Profile of Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The main challenger in the Miami-Dade County race for mayor knows his way around county hall, and Commission Chairman Joe Martinez says he can improve the relationship between government and the people it serves.
Joe Martinez, Miami-Dade Commissioner: "I like to listen to people: The guy who sweeps the floor, the lady who opens the door. You've gotta listen to them because people have good ideas."
That, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez says, is his leadership style, one that he believes will boost the efficiency of county government, if he is elected mayor.
Joe Martinez: "We're in the customer service business. My main saying is, 'Bureaucracy is the impediment to progress.'"
The three-term commissioner and former police officer says he decided a few years ago to run for mayor.
But could it be an uphill battle, running against an incumbent who has proposed a county budget that, among other things, lowers the property tax rate?
Joe Martinez: "This is an election-year budget."
Martinez says the two percent drop in the tax rate is misleading because property values have increased, so the county will be bringing in more money.
And savings based on cutting vacant positions, he says, is a temporary fix.
Joe Martinez, Miami-Dade Commissioner: "You're really not doing much of anything. What happens when there are no positions to do that?"
He opposes term limits for county commissioners, fearing that such a system would give too much power to non-elected administrators.
And the job of the mayor, he says, should be to think outside the box.
Joe Martinez: "You may find me visiting a business, trying to see how they can expand, how they bring in more people. You may find me at a consulate office, talking to them about how we can do trade. Those are the things I believe should be the position of a mayor."
An important issue in the upcoming election involves whether or not the county should overturn its ban on pit bulls. 7News will go into detail about that tomorrow.
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