The Mayor explains how changes at City Hall will impact Miami
November’s elections brought sweeping changes at Miami’s City Hall. Mayor Manny Diaz, prevented from running again by term limits, was replaced by former City Commissioner Tomas Regalado. Within days, city commissioners Angel González and Michelle Spence-Jones were forced out of office under a cloud of corruption charges, leaving two vacancies on the five-member commission. Regalado, a Republican, campaigned against much of what Diaz supported.
Florida Trend: What changes will businesses see?
Tomas Regalado: Instead of creating obstacles, we want to be the clearinghouse for any new business, whether to facilitate a site inspection or to inform the business of the different programs they may have —?city, county, federal — in that particular area. The priority of the government is if you want to invest in Miami, we’re going to make your life easier.
FT: What have you done to engage the business community?
TR: We are creating an economic committee that will try to help to bring business. My chief of staff, Tony Crapp Jr., will be heading that committee. We are appointing several community leaders and business people.
FT: What industries are you targeting?
TR: We just met with the consul general of China. She came from Houston, and she has some ideas on solar energy. We believe that we have sites in the city that we can provide. I’m also seeking the help of Emilio Estefan to get his ideas on how to attract the film and production industry to the city. We welcome anybody who has an idea that believes that they can open their business to the world.
FT: You have been a regular critic of large projects undertaken by the city, from the Marlins stadium to the Port of Miami tunnel. What kinds of projects will you support?
TR: I am not just trying to get a huge project to get ahead. I would rather work with individuals that probably won’t make the headlines, but if we save five or 10 jobs, we have achieved our goals.
FT: How hard is it to make changes?
TR: It’s very hard because for years there has been a culture of, ‘My job is safe. I don’t have to worry about it,’ and we need to understand that we are here to bring money to the city, bring jobs to the city.