In North Miami Beach, Councilwoman Phyllis Smith is being challenged for her seat by Michael Joseph. She recently sent out a mailer which included a long list of people whose endorsements she scared up. Only a very small handful of those endorsements are from actual residents of North Miami Beach.
Her opponent, however, has earned the support and endorsement of the people who count: His future colleagues and leaders in the community. These are the individuals who have a vested interest in North Miami Beach and the residents who actually live in the city.
The Mayor and three of his colleagues endorsed Michael Joseph for City Council.
Mayor George Vallejo: “I am writing today to express my support for Michael Joseph. I have had the opportunity to meet Michael Joseph and understand his expertise in real estate law and his dedication to our community will be a welcome asset to the council. He would be a refreshing change from the type of councilperson who is combative and works against the desires of our community for economic development. I intend to support Michael with my vote in the upcoming election and by helping spread the word to others of the value of his policies and abilities. I invite you to join me in the same.”
Councilman Anthony DiFillipo: “Michael Joseph will make a great addition to the North Miami Beach council. He is an attorney who understands the needs of our community. I wholeheartedly endorse Michael Joseph for NMB City Council, Group 3.”
Councilwoman Barbara Kramer: “As an elected official and as a resident, I endorse Mr. Michael Joseph for North Miami Beach Councilman in the Group 3 Seat. Having been introduced to Michael through friends and area leaders, I noticed his passion and learned of his reasons for wanting to serve. I couldn’t agree more with many of his motivations such as his willingness to make decisions based on what is best for our city, not his personal gains or concerns. And just as important is his ability to lead with great integrity and dedication in moving our city forward. Michael has an impressive background both educationally and professionally. He will be an asset for all of us.”
Councilwoman Marlen Martell: “Endorsing a candidate is not based on personality, but on who will have the character to stand for what is right for the community. In Seat 3, Michael Joseph will give a definitive answer. He is open minded, will research options and stand by his conviction. As a resident I need an individual which will represent the needs of the community and as my colleague I need an advocate of the city as a whole. Michael Joseph is that individual and I hope you can support him for North Miami Beach City Council, Group 3.”
Community leader Dr. Allan Jacob sent out a long essay to his extensive mailing list entitled, “Why I Endorse Michael Joseph.” He gave me permission to reprint it here in its entirety:
Local government is responsible for 3 areas: security, services and quality of life. Our community needs substantial enhancements in security, outside traffic and access limitation, new parks in the center of our neighborhood and better services. Phyllis Smith has been a NMB City Councilwoman for 8 years and none of that has happened.
We all know Einstein’s definition of insanity – trying the same thing and expecting a different outcome. If Smith gets reelected you can expect more of the same. Only a change in leadership catalyzed by our community’s joining as a bloc to support Michael Joseph will bring about change.
Let’s examine Smith’s record.
In her 8 years as Councilwoman the only piece of legislation she has successfully initiated is a ridiculous Civility Ordinance, an ordinance she consistently violates. Many municipalities are abolishing these useless ordinances because they cannot be enforced. The only other piece of legislation she tried to pass was the “baggy pants ordinance,” which was intended to force young men to pull up their pants. That ordinance went nowhere.
Phyllis is the City Council’s liaison to three city boards and committees. The first is the Commission on Aging/Senior Citizens Advisory Board. There has been no activity for this Commission. The second is The Public Utilities Commission. There have been two vacancies on that Commission and she has done absolutely nothing to fill these vacancies. Meeting minutes have not been posted since July 16, 2014. The third is The Redevelopment Advisory Board. Minutes of the RAB meetings have not been posted since August 1, 2012.
Her behavior can be infantile. When Smith was re-elected four years ago, her main objective was to finagle a seat next to the newly elected Mayor, a highly competent and visionary leader. When he refused her demand, she immediately went on a two week rampage, which began a four year vendetta against anything the Mayor wanted passed. This animosity continues to this day and is an obstacle to real progress.
Her unethical behavior has been reported on by the Miami Herald. All but one of her rather high end vehicles are in the name of a shell Montana LLC for the sole purpose of not having to pay Florida sales tax. The one vehicle with a Florida plate was only recently registered in Florida, perhaps in response to the Herald expose. It was also previously registered in Montana.
Although we all look for legal ways to avoid paying taxes that is not the behavior that we should tolerate from elected officials.
Phyllis voted to end lifetime health insurance (yes, believe it or not, the Council used to give itself lifetime health insurance that you pay for!) but made sure she was exempted from the ban. Prior to that lifetime insurance ban, council members were reimbursed 100% of all out of pocket medical expenses including co-pays. Good work if you can get it. Phyllis was reimbursed approximately $15,000 for medical expenses before the ban went into effect. That’s our tax dollars at work.
She has a tendency toward delusion. For example, she claimed to have spoken with the Department of Defense for over three hours when the council was voting whether or not to restore the WWII gun mount on 19th Avenue. When challenged, she was unable to produce records supporting such a bizarre phone call.
One of the major issues facing the City is the sanitation contract. When it came up for discussion several months ago, the question arose of whether or not to use bids from two years ago or to start a new bidding process. Phyllis publicly quoted the Mayor of Surfside as having told her “you must be crazy” to accept a two year old proposal. The Surfside Mayor, Daniel Dietch, wrote her a lengthy email several days later admonishing her for misquoting him and asking her “that in the future you be sensitive to the impact of attributing a statement to me on the public record that does not accurately reflect our discussion.”
Phyllis has been noted to bully city employees in violation of the charter. For example, last September, she ordered Leisure Services Director Paulette Murphy to have the bathrooms painted in the community center at Washington Park and admitted to such at a council meeting! When chastised, she was observed leaving the Chambers and yelling at Ms. Murphy in the hallway.
During this election, Smith has placed many signs on lawns without the homeowners’s permission. She has been caught campaigning during council meetings by asking people for endorsements and donations. This is clearly against the rules of ethics and possibly Florida Statutes.
Is this the kind of person you want to be in the position of deciding how to spend your tax dollars?
In stark contrast, Michael Joseph is an attorney and MBA with experience in real estate development law. His commitment to community service is real and serious. I have met him several times and know that he will work with us to help us achieve real improvements in security, services and life quality issues.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
And finally, even though I don’t live in NMB anymore, Michael Joseph has received my official endorsement!
On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, please GET OUT AND VOTE FOR MICHAEL JOSEPH, NORTH MIAMI BEACH GROUP 3!
“Spreading the Wealth”