Miami’s Community Newspapers: Commissioner experiences first National Convention

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Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who represents District 8, served as a delegate to the recent 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. This was Levine Cava’s first time at a Democratic National Convention and it made a huge impact on her as a commissioner.

The Convention ran from Monday, July 25, to Thursday, July 28.

“It is a convention of a lifetime,” Levine Cava said. “I had never been active in Democratic Party matters prior to the convention.”

Levine Cava said she believes this upcoming presidential election is important because it determines what is at stake for the nation. She was excited to attend the convention for a couple of reasons. In addition to being her first time at a convention, her son just moved back to Philadelphia after being out of the country for one year in India.

The ability to witness Hillary Clinton on the convention stage was an overpowering experience for Levine Cava.

“I have been a great admirer of her for many years,” Levine Cava said.

She knows Clinton personally because they worked on the same children and women’s issues for organizations that supported the Children’s Defense Fund where Clinton served as the board chair. Clinton and Levine Cava also attended Yale University, although at different times. Levine Cava went to Yale as an undergraduate student and Clinton went as a law school student.

“I feel confident that the Democratic nominee will be able to move the country forward. She will be inclusive and be able to allay our fears. I think she will be able to strengthen our economy and restore trust in the government,” the commissioner said. “The whole tone of the convention was one of optimism with a path toward strengthening our democracy and country.”

Levine Cava takes her job as a commissioner for Miami-Dade County seriously. She serves in a non-partisan seat and believes that it is very important to solve issues at the local level. She said that the decisions that are made cross political lines, and she doesn’t want to mix her Democratic Party affiliation with her commissioner duties.

“I’m always looking for a commonsense approach for my constituents,” Levine Cava said.

She was sworn into office in November 2014 and wants to accomplish many things for South Miami-Dade including enhancing environmental factors, creating more jobs, improving transportation options and solving economic issues. “It has been a great opportunity, and I’m so grateful that I was elected.”

Levine Cava said the main reason ran for office is because of the distrust in the government, which she feels is hurtful.

“I will do everything I can do in my lifetime to instill a sense of pride in the government and the country.”

She has worked on improving government transparency as a commissioner.

Levine Cava received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and graduate degrees in law and social work from Columbia University. She is married to Dr. Robert Cava and raised two children, Eliza and Edward Cava, in Miami-Dade County.

Miami’s Community Newspapers: Student is a summer intern with county commissioner

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Mark Merwitzer, a resident of Palmetto Bay and a student at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, is turning his summer vacation time into a learning experience of a different kind. He currently is a summer intern for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.

Merwitzer, who has been very active in standing up for the needs and wants of his community since age 7, when he helped push for higher wages and better benefits for teachers, was appointed at the age of 15 to the Palmetto Bay Youth Advisory Board.

Since then he has raised money and handled many logistical aspects for the Palmetto Bay Relay for Life booth. He has taken an active interest in politics on all levels, local through national.

“I first met the commissioner in May, when I saw about the FPL Turkey Point Power Plant meeting in Community Newspapers,” Merwitzer said. “I’ve learned a lot about how local government works. I’m really thankful for Commissioner Levine Cava mentoring me and giving me useful advice.”

A personal project Merwitzer has been working on relates to distracted driving due to cell phone use. Besides research, he has drafted a letter to the legislators for his district, Rep. Michael Bileca and Sen. Gwen Margolis. He plans to reach out to them by telephone and also invite them to meet with him in the hope they will sponsor legislation at the state level to allow county or municipal regulations regarding cell phone use while driving. Currently the state has full control over cell phone laws. Already, the Office of Rep. Holly Raschein has invited Merwitzer to meet and discuss these policy considerations.

“I want to give back to the community and help make this a safer place to live and work,” Merwitzer said. “Cell phone usage is the No. 1 cause of distraction in auto accidents. My plan right now, since Florida legislators are in recess, is to try to speak with them about this issue.”

Merwitzer started his summer internship at the end of June and in the fall will begin classes at the Miami Dade School of Advanced Studies, Wolfson Campus, where he will do both high school and college level work. Merwitzer also has a passion for aviation and computers. He built his first computer at age 13 and currently is pursuing his private pilot’s license.

Richard A. Morgan, community liaison and special projects at Commissioner Levine Cava’s office, is pleased Merwitzer is there.

“He brings a lot of enthusiasm to our team,” Morgan said. “We have enjoyed having him, as well as our other summer interns.”

Merwitzer would like to encourage others to reach out and share their concerns about distracted driving due to cell phones as well.

Readers may find their state representatives at the following link: or by calling Miami-Dade 3-1-1.

Miami Herald: Miami-Dade Commissioner calls for special meeting on Zika efforts

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UPDATE: Monestime and Levince Cava have called a special meeting Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on the 18th floor of the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW First St.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava said Thursday she will request a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners to discuss coordinating local, state and federal efforts to quash a Zika virus outbreak in the city of Miami.

So far, health officials have identified 15 people who have contracted the virus from mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County, all but one of which inhabited a one-square-mile zone in and around Wynwood. The county has increased efforts to kill mosquitoes in the area, and county Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have all made appearances in the neighborhood during the last three days to answer questions about local and state efforts.

Gimenez and Scott have planned a joint press 3:30 p.m. conference Thursday at the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center, 9300 NW 41 Street, in Doral.

Here’s a copy of Levine Cava’s letter:

August 4, 2016

The Honorable Carlos A. Gimenez
Mayor, Miami-Dade County
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 NW 1st Street
29th Floor
Miami, Florida 33128

Dear Mayor Gimenez,

Thank you for your leadership thus far in addressing the threat of the Zika virus in our community. We have all been watching developments in the spread of this disease closely, with national and international news outlets reporting on the matter over the last few days.

I know your office has been coordinating with various government agencies to ensure we engage in an aggressive public education campaign. Further, I know action has been taken for aerial spraying to control mosquitoes and the distribution of repellant wipes for residents.

As we work together to face this challenge and keep our residents and visitors healthy, it is imperative that we all coordinate our efforts effectively and deploy our elected leaders to ensure that the state and federal governments put resources in place to combat the impact of Zika on our community and our tourism brand.

Today I will send a memorandum to Chairman Jean Monestime requesting that he convene an emergency meeting of the Board of County Commissioners pursuant to Rule 3.02(b) of the Rules of Procedure to discuss our response to the public health threats posed by the Zika virus. Such a meeting would provide the opportunity to coordinate the support from our federal partners, and to understand what support Miami-Dade County can expect from the state of Florida.

I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to working together to keep Miami-Dade healthy and open for business.


Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava