Real estate mogul Philip Levine just announced his candidacy for Mayor of Miami Beach. I am thrilled about the news because it has been too long since someone with a true business background has thrown his hat in the ring. Miami Beach is the crown jewel of South Florida and it is time that we have a representative who reflects our stature as a serious city.
Even better: Philip is going the Michael Bloomberg route with his campaign, meaning that he is going to mainly self-fund his efforts and will cap all donations at $100. “I won’t be accepting money from corporations,” Philip tells me, in an exclusive call. “Therefore, I won’t be beholden to any corporations. This is very different from what Miami Beach has seen before. There’s so much corruption and crazy pensions. I want to change the paradigm.”
Indeed Levine’s announcement is sure to shake things up. First, he is running against two veterans of City of Miami Beach politics, Michael Gongora and Jerry Libbin—both of whom are currently City Commissioners. For Levine, that’s exactly the problem—politics as usual! “There’s a leadership vacuum,” he continues. “There are two people running against me. They have been politicians with the City for years. The people of Miami Beach know what they’ve done. If they want change, I’m the choice for that.” Whomever wins will be replacing longtime Commissioner and Mayor Matti Bower.
“I want to be independent of groups bidding for business in the City,” he notes, citing the recent allegations of corruption surrounding the bidding process for the new Convention Center. “I want to clean up the circus and do it in a way that is unique. It’s time to take the Beach back.”
In fact, Philip says that his campaigning will be on a grassroots level and that he will be going door to door all over Miami Beach himself. While he filed two weeks ago, a committee is currently being formed on his behalf. Expect some of the biggest movers and shakers in the 305 to jump onboard the campaign. Who knows? Maybe even an appearance by former President Bill Clinton, who is a dear friend of Levine’s.
This is certainly going to shake up the “established” political players locally, who have never had to run against someone so savvy before. It also reflects the maturation on the behalf of our business community, who will certainly rally around Levine. We have world-class events on Miami Beach—such as Art Basel and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It’s time our politicians caught up too.
While November is months away, Philip predicts it will be a “long, hot, wet summer.” And that’s he’s looking forward to a “big fight.”
Miami Pop will keep you posted on all of the upcoming races for the COMB. In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see Miami’s next Bloomberg knocking on your door.