In advance of the August primary, the Editorial Board declared that, in the race for Miami-Dade County mayor, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava was the best candidate to move this county forward.
Two months later, as she faces challenger and Commission colleague Esteban “Steve” Bovo in a runoff, we’re even more persuaded that Levine Cava is the right choice.
The next mayor will not be taking the reins of a county where things are chugging along as usual. This extraordinary year, which has seen extraordinary pain and challenges, is also bringing extraordinary opportunity to build back better.
And Levine Cava’s professional background is as expansive as her vision for a Miami-Dade in which many more people can live safer, healthier and economically robust lives. Just beneath the surface of Greater Miami’s energy and dynamism lurk the widest income gap among residents in the nation; the largest number of people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act and communities most at risk within a state that experts say is Ground Zero for the ravages of sea-level rise.
And all of these challenges plagued the community before the coronavirus hit.
BOVO’S CRAMPED VIEW
Bovo has been a solid, level-headed member of the County Commission since 2011. However, despite the challenges ahead, he presents a rather cramped view of the role government should play in the county’s road to recovery. In a candidates’ forum hosted by NBC 6, Bovo blamed overreaching government policies for business failures during the pandemic.
We agree that government cannot and should not come to the rescue of every problem. But government-ordered shutdowns of business were absolutely necessary to put residents’ health and safety above all other concerns during a deadly pandemic. Nor do government’s good-faith efforts to improve residents’ quality of life smack Cuba’s Communism, as Bovo declared when Levine Cava sought to require private county contractors to extend seven days of paid sick leave to their employees.
In doing so, government was not the enemy. It is the responsible agent acting on behalf of the greater good.
Levine Cava has used her experience as an attorney, an accomplished social-service leader and, now, an elected official to earn the chance to lead the county. Here’s what we said about Levine Cava’s plans in our first recommendation. She pledges to:
“Expand a small-business accelerator that she launched in her district, using federal and matching private-sector funds. This is vitally important in a community in which small businesses are the backbone — even more so, as she would have to lead through and after the coronavirus pandemic, which has permanently shuttered so many of those businesses.
“Advocate for creativity, having worked to pass legislation that requires 25 percent of proceeds from the sale of some county-owned properties to go to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Commissioners adopted her proposal requiring community redevelopment agencies with housing plans to build mixed-income housing. She also has been a proponent of land trusts, which use a funding structure to help homeowners build equity, reduce construction costs and assure affordability over the long term. And she sees the value of “rent-to-own” housing to allow residents to build wealth and to slow “Black flight.”
“Bolster options to make public transportation a first choice, not a last resort.
“Conduct a community audit of Miami-Dade police policies and practices. We think this is the most necessary and fairest way to cut through the emotion and rhetoric surrounding police use of excessive force. Learning what police can and cannot do and holding them accountable based on facts — not just videotaped bad behavior — is essential. Only then, can realistic reforms be realized.
Levine Cava brings a well-balanced combination of accomplishment, vision, compassion and practicality. The Herald Editorial Board recommends DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA for Miami-Dade mayor.