After Mayor Daniella Levine Cava was elected in November 2020, she has had to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the related issues that her constituents face.
It has been evident that Mayor Cava stands as an advocate for the South Florida families and communities, just as she has been doing for the last 40 years. In the state of the county address, she emphasized on the 4 pillars of our community being equity, economy, environment, and engagement. Her goal is to focus on advancing the county in these 4 categories during her term.
Under the pillar of equity, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has made it her mission to focus on the safety of all Miami-Dade residents. She appointed the county’s first Chief Public Safety Officer, J.D. Patterson, and Chief Financial Officer, Edward Marquez. Both individuals have outstanding records and have proven that they place the community first.
In addition, it looks like there is new funding for the county through a deal with the company FTX. In exchange for the naming rights of the American Airlines Arena (Miami Heat stadium), FTX agreed to give 90 million dollars over the span of 19 years to the county. These funds will allow the Mayor to formulate a comprehensive plan to fight gun violence and uplift families in poverty. Furthermore, there is a “no wrong door policy” in the county that ensures everyone has access to the appropriate resources they need.
“I am a social worker as well as a lawyer, and I will work on developing the programs that will change the future. Especially for the younger generations,” said the Mayor.
The Covid-19 pandemic economically impacted many, especially in Florida, where tourism supports many businesses. To help get the economy back on track, the ‘Renew 305 Program’ was created. This is a program that will allow for the support of companies that are helping the community. It is a scale-up program in partnership with the Global Enterprising Network that includes over 190 countries that will support the local businesses.
Further, to increase access to agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and finance jobs, the district has partnered with Career Source to create programs to recruit and prepare the individuals entering these fields of work. There is also the CEO Ambassador Program, where business leaders can connect and bring their business to Miami.
Moving on to the environment pillar, the county has rolled out its Sea Level Rise Strategy that has ten practical actions that the city can take now to make a difference.
“There are areas that are more affected by sea-level rise, but we have to remember that it is not just the sea that is being affected, but the waterways as well. If we do not take care of this, it can pollute our bay and bring further problems.
Community groups have gone into individual neighborhoods to see what specifically must be done in those places according to the issues that a particular community is facing. Some of the common things they discovered are the buildings need to be built higher, drainage systems need to be improved, certain areas need to be filled, and septic system areas need protection from flooding. Doing all of this will cost the county some major dollars, but they hope to slowly roll it out and get the community involved wherever possible.
In terms of improving the environment through the transportation system Mayor Cava has instilled some changes in public transit vehicles. More busses are being electrically powered, and others operate with CMG (compressed natural gas) which is much less polluting than traditional busses. They are also working to possibly transition to electrical public transport and create more walkable and bike-friendly areas.
As she said, “We want there to be many options when it comes to transportation for Miami’s residents. There is good public transport, but also, we want to give people the ability to walk or use a bicycle. Ultimately this will improve the effects on everyone’s health and help reduce our carbon footprint.”
Lastly, the Mayor is striving to get more active engagement from all community members. With these goals in mind, they launched the Thrive 305 campaign. This was a county-wide survey given to residents so that they can give feedback to the Mayor. As she said, “About 27,000 people submitted responses, which is the biggest turnout ever.” The survey was accessible to everyone and was created to be very diverse no matter the race, age, income, ethnicity, location in the district, etc.
“Communication is of utter importance to me because I believe there needs to be a partnership between the government and constituents. I want the community to know that we are listening and applying their responses in our plans for the future,” shared Mayor Cava.
With the survey responses gathered, they scheduled Civic Engagement Week from April 10 until April 16 to further discuss those results with the community. These were like town hall events, some took place virtually, where survey results were shared with the community, and feedback was gathered to see how to best implement those results.