The City of Miami, popularly known as “The Magic City”, enjoys two key natural assets: Its location by the sea and a tropical climate the year around. Miami is synonymous with “green and blue.”
As the largest city of south-eastern U.S., Miami is the “gateway” to-and-from Latin America as well as the “meeting point” of the North and the South. In our City live together people from over a hundred countries who speak over 30 different languages.
Our population is now around 450,000 people with an ethnic composition of 70% Hispanics, 18% Afro Americans and 12% Anglos. 58% of our residents are born outside U.S.
Even though Miami is a poor city with a median household income of $30,000 per year, we have a 70% of high school graduates or more, and 23% of our residents have a Bachelor’s Degree or more, which is parallel to that of the whole State. In Miami, we have the 5th largest College in the U.S., Miami-Dade College, with over 165,000 students. Miami Dade College is not just dedicated –as contained in its Mission Statement- to provide a high-quality education, but to serve as an economic, cultural and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community.
The poverty level in 2009, when I was elected Mayor, was 34.8%. It is now 31% in spite of the economic crisis we underwent for 3 years. An evidence of how much our city has improved in the last 5 years, is shown on the WalletHub Index which ranked Miami, last year, in number 2 among the largest cities with fastest growing economies in the U.S.
Our Strategic Plan for this year, 2016, contains our six priority areas: Public safety, clean and beautiful neighbourhoods, growth and development, education and economic access, culture and recreation, and an efficient and effective government. On public safety, our Police Department reported (for 2015) the lowest number of crimes in more than a decade. In 2015, we hired 205 new police officers, the highest number in the history of the department. Our Police Department frequently implements “Gun Buy Back Operations” in an effort to reduce gun violence. Police officers, at different locations, offer gift cards and tickets to sport events in exchange for guns. No questions are asked. Hundreds of gun, including assault rifles and machine guns, have been taken out of our streets by these operations.
In order to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, our Community Development Department elaborated a “Five-Year Consolidated Plan” which assesses the housing and community development needs in the City. The Plan includes a strategic plan for addressing these needs. Our Procurement Department developed the “Local Disabled Veterans Workforce Pilot Program” in city contracts to hire veterans, a group with well-known disadvantages to compete in the job market. This Department, using poverty initiative funds, has also provided meals to hundreds of low income residents and helped fund day-care and after school services to over a hundred children in city parks. The “Neighbourhood Enhancement Team" also conducts homeless cleanups every month in order to provide a second opportunity to people living homeless.
Our park system, with over 100 parks, is an important meeting place for enjoyment to families of all social and economic stands. We pay special attention to this purpose given our multicultural composition.
Home of individuals from over 100 countries who communicate in more than 30 different languages.
Miami hosts 3 of the most massive popular participation events in the world: Miami Book Fair (thousands x 8 days), Miami Carnival “Calle 8” (over a million people), and Martin Luther King Parade (thousands of people watching).
Miami is the Cruise Capital of the World and headquarter of 5 leading cruise lines, berthing 42 ships and over 5 million passengers a year, passengers from all over the world.