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Michael Hepburn: Stop Giving Away Your Vote

Michael A. Hepburn

[MIAMI] – Holding someone accountable and voicing how things could be better does not mean you do not like them. I believe Mayor Francis Suarez is a good person.

He helped me pass an Ordinance that I crafted back in 2017, when I advocated for and with help from his staff. Reduced the qualification fees by creating an option for people to qualify to run for Mayor/Commissioner through using petitions. He then sponsored the amendment and the Commissioners passed it from the dais.

Our Mayor has limited powers since our city uses a Weak-Mayor/City Manager led structure, so Mayor Suarez has recently gravitated towards being the Chief Marketing Officer for Miami which is cool to see. However, we must not forget that he still is the one who picks that City Manager and his office and mayoral influence can be used to push Miami forward.

For instance, our Mayor can use his influence to help improve the multiple complaints regarding the non-responsiveness from some City of Miami Government departments as they continue to ignore residents phone calls and emails.

Our Mayor can stop allowing our city to discriminate against residents who reside in HUD public housing by not offering them recycling services — I guess Miami believes saving the earth does not apply to them.

Our Mayor could use his influence to figure out what’s going on with Code Compliance that allows more than 700 unsafe structures cases to be open in my district alone – which just happens to be where the majority of our Black residents reside.

Our Mayor can insist that we do better by not having ONLY one officer assigned to patrolling & investigating the entire city illegal dumping problem.

Our Mayor could pound the pavement and use his spotlight to light a fire under our Commissioners to implement a comprehensive master affordable housing plan now, so we can Rehab & Develop 12,000 Units of Affordable Housing by 2024.

Our Mayor could take a stand for campaign finance reform and stop taking all of this money from lobbyist, developers, and corporations. By banning our city Mayors and Commissioners from accepting money from political action committees; ban having side hustle leadership PAC’s; and by capping the maximum contribution allowed to $400. Because if a $10/hr. minimum wage is supposedly good enough for We The People here in Florida – then a week worth of our working people pay is more than enough for our politician’s campaigns.

Our Mayor could use his influence to do all of the above and more if he wanted. So, the residents that are already here start to believe their voices are just as important and that our city see and care about what’s happening to them – not just when it’s election time.

To all of my City of Miami Residents – please stop giving away your Vote. Your elected leaders should work to earn it including our Mayor.


People FIRST,
Michael Hepburn

Executive Director | Civic Activist | Silver Knight

Michael A. Hepburn, M.S.Ed., currently serves as the Executive Director for the Reimagine Miami Foundation and as an Coordinator for Miami Dade College Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy. He is a revered Civic Activist and awardee of the prestigious Miami Silver Knight Award.


South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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