Person of the Year 2013

THE MIAMI BEACH VOTER

The person, or collective embodiment of a people, who, for better or worse, most impacted or influenced our local community in 2013 is…

The Miami Beach Voter.

Who are you? The Miami Beach voter?

How old are you? Where do you live? Do you vote in every election? Married, young, gay, straight, elderly, wealthy?

What compels you? What motivates you? What brings you out to vote?

Millions of dollars were spent to entice you this year, and entice you they did, when over 11,000 of you voted in this years election. Considered one of the dirtiest and messiest election cycles in a long time on Miami Beach, what with the dirty PAC mailings, campaign workers bullying candidates and each other and what seemed like and unending shoveling of garbage. But you looked past all of that. You allowed the bad behavior, in fact you expected it. You did not give in. You stayed focused on your end goal. And ultimately, when all 11,000+ of you voted, the majority voted for change.

2013 was an interesting year on Miami Beach. Overflow of scandal from the previous years, still touched local residents. Expectations by residents of city leadership was at an all time low, with most seemingly resigned to scandal.

Police shootings, cover-ups, drug running, bribery, sex scandals and FBI arrests of people in trusted positions – Miami Beach weathered them all. But, with great stress or excitement, sometimes comes malaise or disinterest and Miami Beach residents were not immune to this in early 2013.

Sure, local activists still raised issues, but over all, this malaise seemed to crouch over Miami Beach. The city chugged on, hiring a new City Manager and when Jimmy Morales was finally chosen, discussion moved on to the two commissioners running for Mayor – Jerry Libben and Micheal Gongora. Would they be part of the problem? Or, would they be the solution?

As the year unfolded and the Convention Center issue was raised, finally, a rumbling was heard through the city. And as it became apparent that this was going to be the single most important issue that the City of Miami Beach was facing, the rumbling grew in intensity. But when it was revealed that the invention Center process was tainted with scandal. The rumbling grew to a roar. And when it was clear that once again, transparency was not going to happen and the city was accused of misleading the public on the redevelopment plan, the rumbling turned into a mandate.

And then Jerry Libben dropped out of the Mayors race, opening a door that Miami Beach residents thought was firmly sealed shut. Through the door came hope and for the first time in years, it seemed that change could happen, and was about to happen when businessman Philip Levine declared for the Mayors race. This change brought a new attitude, when who one-by-one, new faces stepped through. Michael Grieco, Micky Steinberg, Roger Abramson, Steve Berke, Joy Malakoff and Dave Crystal declared a slate of change.

Many have laid money as the motivator for this change. Bu we see it differently. And for the first time in many, many years, you, the Miami Beach Voter, long been called lackluster, uninterested and unmotivated, flexed your power and voted for change.

And because of this, The SunPost has voted you, the Miami Beach Voter as The person of the Year for 2013.

Bravo, Miami Beach Voter, Bravo.

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