With overwhelming support from voters, Miami Beach creates a watchdog for City Hall

Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who has pushed for the inspector general’s office, said he thinks the initiative will end up saving the city money over the long run.

“One of the main functions of the inspector general is to help the city government work more efficiently, so if you think about it, even if the inspector general would identify just 1 percent efficiencies, that’s $6 million a year,” he said. “If you ask me if I’d spend $1 million to save $6 million? Any day of the week.”

February 13, 2019 | Miami Herald | With overwhelming support from voters, Miami Beach creates a watchdog for City Hall

Videos Show Dirty Stormwater Pumped Into Biscayne Bay and Swallowed by Manatee

At the same meeting, Commissioners John Aleman and Mark Samuelian pushed back on the criticism, saying the city is doing the best it can. “We are constantly challenging what we’re doing,” Samuelian said.

“We collectively have to keep pushing the envelope, but we also have to acknowledge that the technology is not perfect,” Aleman added. “There’s no technology for that that can operate on an industrial scale. If there was, we’d be implementing it.”

February 5, 2019 | Miami New Times | Videos Show Dirty Stormwater Pumped Into Biscayne Bay and Swallowed by Manatee

Miami Beach Commissioners Fight Over “Super Ugly” LED Sign at I-195 Entrance

While Alemán was aghast at the design, Commissioner Michael Góngora said he was excited about it, in a lukewarm kind of way. “I’m not so sold on it myself,” he said, “but I think that is the wave of the future.”

Ultimately, Góngora prevailed on Commissioners Ricky Arriola and Mark Samuelian to tentatively approve it. The LED display proposal will now go to the Design Review Board for consideration.

January 18, 2019 | Miami New Times | Miami Beach Commissioners Fight Over “Super Ugly” LED Sign at I-195 Entrance

Who says no one likes politicians? In Miami Beach, 25 people have applied to be one

Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who estimates that he has met with at least five candidates and heard from five more, said that agreeing not to run in November isn’t a deal breaker for him.

“At this point I’m going to wait and see the full lineup of potential candidates before I make a decision,” Samuelian said. The commissioner plans to go to a South Beach residents meeting on Jan. 22, known as the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club, where all of the applicants have been invited to introduce themselves.

January 16, 2019 | Miami Herald | Who says no one likes politicians? In Miami Beach, 25 people have applied to be one

Can she keep Miami Beach above the rising sea?

The city’s efforts have their critics. A citizens group, We Love Lakeview, is protesting a plan to raise roads in their neighborhood, worried about water drainage onto their land and property values. Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian agrees the city must respond to sea level rise but has concerns about what he calls “our one-size-fits-all policy of every street being raised,” both for the cost and the possible adverse effects on neighborhoods. The city has hired an outside firm to develop a sea level rise mitigation and stormwater strategy that will look at the street-raising policy, but also many other areas, such as ways to improve the aesthetics of a city while managing stormwater.

January 16, 2019 | OZY | Can she keep Miami Beach above the rising sea?

Restoring and Reinvigorating Lincoln Road

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said he appreciated the thought given to the various connection points in the 200-300 blocks at the entrance to the east and the side streets guiding traffic north to the convention center and cultural institutions, but he urged another connection point be added to the west, extending from Alton Road to West Avenue. As the City looks to complete its Baywalk, he said it should think about completing the “Bay to beach” connection.

The master plan as drafted, Samuelian said, left “two blocks in the middle” between Lincoln Road and the Baywalk where “you’re lost.”

“We’re talking about holistic connectivity,” he said. “The 2-300 block is serving hotels and tourists. Residents coming from the other end would like to see something beautiful.”

January 12, 2019 | RE: Miami Beach | Restoring and Reinvigorating Lincoln Road

West Avenue Project Closer to Restart

The first phase of the West Avenue project was completed but Phase Two was put on hold after the 2017 election and promises by incoming Mayor Dan Gelber and Commissioner Mark Samuelian to create a “red team” to study the City’s resiliency strategy to determine if it was on the right track. West Avenue residents weren’t necessarily unhappy about the delay, expressing frustration that while Phase One addressed the underground needs and the raising of roads, there was little to no thought about the above ground aesthetics.

January 5, 2019 | RE: Miami Beach | West Avenue Project Closer to Restart

Miami Beach’s Spring Break Scooter Rental Ban Could Be Reversed

Commissioners ultimately supported the measure on first reading 5-1 with Gelber voting against, but Mark Samuelian and Micky Steinberg were clear their votes were for first reading only to allow a longer discussion on its second presentation to the Commission. Kristen Rosen Gonzalez was absent.

“I’ll support it on first reading,” Samuelian said, “because I know where it’s coming from. We’re trying to have enforcement but we’re also trying to balance with the business community so I look forward to a more spirited discussion towards second reading.”

December 28, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Miami Beach’s Spring Break Scooter Rental Ban Could Be Reversed

Miami Beach Commissioners Ask Stores to Please Stop Selling Dead Sharks in Jars

“Miami Beach stands for a lot of things: We’re very pro-environment; we really care about wildlife and all the animals,” says Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who sponsored the resolution. “And I don’t think having dead species like alligators and sharks — some with the label ‘Miami Beach’ on them — is consistent with that.”

December 21, 2018 | Miami New Times | Miami Beach Commissioners Ask Stores to Please Stop Selling Dead Sharks in Jars

Are red light cameras here to stay in Miami Beach? New study bolsters support for program

“One of the things that is most striking to me is that even when the red light camera is not there, in the nearby intersections people are maybe aware of it and think more about it and there are safety benefits there,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian. “My leaning would be to look at expanding based on these results.”

December 18, 2018 | Miami Herald | Are red light cameras here to stay in Miami Beach? New study bolsters support for program