The hat has been tossed in.
Ending the speculation, Michael Gongora officially announced his candidacy for Miami Beach Mayor this past Tuesday at a packed event at the Shelborne.
“This is going to be a campaign not about me, but about all of us,” Gongora told the attendees of a joint meeting of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club and the Miami Beach Taxpayers Association. “This is going to be a campaign about moving Miami Beach forward.”
The announcement follows that of Commissioner Jerry Libbin who filed papers late last year for the open mayoral seat. Mayor Matti Bower has reached her term limit.
Gongora said he would bring back civility to city hall. Under his watch as mayor, Gongora promised a return to professionalism where meetings would start on time, time-certain agenda items would be heard at their assigned time, residents would speak at the assigned time instead of hours later, and an end to fighting up on the dais.
When put on the spot by former Mayoral Candidate Steve Berke to name Bower as the source of these professionalism problems, Gongora would not name her. Instead he echoed his theme of running a positive campaign. Berke told the SunPost he has yet to decide if he will run this election cycle.
The Commissioner also spoke on traffic and the need to for a mass transit solution that will assure visitors will keep their cars on the other side of the causeway. Gongora did not believe the BayLink project to be “feasible.”
“…but something is,” he told the crowd.
Gongora also touted his record fighting for minority groups from all communities while at the same time praising the city for evolving away from an “old boys club.”
“This is not about special rights, but equal rights,” he said.
As he fielded questions from the crowd, Gongora said he would look for solutions to a variety of issues like flooding, pensions, the homeless, and corruption.
Gongora said he was “shocked” when he heard of the federal indictments of the city’s code enforcement department.
A possible solution he mentioned in passing might include revolving the areas an inspectors patrol so they don’t have a chance to make contacts.
As for the new city manager, Gongora added no official endorsements, instead he went down the list of the finalists and praised their accomplishments.
For now, the campaign message is one of positivity and moving forward.
“If you don’t think we can do better, vote for someone else,” Gongora said.