Miami Beach Commission Group VI: Adrian Gonzalez, to give small-business owners a voice | Editorial


Voting is under way in Miami-Dade County. Here is the Miami Herald’s recommendation in Miami Beach’s Group VI City Commission race:

The candidates in the race to fill this open seat are well-versed in the challenges facing Miami Beach and its residents. In fact, it’s too bad only one can ascend to the dais to occupy the seat left vacant by Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman. She did not seek re-election.

The candidates are: Adrian Gonzalez, a restaurant owner and businessman; Mohammed Rafiqul Islam, a property owner and landlord; David Richardson, a certified public accountant and accomplished former lawmaker in the Florida House of Representatives; and Blake Young, who owns a valve sales company in the city.

Richardson and Gonzalez were the most thoughtful, stressing that, for the sake of public safety, the city’s new police chief should pivot to community policing, ensuring officers are on the streets, engaging with residents and visitors. They each wisely put sea-level rise and other climate-related issues among their top priorities.

We have recommended Richardson throughout his political career. He was elected to the state Legislature in 2012, representing the 113th District, which takes in parts of downtown Miami, Miami Beach, and North Bay Village. In Tallahassee, he took on prison reform, outing the filthy conditions in which inmates live. His unannounced visits rightly embarrassed corrections officials into taking remedial action and close down one particularly egregious facility. We recommended Richardson, too, in his unsuccessful quest for Congress in 2018, saying he would be a strong advocate for the people in his district and beyond.

However, the Editorial Board is giving the edge to Gonzalez. He is poised to be a strong voice for the community of small business owners in Miami Beach who are feeling the economic squeeze. It’s a voice that’s missing on the dais right now.

“We are getting priced out … Washington Avenue, then Lincoln Road,” he told the Board. “We are being pushed out. There are empty storefronts.”

“Give developers tax incentives to give the mom-and-pops a chance.”

Gonzalez owns the popular David’s Cafe, which itself has had to relocate in the past. He’s president of the Lincoln Road Mercantile Association, a membner of the city’s Transportation and Parking Board and is on the board of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority. His roots in both the city and in civic engagement run deep.

The Herald recommends ADRIAN GONZALEZ for the Miami Beach Commission, Group VI.

For more information about what’s on your ballot, go to votemiami.org, a partnership between the Miami Herald and Radical Partners.