I am running for re-election as Mayor of South Miami. With your vote, this will be my fifth and final term in office.
In my time as Mayor of our lovely city, we have improved city services, strengthened neighborhood protections, beautified our parks, and made the City financially stable while bringing the property tax rate to an all-time low. I have worked hard to make South Miami government calm, responsive, and respectable, and make South Miami a place where people want to live, walk, ride a bike, and do business.
The crime rate in South Miami fell 40% over the last 3 years, to the lowest on record with FDLE (see graphic). Our police were among the first to adopt body-cams and our officers now receive training ranging from customer service to school protection to dealing with the mentally ill. Under my tenure, our South Miami Police Department received Florida Accreditation for the first time.
We saved the City from bankruptcy by bringing down City's future pension liabilities and yearly pension costs while improving the quality of pensions for City employees at the same time, bringing them into line with the high standards of the Florida Retirement System (FRS). We brought experienced management to City government and ended the revolving door of City Managers.
We are focusing on pedestrian safety. A signalized cross-walk and median now makes it safe to walk across Sunset Drive at shops. A red-light camera now makes it possible for pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross US-1 at Sunset Drive, and it has stopped commuters from "blocking the box"; a judge ruled our red-light camera procedures to be the model for the region. We are developing protected bike lanes that will cross the City at 64th Street, connecting Red Road with the future Ludlam Trail. Neighborhood Greenways are in the plans to provide a network of shady and safe streets for walking and biking throughout the City.
We manage our parks without toxic pesticides, and starting in January, we will be using new biological methods of mosquito control, funded by $4.1 million from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
City services are now easy to access, and staff is super-responsive to needs of residents. The City's new website is clear, and allows residents to sign up for notifications about city events and recreation programs, or to track how reported problems are being resolved by City staff. We have created new master plans for parks and for transportation that are allowing us to obtain outside grants to improve these important City resources.
The City achieved Tree City USA certification for the past six years, and we are striving for SolSmart gold certification through the U.S. Department of Energy. We are greening the City's fleet with plug-in electric vehicles, hybrids, and (soon) hybrid pursuit vehicles for the police officers. The Capital Improvement Plan includes solar for the City's buildings and the Community Pool at Murray Park.
New challenges will include helping our downtown again thrive in the face of new competition from neighboring commercial districts and internet sales, improving bike and pedestrian access, restoring safety to our residential streets under challenge by commuter traffic directed into our neighborhoods by smartphone navigation apps. Keeping FPL's transmission lines off US-1 and the future Underline will remain a priority.
I have a few more wrinkles than when I started, but I've earned them. I ask for your support to serve one final term as Mayor of your city, and to continue the progress I have carried out on our collective behalf as neighbors in the City of Pleasant Living.
ABOUT MAYOR STODDARD
Mayor Philip Stoddard was first elected to office in 2010 and is finishing his fourth term as Mayor.
Miami New Times named Mayor Stoddard the “Best Politician of 2017”.
The Florida Sierra Club gave Mayor Stoddard the 2017 Osprey award “presented for extraordinary effort by a governmental staff person to promote or effect changes in policy or practice to protect or preserve Florida's environment.
Mayor Stoddard was named the Green Municipal Official for 2016 by the Florida Green Building Coalition.
In 2016 Mayor Stoddard was named by Politico Magazine to the Politico-50 “guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016”.
In 2015 Mayor Stoddard was appointed by the White House to the Governance Coordinating Committee (GCC) of the National Ocean Council, working with both the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Mayor Stoddard was lead author on national policy for addressing sea level rise.
Mayor Stodddard has worked to lower the price of solar energy by creating solar buying co-ops in Miami-Dade County (starting with South Miami, of course). He is the force behind a coalition of local cities that are funding energy efficiency projects for low income families through the Green Corridor where he is a board member. A Miami Herald editorial this Thanksgiving commended South Miami for Mayor Stoddard's initiatives to care for our environment. A Sun Sentinel editorial praised his leadership on renewable energy. You can listen to his interview on WRLN's Friday Roundup.
Mayor Stoddard has been interviewed on NPR, PRI, the BBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, MSNBC, Univision, The New York Times, The Guardian, The NewYorker, Time Magazine, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, and The Bond Buyer. He has appeared in numerous documentaries including National Geographic’s Years of Living Dangerously episode "Saving Miami", which showed in 171 countries and 47 languages, and Discovery Channel’s “MOSQUITO” which showed in 189 countries. Miami New Times recently ran a feature story describing Dr. Stoddard's work as mayor. You can listen to his recent interviews on WLRN's Topical Currents.
By day, Dr. Stoddard is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University where he has worked since 1992. He has published over 70 scientific papers and book chapters on studies of biophysics, neuropharmacology, endocrinology, behavioral ecology, and evolution. He teaches courses in animal behavior, cell biology, graduate research methods, scientific programming and data analysis. His research laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and is currently funded by the National Science Foundation. In 2016, Dr. Stoddard was named a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society. A big proponent of renewable energy, Mayor Stoddard's house and car are powered by the sun (his monthly FPL bill is $9.41). He remains happily married, their daughter is in college, and their backyard pond is still a wonder.