Springing into March from Commissioner Michael Góngora

Pablo Gonzalez

Dear Miami Beach Residents,

It is already March and Miami Beach is springing forward in so many positive ways. Our economy and brand remain as strong as the hotel occupancy and average daily rate numbers continue higher than ever. With such a popular brand come complications including being a coveted Spring Break destination. In order to prepare our city for this increase in young visitors, the City has developed a comprehensive and coordinated plan to ensure the safety and security of both our residents and visitors during this time period. To review a copy of the plan click here -https://conta.cc/2TQTXly

Speaking of sun and fun, at our March 13th Commission meeting, I introduced an ordinance that would phase out the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone or octinoxate beginning in 2021.  As the creator of the City of Miami Beach Sustainability Committee in 2007, I am always looking for innovative ways to protect our environment. I also know that in Miami Beach we often lead by example and begin conversations on topics of importance to our environment, just as we did with the plastic straw prohibition on city lands. Key West and Hawaii both passed a law prohibiting the sale of over the counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone or octinoxate last year. Apparently, there is big money in sunscreens as many high paid lobbyists flew in to attend and speak at the Commission meeting. As such, the ordinance did not pass on first reading by a narrow margin vote of 4 – 3 but the issue was referred to the Sustainability Committee for further discussion. To view the CBS-4 news story on this topic click below.

I also sponsored a discussion clarifying the meeting schedule for board and committee members. Many board members reached out to me after receiving an email from the City of Miami Beach that the boards and committees were only to meet quarterly, absent exigent circumstances. This information was incorrect. Instead, the Commission had voted to allow boards and committees the flexibility already allowed for in the City Code to meet quarterly instead of monthly if they so choose to do so. A corrective email will go out to board and committee members clarifying this.

Finally, the City of Miami Beach Commission did not support an increased restaurant tax to be allocated to the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust and for domestic violence shelters.  As the entire Commission is interested in discussing other ideas to allocate increased resources to assist these important causes, the matter was referred to the Finance Committee for additional discussion and deliberation.

On a lighter note, it was my pleasure to visit two schools in Miami Beach this month. First, I was a guest speaker at the Montessori Academy at St. John’s on the Lake discussing the City’s sustainability initiatives with the elementary school students. I was amazed by how much they already knew about protecting our environment. I also participated in the National Read Across America Day by reading “Too Many Daves“ by Dr. Seuss at North Beach Elementary. I will continue visiting our public and private schools to discuss issues of importance with our students including the upcoming Law Day topic on behalf of the Miami Beach Bar Association.

Until next month,


Teaching our City’s Sustainability Efforts to the Elementary Class at the Montessori Academy at St. Johns on the Lake 

Save the Date for Upcoming Important City Commission Meetings and Other Meetings:

April Commission-April 10

Finance and Citywide Projects Committee Meeting-April 19

Neighborhoods/Community Affairs Committee-April 24

Ribbon Cutting for the Beachwalk from 3rd to 5th Street

Presenting Certificates of Recognition to Pablo Gonzalez and Alex Sherer for Winning State Championship in Public Debate Forum for Miami Beach High




Q: Our condominium association board recently made a rule that no beer, wine, or liquor can be brought into our swimming pool area. This came about because of one situation where some people got out of hand. Many of us enjoy socializing during “happy hour” around our pool. This seems like overkill and possibly illegal. What do you think? (K.M., via e-mail)

A: As the old saying goes, “one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.” However, legally speaking, the decision is probably entirely in the hands of your board.

The Florida courts have held that a board-made rule regulating the use of the common property must be “reasonable.” While this is a stricter test than the standard used to judge the provisions of your declaration of condominium, the courts do tend to defer to the “business judgment” of the board in deciding what is reasonable. In order for a rule to be found reasonable, it does not have to be the only choice, nor necessarily the best choice, or even the choice that the judge personally agrees with.

In the 1975 case of Hidden Harbour Estates, Inc. v. Norman, a Florida appeals court specifically upheld the legal validity of a rule made by the association board prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the common elements of the condominium. The court noted that “restrictions on the use of alcoholic beverages are widespread throughout both governmental and private sectors; there is nothing unreasonable or unusual about a group of people electing to prohibit their use in commonly owned areas.”

Your choices include asking for a meeting with the president and seeing if he or she will bring this matter back to the board for reconsideration. You could also seek to petition for an amendment to your declaration, which would supersede a board rule. A final option would be to seek to remove the board from office, which can be done by majority vote, or campaign for a more sympathetic board in the next election.


General Obligation Bond Update

March 13, 2019

During the months of January and February, the GO Bond Oversight Committee, in 4 separate, 3 hour long – public meetings, reviewed and validated the Implementation Plan prepared by City staff. They asked a lot of questions, had presentations from staff to answer those questions, heard from several members of the public, and thoroughly debated the plan over the 4 meetings. The Implementation Plan Criteria, which was also validated by the GO Bond Committee, set the prioritization of the projects into the 4 Tranches of funding. That Criteria is as follows:

Quick Win Projects were given the Highest Priority

Projects which are Shovel Ready were given Top Priority.

Projects that have a Big Impact on the most amount of people with the most benefits have Priority.

Asset Preservation was also a Consideration (Example: Roof and flooding damage to City Assets).

Interdependency with other Non-GOB projects was also a consideration. (Not only the substantial number of Projects which the City is implementing but also – agencies that we cannot control, i.e., FDOT and the County).

That plan then went to the Commission Workshop on March 4 where it was, once again, validated by the City Commission with minor revisions. That final recommended “Workshop” plan is what is the basis for today’s City Commission approval of the first tranche of GO Bond funding in the amount of $153 million for 38 of the 57 GO Bond projects.

The next meeting of the GO Bond Oversight Committee is scheduled for Thursday, April 18 at 5:00 pm at the City Manager’s Large Conference Room on the 4th Floor of City Hall. For more information please go to http://gomb2018.com/


Michael Góngora

Miami Beach Commissioner

(305) 673-7106 michael@miamibeachfl.gov

Office of Mayor & Commission | 1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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