Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava gave a comprehensive speech on the status of the many County policy issues on Friday January 29.

Introduced by County Commission Chair Jose Pepe Diaz, the Mayor paraphrased parts of her address in Spanish and some Creole.

“I will be serving you with honesty, transparency, relentless determination, and a spirit of collaboration,” Mayor Levine Cava began.

The Mayor asked for a moment of silence in recognition of the victims of the global COVID pandemic that “upended so much in our lives.”

“But our story is one of resilience. My husband and I contracted the virus and recovered, thankfully, but we haven’t been able to hug our grandchildren for nearly a year, a struggle shared by many others,” she added.

Levine Cava thanked “the nearly 30,000 public servants on the payroll who served with grace while adjusting to a new normal.”

The speech named department directors overseeing aspects of COVID relief programs while highlighting County response efforts. One example mentioned was supplying 50,000 weekly meals to seniors, budgeting over $108 million to cities in the County for their meal delivery programs.

The County’s first Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Page was appointed two months ago. “His job is to craft a public health response and recovery plan grounded could register for the shots without the need to reapply as the County gets new vaccines. “Zip Codes should not determine how soon we are vaccinated,” she added.

The speech took as its theme for the State of the County the “Four Es” - equity, economy, environment and greater engagement. “Equity is taking on injustices and dismantling barriers to opportunity,” the Mayor said. She stressed the support for small business enterprise to promote access to work and economic recovery.

The Mayor also named a new director to work across all departments driving innovation in county functions as well as measuring the progress of these new initiatives. She encouraged county employees and the public to share their ideas on how to do the job better.

Mayor Levine Cava said, “The $70 million from the CARES Act in small business relief helped many to bridge the gap during this downturn. We’ve doubled down on small business. Initiatives like business incubators, connecting to capital investors, and back office support can help. We can

provide a more resilient local economy by diversification. Growing tech and green industries allow us to partner with innovators on our greatest challenges like climate change and transportation issues.”

The Mayor spent some time on the County’s transit issues. “We will soon move forward on the 20 mile south corridor to connect residents from Florida City to the Broward line and to advance all legs of the SMART plan and seek all the funding streams,” she said.

“Our roadmap to full economic recovery must include strengthening and safely reopening our tourism sector,” Levine Cava said. “Miami International Airport has been a leader during COVID – it was the first airport in Florida, the second in the United States, and third in North America to be accredited under a National Airport Health Accreditation program.”

On environmental issues, the Mayor listed problems with rising seas, increased pollution, the retreat of seagrasses, algae blooms, and fish kills. “In December, I issued Miami-Dade County’s first Biscayne Bay report card,” said Mayor Levine Cava.

“One solution is to discontinue the use of septic tanks especially in low-lying areas subject to flooding,” she said. She highlighted the $480 million available for waste water treatment centers to combat Bay pollution.

To promote a clean energy future, Mayor Levine Cava is working for a zero carbon footprint, supplying 30% of the County’s energy needs from solar by 2030. She thinks the County could easily become carbon neutral by 2050 by ramping up solar, making buildings more energy efficient, expanding public access to electric vehicle charging stations, investing in public transit, and reducing waste.

“We will also need to streamline permitting,” the Mayor said. “And work on climate resilient infrastructure, to meet this moment for our environment.”

Mayor Levine Cava summarized the County work efforts by promising better citizen involvement, “To deliver a connected, compassionate and caring government through a new civic engagement program in partnership with the Miami Foundation,” she said. “The ‘Drive 305’ initiative is an effort to engage people across the community through a survey and a series of workshops to inform about my Administration’s action plans.

I look forward to hosting many more virtual town halls too.”

The Mayor closed by praising historic leaders of Miami as well as speaking to the strength of each individual County Commissioner and anticipating innovative plans under the County Commission’s new committee structure.The Director of Emergency Management Frank Rollason is working to build a countywide vaccination program,” she said. “We administer over 20,000 vaccines a week, and are ready to scale up to several times that number once we have the supply.”

Mayor Levine Cava announced a new centralized registration process for equitable vaccine distribution, both online and by telephone, where people over 65 could register for the shots without the need to reapply as the County gets new vaccines. “Zip Codes should not determine how soon we are vaccinated,” she added.

The speech took as its theme for the State of the County the “Four Es” - equity, economy, environment and greater engagement. “Equity is taking on injustices and dismantling barriers to opportunity,” the Mayor said. She stressed the support for small business enterprise to promote access to work and economic recovery.

The Mayor also named a new director to work across all departments driving innovation in county functions as well as measuring the progress of these new initiatives. She encouraged county employees and the public to share their ideas on how to do the job better.

Mayor Levine Cava said, “The $70 million from the CARES Act in small business relief helped many to bridge the gap during this downturn. We’ve doubled down on small business. Initiatives like business incubators, connecting to capital investors, and back office support can help. We can

provide a more resilient local economy by diversification. Growing tech and green industries allow us to partner with innovators on our greatest

challenges like climate change and transportation issues.”

The Mayor spent some time on the County’s transit issues. “We will soon move forward on the 20 mile south corridor to connect residents from Florida City to the Broward line and to advance all legs of the SMART plan and seek all the funding streams,” she said.

“Our roadmap to full economic recovery must include strengthening and safely reopening our tourism sector,” Levine Cava said. “Miami

International Airport has been a leader during COVID – it was the first airport in Florida, the second in the United States, and third in North America to be

accredited under a National Airport Health Accreditation program.”

On environmental issues, the Mayor listed problems with rising seas, increased pollution, the retreat of seagrasses, algae blooms, and fish kills. “In

December, I issued Miami-Dade County’s first Biscayne Bay report card,” said Mayor Levine Cava.

“One solution is to discontinue the use of septic tanks especially in low-lying areas subject to flooding,” she said. She highlighted the $480 million available for waste water treatment centers to combat Bay pollution.

To promote a clean energy future, Mayor Levine Cava is working for a zero carbon footprint, supplying 30% of the County’s energy needs from solar by 2030. She thinks the County could easily become carbon neutral by 2050 by ramping up solar, making buildings more energy efficient, expanding

public access to electric vehicle charging stations, investing in public transit, and reducing waste.

“We will also need to streamline permitting,” the Mayor said. “And work on climate resilient infrastructure, to meet this moment for our environment.”

Mayor Levine Cava summarized the County work efforts by promising better citizen involvement, “To deliver a connected, compassionate and caring government through a new civic engagement program in partnership with the Miami Foundation,” she said. “The ‘Drive 305’ initiative is an effort to engage people across the community through a survey and a series of workshops to inform about my Administration’s action plans.

I look forward to hosting many more virtual town halls too.”

The Mayor closed by praising historic leaders of Miami as well as speaking to the strength of each individual County Commissioner and anticipating

innovative plans under the County Commission’s new committee structure.

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