Over this last week I’ve published interviews with the candidates running for City Commission on March 10th.
- Interview with Keith James and Len Fintzy for District 4
- Interview with Cory Neering and Katherine Waldron for District 2
For the the last in our three part interview series we talk with Mayor Jeri Muoio, the incumbent, and Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell who are running for the Mayor of West Palm Beach.
Please take the time to meet and learn more about each candidate, & most importantly come out to vote on March 10th.
What motivates you to serve the City of West Palm Beach?
Jeri Muoio says: It has been an honor to serve the City I love for the last 4 years. And in those 4 years, we have accomplished a lot of the goals I set out for my administration and our City. There are still many important issues facing West Palm Beach and I have a clear vision for our City that focuses on more jobs, improved public safety and neighborhood improvement projects from Broadway to South Dixie.
Kimberly Mitchell says: West Palm Beach is my hometown. I grew up here and remember when streets like Clematis had only a few businesses. I still remember getting the call from Rodney Mayo over twenty five years ago asking me to come help him paint and fix up a business he was opening. That business, Respectable Street, is still open on Clematis. I’ve spent most of my life here and have been honored to serve the people of this city for 13 years. During that time, I’ve seen what our city can do, but I’ve also seen what has held us back. I want to take advantage of the opportunities that our city will have with over the next few years to attract new industries and improve our neighborhoods.
What one thing have you done for West Palm Beach of which you are most proud?
Jeri Muoio says: I am proud of the number of 1sts West Palm Beach has. #1 for business and careers in Florida, Clematis was named a top 10 street in the Country and West Palm Beach was considered one of the happiest places to live. And, for the first time in our City’s history, West Palm Beach has an Office of Economic Development, a long term strategic plan, a 10 year budget plan, a 5 year economic development plan, a financial and arts district, first ever water treatment plan, first ever drought plan, first ever storm water master plan, and first ever short term emergency water supply plan. I have made a serious investment in making sure West Palm Beach is planning for the future.
Kimberly Mitchell says: During my time on the commission I heard time after time from residents that code enforcement and police didn’t have the tools they needed to go after irresponsible landlords that let properties lapse into disrepair and/or become a haven for criminal activity. This meant lower property values in our neighborhoods and more crime. I did the research and started our Landlord Training and Chronic Nuisance Abatement programs that made it possible for our neighborhoods and the city to resolve the issues almost immediately and hold the property owners responsible. Just in the last two years the City has collected more than a half million dollars on properties and have gotten the problems solved with bad actors.
Describe your vision of where West Palm Beach will be in 10 years.
Jeri Muoio says: I envision a city with low crime, low unemployment, a beautiful and active waterfront, an arts district downtown that attracts people from all over, vibrant commercial districts on South Dixie Highway and Broadway, a bustling financial district along Flagler and major league baseball players coaching kids between spring training sessions, and more.
Kimberly Mitchell says: West Palm Beach has the potential to be a top mid-sized city in the United States, but we aren’t there yet. Despite what the Mayor says, we have a long way to go in reducing our crime rate and bringing jobs to our area. We should be working with business innovators like my childhood friend Rodney Mayo who are leading the cultural growth in areas like Downtown. Regrettably, the voices of our small business owners and residents have been shut out of the Mayor’s office.
What do you see as the single biggest challenge facing West Palm Beach?
Jeri Muoio says: We have many challenges, but I am focusing on water: protecting our water supply, modernizing our water treatment system, and developing a long term plan that ensures water is available when we need it, rates are manageable and our water supply and treatment is not privatized.
Kimberly Mitchell says: We have got to elevate the quality of education for the boys and girls and families of our city. Period. Full stop. Good schools are the foundation of our community and when we have quality schools, we have a better chance of bringing businesses that rely on an educated workforce and quality schools for the children of their employees.
What is your favorite place to go for dinner on Clematis Street and why.
Jeri Muoio says: All of them. I often eat on Clematis and enjoy all our downtown has to offer.
Kimberly Mitchell says: I’m a big fan of Longboards. The Brussel sprouts are amazing!