I was alarmed by the comments of Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman in the July 28 story, “Miami Beach is doubling down on its fight against Airbnb-like rentals with a new tool.”
In addressing short-term rental issues, we are focusing on alleviating a symptom rather than addressing the cause, namely, the unceasing joblessness in South Beach.
South Beach is the crown jewel of Miami Beach. Yet, it is in major trouble. Gorgeous old buildings are largely vacant in the midst of steadily rising property taxes. The real estate market is freezing cold for selling and renting.
Employment opportunities hardly exist outside of tourism. And tourism is seasonal. Thousands of Miami Beach government jobs go to commuters. To my knowledge, no incentives are offered to those employees wanting to live in the city. Miami Beach ought to focus on job creation and let the condo associations regulate the leasing activity of their owner-members.
Let’s provide tax benefits to lure green companies to South Beach.
Let’s reduce the resort taxes to give breathing room to Ocean Drive, and Collins and Washington Avenue establishments so that they can compete better. They need the tax break urgently; vacancy shouldn't be this high even during the summer. The tax break will increase the number of tourists throughout the year.
Let’s stop renting the beach strip, south of Lincoln Road, for events to any organization, profit or nonprofit. The beach is a gift of nature, it is for everyone. Moreover, part of the city budget for the police force is consumed by such events.
Let’s involve condo associations on addressing the intricacies of short-term renting. We need outside the box thinking to make Miami Beach a better place for everyone.
president, condo board, 1342 Drexel Ave LLC,