Following numerous complaints from Surfside residents against their elected officials, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday night.
- The meeting will address topics such as ‘exploitation of official position’ and ‘putting the public interest above self-interest’, according to a flyer for the event.
What is happening: Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger told Axios that the county ethics commission is hosting the forum to educate residents on what constitutes an ethics violation versus disagreeing on policy.
- Danzinger said he sometimes receives hundreds of copies of ethics complaints daily — and he believes they are driven by a few disgruntled individuals who annoy others via social media.
Julio Rumbaut, who helped find Telemundo‘s WSCV-TV in Florida, is among Surfside residents who recently filed complaints. Rumbaut tells Axios that he thinks the city commission has a “business-driven, special-interest-driven agenda” since four of its five members were voted in in an election in March.
- He noted that this summer, as the commissioners considered an order on further changes to the rules, including allowing hotels to have more lounge chairs, residents circulated a petition oppose the measure.
- The petitioners are concerned that increased commercial activity on the beach will alter Surfside’s calm character and interfere with sea turtles.
To note : The proposed order has received preliminary approval but will be subject to another vote.
Rumbaut also said he and other residents share concerns about:
- Allegations that commissioners vote on matters in which they have a conflict of interest and that
- The mayor frequently interrupts speakers. He recently had a resident deleted from the podium by four officers.
What they say : Danzinger said the number of chairs hotels could have on the beach had previously been limited due to beach erosion. But now the city commission is trying to find a “middle ground” to increase the number after the Grand Beach Hotel filed a lawsuit against Surfside over beach chairs.
- Danzinger said such a lawsuit could threaten the city’s control over its beach, which is mostly state-regulated.
Danzinger also acknowledged that he strictly runs meetings, and said it’s because of the way the previous slate of commissioners acted: “They were literally toppling over at meetings. We had commissioners yelling at residents.”
- If people aren’t happy with his politics, Danzinger said, they should eliminate him in the next election.