Miami Dade County Community Forum

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Proud of our UEL Board Members. By Fran Bohnsack

It seems natural that folks interested in good government would gravitate to the UEL and maybe even go on to harness their interests by running for public office. Did you know that among our current and former board members, we have two sitting City Commissioners, two excellent City Commission candidates, and two first-rate staff people working for Miami-Dade County Commissioners?

Maybe you’d like to know who they are.

Among the City Commissioners, both re-elected in April, we have Al Ruder and Maria Anderson. Al is actually a Councilman for the pretty little town of Bay Harbor Islands, now serving his second term; Maria is a Commissioner for “the City Beautiful” of Coral Gables, just beginning her third term. Both are advocates of good planning, controlled development, and enhancing public places.

Among City Commission candidates, we have Gabrielle Redfern, running for the Group III seat in Miami Beach, and Beba Sardinia Mann running for City of Miami Commissioner in District 3. Gabrielle is a former UEL Board Member and an activist with a special interest in transportation. Essential to her goals is to reform traffic and parking problems on the Beach by seeking better public transportation, progressive parking regulations, and a re-allocation of right-of-ways to allow for modes other than single passenger vehicles while enhancing the pedestrian experience.

Current Board Member, Beba Sardina Mann served three years on the City of Miami Planning Advisory Board where she distinguished herself for advocating responsible development and urging infrastructure investments in parks and public transportation. She is also a strong voice for transparency in government and proposes to shine a light on City of Miami activities.

And who are those Commission staff people that have helped UEL to move toward its goals? One of them is Roger Carlton, Chief of Staff to County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez. Both creative and practical, Roger has a reputation for being the “go to guy” who can get things done – even in a government as large as Miami-Dade county. Our other secret weapon is Jeremy Glazer, Legislative Analyst for much loved Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson. Of a cool mind and persuasive nature, Jeremy prods the UEL Board to stretch our thinking, and in doing so, helps us to exceed our grasp.

It’s been fun doing this bragging about the most visible of our Board Members, but the rest of them that you haven’t met are pretty impressive, too. I promise to fill you in on who they are in some future issue. Why not come meet them yourself at our Orchids and Onions event on June 10th? This is one of our best events.

Finally, the Miami Dade County Transporation Tax issue is one the UEL has been involved with since it was first proposed by Former Mayor Penelas. The UEL has a member on the CITT Board and on the CITT Selection Committee. Expect us to be front and center on this issue as it evolves.

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