|Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner|
My first elective office was in 2000 as a state representative for ( the old) House District 119 which everything covered east of US 1 from Dadeland to Homestead. It was a wonderful district, which included much of the current County commission District 8. Even now as an Mayor of Pinecrest, I continue to have a broader South Dade perspective when it comes to state or county matters, and have been tremendously disappointed by the record of Commissioner Lynda Bell. She has been absent and unproductive in her role as a South Dade leader. So when Daniella Levine Cava decided to run for the District 8 Commission seat, I was thrilled. I first met Daniella in 1985 when we worked together at the Guardian Ad Litem Program in Juvenile court.
Over the past almost 30 years, we have worked together on many other initiatives, and there isn't a better, smarter , more caring and committed advocate in this county than Daniella. Daniella brought many new community initiatives to address housing needs, access to healthcare, Increasing economic opportunity and growing jobs through her work with the organization she founded almost 20 years ago, Catalyst Miami. She is a tireless fighter for advancing quality of life issues. One of my fondest memories is when we coordinated a " Piece of the Pie " campaign before the county commission, many years ago, urging the county to provide the critically needed resources to the social service community, the non profits tasked with assisting vulnerable populations including much of South dade. Daniella has been an effective and articulate advocate for bringing attention to community needs for thirty years. Her reputation throughout Miami Dade County is stellar as a spokesperson for community needs, and as a visionary problem solver. That is exactly what has been missing from representation for District 8 ever since Katy Sorenson retired.
As long as Commissioner Sorenson was the Commissioner for District 8, she was a fierce advocate for all of south Miami Dade and she worked well with all the cities, and with the other community leaders and unincorporated activists. Since she retired and Lynda Bell became the commissioner, District 8 has been ignored. The commissioner is absent on all of the issues important to South Miami Dade. The proposed US 1 Busway conversion to express lanes, with a roller coaster or second story express lane generates tremendous opposition and every time there are public meetings on this issue, there is never any presence by commissioner Bell or anyone from her office. The FPL transmission lines is another issue with tremendous public opposition, and includes neighborhoods west of US 1 in District 8. Yet Commissioner Bell has been completely absent. The South Dade Economic Development Council , a critical job development organization for often ignored area of the county has lost almost all of its county funds in the past several years , under Bells lack of leadership. As a member of their advisory board, I have been alarmed at the loss of county support and potential that this organization will have to close its doors. In the past year alone, a county allocation of $75,000 was reduced to $5,000. How could the Commissioner for District 8 allow that to occur?
Daniella has proven her credentials over the past 30 years fighting for a better quality of life for everyone. That is exactly what the South Dade Community is desperate for. Someone who will focus on them and their needs, who commands tremendous respect from business and community leaders and who will be there on the ground for all of her district and will fight for South Dade.