Miami does not work for Miamians. Almost two-thirds of county residents live cost-burdened due to housing; the average Miamian spends 65 hours a year in traffic, with little to no movement on viable mass transit options; and we reside in the fourth most corrupt municipality in the country, after New York, LA, and Chicago. Lastly, we live under the ever-present threat of natural catastrophe, both sudden (increasingly powerful hurricanes) and creeping (sea level rise).
Despite these factors, our county government has continued to only make cursory improvements to transit, government corruption, climate resilience, and affordable housing. Let me revise my opening sentence: It’s Miami’s politicians who do not work for Miamians.
For decades, our local elected officials have categorically failed to be even minimally responsive to their constituents’ needs. We witnessed them waste billions of our taxpayer dollars on stadiums, toll lanes, and frivolous vanity projects—none of which had the remotest positive effect on average Miamians. We watched them promise, posture, ignore, and fail to deliver. We are tired. We are dissatisfied. We’re ready for something better.
2020 provides an excellent opportunity to catalyze real change in Miami-Dade County. After years of inertia on the county commission, 8 of its 13 seats, plus the county mayor, are up for reelection, 6 of which are held by term-limited commissioners. The remaining 5 seats will be up in 2022, all of which are term limited. Such a high turnover grants us the ability to fundamentally reshape our expectations of county government. This important transitory moment is why a coalition of local organizations came together to form Miami Forward.
Miami Forward is a non-profit, non-partisan organization seeking to build a more equitable and resilient Miami-Dade County. We are a coalition of individuals and organizations that have worked for decades to better the lives of our neighbors. Our coalition partners include Transit Alliance Miami, League of Women Voters Miami, Sierra Club, SMASH, South Florida AFL-CIO, and more. Though we come from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise, all are committed to ensuring that Miami-Dade County’s elected officials solve their constituents’ most salient problems.
Over the past six months, Miami Forward created a comprehensive policy platform encompassing climate, housing, mobility, and good government, with the help of our partners and community leaders. You can find our current policies and more at miamiforward.com.
Our platform is wholly non-partisan. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all waste far too long in traffic, spend too much money on rent, worry about Miami’s long-term climate future, and watch in disgust as politicians squander our resources. We are ready to create a better, more accountable, more effective Miami. We are ready to move Miami Forward.
Join us! Sign up to receive updates on Miami Forward here or go to MiamiForward.com to learn more.
by Andrew Otazo