to aggressively address sea-level rise, already engulfing parts of the city. He rightly calls it “the issue of our day.” But first, he said, officials should “Step back. What did we do right” What did we do wrong?” He lamented that pumps have no filters. “We cannot pollute the Bay,” he said. “We did not harmonize [solutions] with private property.” All true.
Barrineau is eager to entice huge conventions to the renovated facility — the moneymakers. “Now, we’re in the trade-show business” — for which day trippers come and then leave.
Barrineau has a thoughtful and workable vision for this progressive — and challenged — city.
The Miami Herald recommends MICHAEL BARRINEAU for Miami Beach Commission Group IV.
For more information about what’s on your ballot, go to votemiami.org, a partnership between the Miami Herald and Radical Partners.