Local Activist and Artist Roger Abramson announced his candidacy for the Miami Beach Commission this past week.
He will seek the seat for Group 3 currently held by Mayoral Candidate Micheal Gongora, and sought by current Mayor Matti Bower.
The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise as less than two weeks ago Abramson publicly bemoaned the costly barriers to entry to Miami Beach politics that keep many potential candidates from running.
“Many good people would run for office in this city, but they don’t,” said Abramson at a recent meeting of the Miami Beach Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club. At the time, he counted himself among those would-be candidates.
Abramson told the SunPost he made his decision to run partly because of those comments he made that day. Especially what he said about the potential of another four years with Bower.
“Someone has to go this year, we know who it is, she’s been around 14 years,” Abramson said at the time. “It’s time to get a little new energy, a new enthusiasm, a new excitement in there and not only to energize the city-but the rest of the commission.”
“She’s been around a long time,” Abramson told the SunPost while pointing out that she’s a nice lady and he didn’t mean to disparage her.
Abramson will also face off with Joy Malakoff a retiree who has served on boards and is political newcomer. He doesn’t think Malakoff has the name recognition enough to beat Bower.
“I’ve asked 20 people I haven’t found one person who knows her.” he said as part of his comments at the MBTMBC, “there is nothing wrong with her and she’s probably a terrific person, but she is just not known.”
Joshua Dunkelman was also a candidate until he failed to submit qualifying documents on time according to the city clerk’s office.
The last time Abramson ran for commission was to replace the outgoing Luis Garcia, he came in third to Gongora and current Commissioner Deede Weithorn. He missed the runoff by 5 percent of the vote. In that run he raised just over $7,000.00 as of his last report.
The community activist currently serves as a voting member of the Miami Beach Convention Center Advisory Board. He, along with the advisory board, supported and spearheaded the 1% bed tax increase passed by the public last year. Abramson believes if the 52 acre deal doesn’t pass with the public, that the bed tax could still go towards an upgrade for the center itself. He doesn’t share the urgent view some on the advisory board have that this MBCC vote is their last shot to do something with the aging center.
Some of his other platform issues include doing something to fix the flooding problem in the city, as well as an earnest effort to address beach re-nourishment, and being a leader in Historic Preservation.
Recently, as reported in the SunPost, Abramson has pushed for the creation of a Latin Music Hall of Fame on the beach. His preliminary plan called for it to be located at the Jackie Gleason Theater.
Abramson is also known around town for providing the city his famous Seashell Menorah and the so called ”World’s Largest Spinning Dreidel” as a holiday display along Lincoln Road.
As to why he’s running Abramson puts it:
“I enjoy living in Miami Beach, my children and grandchildren live here, so I have a big stake in the future of Miami Beach.”