As a North Miami Beach councilman, Julien wasn’t afraid to shoot down ideas he thought didn’t make fiscal sense, even if it meant sounding like a Grinch.
Facing a backlash from resident over the absence of festive winter holiday decorations, the City Council agreed to spend $20,000 to deck the streets of North Miami Beach with twinkling lights and banners.
Julien dissented. “We could probably use that money in other areas,” he said.
Born in Haiti, Julien came to the U.S. with his parents as a child. He lived in South Miami Dade at the time Hurricane Andrew swept through in 1992. His home and several other properties he owned were destroyed so he decided to move north, Taylor said.
Both men were process servers by profession and easily became friends. Taylor said he convinced his friend to enter the political arena.
“I’ll take the blame for talking him into it,” he said.
Julien first ran for a seat of the North Miami Beach council in 2003, but lost. When he tried again in 2005 he easily won his seat, despite accusations that he lied on his campaign literature about being a certified public accountant with a master’s of business administration degree in finance from New York University . A year later, as a part of a settlement to drop two misdemeanor criminal charges, he apologized for what he called “some errors contained in my campaign literature.”
He resigned a year into his third term from the City Council to run for the District 104 seat.
While in Tallahassee, Julien, a Democrat, faced criticism locally for what some critics called his “Republican way.”
“He was a no-nonsense kind of guy. It rubbed the people wrong way,” said Alix Desulme, who called Julien a mentor. “Sometimes, he didn’t always see things the way the majority saw it.”
In a statement, Florida House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, called Julien one of the caucus’ “most memorable colleagues.”
Inaccurate reports went out Thursday of Julien’s passing, prompting state representative to prematurely mourn their colleague’s passing on Twitter and in email exchanges.
But Taylor said Julien held on until Friday morning.
“He was a passionate advocate for his constituents, a thoughtful legislator, and a strong leader,” Thurston said.
A celebration of life is pending.
Taylor said there will be a keg of Budweiser at the celebration at Julien’s request.
“He wants it upbeat and everybody happy that he was here,” Taylor said.
Link to Herald article here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/27/3654479/ex-fla-rep-john-julien-dies-of.html