DORAL ( February 4, 2019 ) — Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Juan C. Zapata shared part of his transformative platform yesterday at Actualidad 1040AM with Roberto Rodriguez Tejera on the program “Contacto Directo” in Spanish.
Zapata was asked about everything from parks to transportation. He gave examples of some of the ways Miami-Dade County has failed its residents and how it will continue to fail them if we don’t change the antiquated, inefficient system of government in our county.
Referencing the courthouse that voters did not approve back in 2014 that would’ve cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, Zapata said, “The voters were very clear in saying ‘we don’t want to pay for a new courthouse.’ And what is the commission doing? [It is] now entering into a process that will pay for a new courthouse, and they haven’t identified how they will get the funds for that. … For me, that’s not right.”
During his time as a state legislator and as a county commissioner, Zapata has always fought for the interests of residents in the unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County. He favors leaving it up to voters if they want to incorporate their neighborhoods.
“The county can function as a platform for municipalities. Our informational and technological know-how could be the backbone of cities’ systems to help support them,” he said. “However, municipalities are the ones that best understand and know the needs of their residents. … The problem with unincorporated areas is that they can be left alone which may not be too much a bad thing but it’s not a good thing either.”
About the county’s management of public parks, Zapata said, “It’s like having thirteen kids and each one gets the same thing. They don’t say ‘look this area should have more basketball courts, this area should have more soccer fields, for this area people want to play tennis.’”
Zapata wants to work to implement best practices on cutting down commute times in Miami-Dade County. He believes we have to find better ways to reduce distances between people in our community and improve accessibility to more easily travel around the county.
“A resident in my former commission district takes over an hour to travel to Downtown to visit their government! … Part of the solution has to be to provide more options for transportation,” he said.
As the first candidate to file to run for Miami-Dade Mayor, Zapata is determined to win this race and implement a restructured Miami-Dade County administration that will be responsive to its constituents’ needs and will make strides to prioritize its assets and establish a long-term vision for the future of our county.
“I’m not going to defend the status quo. I didn’t come here to tell anyone that Miami- Dade County’s government is the solution to our problems, because it isn’t the solution under our current structure,” said Zapata. “We have to find a new way to govern and really look to the future.”