Bike Activist for Miami Beach Commissioner?

Posted in Left & Liberals, Miami, People by americatimes on November 12, 2009


Threedom of Choice
Group 3 Candidates Face Off, and Face Residents
By Lee Molloy

Redfern was the first to make opening remarks. “My history in the city began on a bicycle,” said the cycling-obsessed candidate. She went on to explain how, when she moved to Miami Beach, she had written to then-Mayor Neisen Kasdin about the lack of bike lanes in the city. It was that grassroots campaign which kicked off her local civic involvement.

“We need to find new ways to generate revenue,” Fernandez said, citing the city budget as his main priority. He also discussed the decline in Miami Beach tourism and his concerns about public safety. “We have too many [police] officers who are making close to $60 grand a year and more, who are sitting behind a desk,” he said. The independently-wealthy Fernandez also vowed to “be a full-time commissioner,” he said. “I’m going to work 9 to 5 at city hall.” (…)

A concerned resident asked the candidates if they would be willing to stand up to the unions.

“I’m not going to be the commissioner who stands up against the unions. I’m going to be the commissioner who stands with the unions,” to work together on solving the city’s problems, Redfern said. “We are paying our people more than any other municipality in this country,” she said, adding that city employees “need to realize that the good times right now are over.”

Fernandez took a harder line. “We need to get our unions to understand that you’re lucky if you still have a job,” in the current economic climate, he said. “Police and fire [unions] this year are still asking for a raise in their salaries when they should be getting a cut. … And I’m not scared to say that.”


On Your Marks
Who’s In and Who’s Out in the Group 3 Race to the Miami Beach Commission

Gabrielle Redfern
Local community activist and condo manager Gabrielle Redfern is a University of Florida graduate.
“Go Gators,” she jovially told The Lead.

Redfern has two children, Elise and Annalynn, both of whom attend Miami Beach public schools. In fact, Redfern’s motherhood caused a little controversy during her first commission run in 2005 when she was criticized for breast-feeding her youngest daughter, Elise, during former Mayor David Dermer’s State of the City Address, inspiring 16 moms to hold a “nurse-in” at a subsequent commission meeting and making national news.

Currently sitting on the Miami Beach Design Review Board, Redfern is also an active member of the bicycling community, a member of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bikeways in Miami Beach, is the current Vice-Chair of the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and is a Co-Founder of the Bicycle Advocates for a Safe, Integrated City.

Her other neighborhood interests include serving on the Board of Directors of the Orchard Park Neighborhood Association, and as Co-Founder of the Miami Beach Council of Neighborhood Associations.

At the time of her last campaign finance report, Redfern had less than $1,000 in her campaign war chest.
Redfern’s chief concerns are the environment and the state of transportation in the City.

“I plan to focus my colleagues on the commission to work with me to solve the transportation and parking problems that plague our city,” Redfern said. “We need to rethink our land development regulations to promote a healthy mix of historic preservation and new urbanism that promotes green buildings and walkable communities.”


BASIC (Bicycle Activists for a Safe, Integrated City)

While bicycle gatherings like Critical Mass make for great photo-ops, activists have to do more than just clog traffic during rush hour to affect real change. If you want lawmakers to pay attention to the needs of cyclists, you have to play by their rules. That means sitting through endless commission meetings, endless community meetings, and endless planning meetings when you’d rather play outside in the sunshine. Enter BASIC, a loosely organized group of advocates who doggedly chase local governments to include cycling in their transportation plans. They’re the ones who take off their bike helmets and work through every legal roadblock to better bike access. Through their email list, BASIC members stay informed of government meetings where cycling issues might pop up. When that “critical mass” shows up to meetings, it really gets heard. So far, they’ve been instrumental in creating bike access, particularly bike lanes in Miami Beach, and making sure local governments don’t backpedal on transportation reform. And, they still find time to join the rest of us out on the road.


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