May Days and Mother’s Day in Miami Beach with Commissioner Michael Góngora


Dear Miami Beach Residents,

May reminds me of the wonderful women who have and continue to nurture and support me. Thank you to all the wonderful mothers and grandmothers who work hard every day for their families, especially MY mother, Sandra Page Millard! It is through their inspiration that I also continuously work hard to improve quality of life for Miami Beach residents.

The Miami Beach Commission met for our regular meeting on May 8thOne of the morning discussions was regarding the proposed concept for the Fifth Street Pedestrian Bridge. As I wanted community input prior to the meeting, I placed the rendering on Facebook for comment. Most seemed to agree with me that the design for the bridge does not depict or represent Miami Beach and instead mimics the design of the Miami Beach Convention Center. While I do like the design for the Convention Center, it is not reflective of “Miami Beach” as the gateway sign to our city. We DO need the pedestrian bridge but can do better after this item goes to Design Review Board, which is why I voted “no” on this item as presented. Please view the currently proposed rendering below.

Another issue approved by the Commission was an extension and new contract for the Boucher Brothers, who provide our beach concession services. While I agree with my colleagues and the administration that they are an excellent partner, I sought additional public benefits for the City of Miami Beach, especially for seniors. While the new agreement provides for additional services and monies including sand sifting and monies for senior programming, I wanted our seniors to enjoy the beach concession services free of charge. As such, I fought for an expanded public benefit that now includes two locations – one in North Beach by UNIDAD and one in South Beach – where our Miami Beach seniors 65 and over can enjoy free beach chairs from Monday – Thursday instead of the one location and one day originally offered. I am honored to champion improved quality of life for our beloved senior residents.

Finally, concerned about a number of Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) projects impacting our City, I placed a discussion item on traffic and requested FDOT representatives be present. We deserve information about all traffic projects impacting Miami Beach and must have a proactive way of keeping informed. As such, I’m pleased to report that we now have a standing Commission item each meeting where FDOT representatives will update us on traffic projects and what to expect. To view a Letter to Commission summarizing the current FDOT projects please click here:

Stay tuned for details on the State of Florida Legislative Update I’m planning for Thursday, May 30th at 6 pm, where our State Senator Jason Pizzo and State Representative Michael Grieco will provide vital information about new laws passed in this year’s legislative session. 

Happy Mother’s Day for all those celebrating!

Until next month,


Me and my mom – Sandra Page Millard 

Another Successful 2019 AIDS WALK with Mayor Dan Gelber, Representative Donna Shalala, and Commissioner Micky Steinberg

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

Neighborhoods/Community Affairs Committee-May 20

May Presentations & Awards Meeting- May 22

Finance and Citywide Projects Committee Meeting-May 31

 Proclaiming it Isabela V. Perdomo Day in the City of Miami Beach For Being a Young Ambassador for Our Environment 

 Great Turnout for Coffee with Cop at David’s Cafe with Police Officers Ernesto Rodriguez and Samir Guerrero, Norma Brito, and Valerie Navarrete


Good News & Bad News


Donna DiMaggio Berger

Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session ended last Friday, May 3rd with not a lot of change to report for community association residents.

There is good news in the form of some relief for older high rises who had been facing the prospect of installing an Engineered Life Safety System (ELSS) by the end of 2019. Thanks in large part to CALL’s efforts, these buildings will now have some breathing room in the form of additional installation time found in HB 7103. This bill passed the House last Friday and has already been sent to the Governor. Governor DeSantis will now have fifteen days to act on the bill by either signing it, vetoing it or allowing it to become law without his signature. We have every belief that the Governor will sign HB 7103 into law.

While full opt-out rights were NOT achieved, assuming the Governor allows HB 7103 to become law, older high rises (75 ft. or higher) will now have until the end of 2023 to install an ELSS. This will give some of those communities time to marshal the resources to begin installing an ELSS and, for those communities who wish to continue the fight, awareness that if the data pull required under this new law (a report on the number of impacted communities must be delivered to the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House by September 1, 2020) does not support the narrative that ELSS installations will cost billions of dollars statewide, the willingness of Florida legislators to continue staving off the retrofitting will come into question.

CALL’s lobbyist on this issue, Becker Shareholder and former State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, has vowed to continue to pursue legislative relief from ELSS installations as long as impacted associations are willing to join the fight. CALL will be providing more information on this targeted advocacy initiative in the coming months.

The bad news to report is that Senate Bill 1128 which would have criminalized fraudulent emotional support animal (ESA) requests was withdrawn from consideration and did not pass. The purpose of this important piece of legislation by Senator Manny Diaz was to reduce the number of people misrepresenting their pets as assistance animals. The average high-rise building with pet restrictions spends at least $2,500 per year in legal fees evaluating ESA requests that are questionable at best and blatantly fraudulent at worst. Not surprisingly, many boards, managers, and residents have grown weary of one-sided FHA policies and we had been hopeful that 1128 might pass.

CALL will be reaching out to your policymakers over the coming months to determine why the bill was withdrawn from consideration and to urge a reboot next year. For each of you who has taken the time to contact me with requests for information or to share messages you’ve sent to your legislators in response to a CALL Alert you read, thank you for your involvement. For ALL of our CALL Members, you have some homework to do over the coming months! Please reach out to your State Senator and State Representative and make an appointment to meet these folks in their district offices to introduce your community to them in person.

By having these in-person conversations well in advance of the 2020 Legislative Session, your legislators will be able to put a name and face to your call or email thereby injecting even more meaning into your communications next year.


Michael Góngora

Miami Beach Commissioner

(305) 673-7106

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

Find this content useful? Share it with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *