Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Have a Happy and Safe New Year

New Year’s Eve is upon us. Tonight is a time for families and friends to get together and celebrate the year that has passed, and toast the one to come. I will be celebrating this New Year’s with my family and thousands more at Bayfront Park, where the City of Miami will host a huge party featuring concerts by the Spam Allstars and Betty Padgett & Elements of Funk, all before a countdown with Miami’s own “Big Orange.” Remember to have a safe evening, and I invite everyone to join me and my family as we ring in the New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dali Comes to Miami

Salvador Dali is one of the greatest artists of the last century. His work can be seen in buildings and paintings throughout Europe and the Americas. The City of Miami, due to the efforts of Miami Dade College, has been able to bring us Dali’s “Divine Comedy”, on display at the Freedom Tower. The “Divine Comedy” is Dali’s visual interpretation of Dante’s classic piece of literature, and presents the viewer with a combination of jarring and beautiful imagery.
I thoroughly enjoyed viewing Dali’s collection, and encourage the residents of Miami to take this opportunity to experience the work of a truly great and visionary artist. With the holiday season in full swing, and leisure time being made available to families across the city, now is the perfect time for our residents to see great art in one of Miami’s most iconic buildings.
To read more about this exhibition visit MDC's page.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have a Happy and Green Holiday

The City of Miami encourages you to have a "Greener" Holiday Season this year. Please consider the following three simple steps to help conserve our natural resources.

1. Save Energy, Save Money! Make sure to select energy saving LED lights for holiday decorating. LEDs have a lower wattage and generate much less heat than traditional strands. Set all holiday lights on a timer for increased energy efficiency.

2. Rethink the Gift Wrap. When wrapping your gifts, select gift wrap made of recycled paper, old newspapers, magazines, or pictures. Reusing gift boxes, bags & ribbons can also help reduce waste. Finish off your present with a recycled card to add just the perfect green touch!

3. Recycle Your Tree! This holiday season, prolong the usefulness of your Christmas tree by turning it into mulch and using it for gardening or landscaping. You can also have it picked up and recycled through the City of Miami's curbside recycling collection up until Februadry 4th. To find out more information, contact the City of Miami Solid Waste Department at 305.960.2801.

Happy Holidays and a Happy (and Greener) New Year!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

USCM Releases Third Report of Main Street Recovery Plan

The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently released the third installment of their Ready-to-Go Jobs Report that inventories infrastructure projects from cities around the country that could be started and completed in just two calendar years to create over a million jobs with help from federal dollars.

This report contains examples of the kinds of projects that, if funded through existing channels, would contribute significantly to the President-elect's stated goal of creating 2.5 million jobs to spur the national economy.

The USCM, an organization that I preside, represents over 1,300 mayors and their cities. The organization invited its members to submit what projects they could start right away and put people to work.

Investing in MainStreet metropolitan economies, which comprise 90% of our gross domestic product and drive the national economy, is the most direct path to creating jobs and stimulating the business that can begin to reverse the current economic downturn. Additionally, metro infrastructure projects can start quickly because the funding for them can come directly to their cities through existing funding channels such as the Community Development Block Grant.

The mayors of 641 cities of all sizes in all regions of the country reported a total of 15,221 local infrastructure projects are "ready to go." These projects represent an infrastructure investment of $96,638,419,313 that would be capable of producing an estimated 1,221,677 jobs in calendar years 2009 and 2010.

The USCM accepted each city’s project submittal, and each Mayor and City is responsible for its justification for putting these projects forward.

However, Mayors recognize that this list must go through a review process through which Congress and the new Administration will identify projects eligible for funding. During this process, the new Administration and Congress must create a selection criteria to decide which projects are feasible and would be of most benefit to the community.

To view the entire report and individual city results, please go to

- Manny

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bike Miami Days 2009 Launching Sunday, January 18th

I am happy to announce the Bike Miami Days continues to be a successful, free & family community event here in the City of Miami. I am dedicated to making sure that the City of Miami hosts this event every month - our next Bike Miami Day will take place Sunday, January 18th in Downtown Miami. The street closures will extend down West Flagler Street, opening up access to bicyclists and pedestrians to the Cultural Center, the Miami River Greenway and Lummus Park. The schedule of free events will be posted soon at, but I can tell you now that there will be a Riverfront Rally, tours of the City of Miami Police Stables, and bicycle rentals, all new to Bike Miami Days.
Thank you to everyone who supports this initiative to promote cycling, livable streets and Miami's growing urban community. Save the date!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We Must Continue the Port of Miami Tunnel Project

The Port of Miami Tunnel project, part of the Global Agreement, has been a dream of City of Miami planners for decades, with the ultimate aim of its construction being the relief from congestion that currently clogs our downtown streets near the entrance of Miami’s port. It has been our goal to get this important infrastructure project approved and finished, in the hopes that its construction will make our downtown more livable.
The Florida Department of Transportation’s decision not to close the deal on the Port of Miami Tunnel project is unacceptable. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and I held a press conference yesterday urging Governor Charlie Crist to reconsider FDOT's decision.
The $457.5 million dollar investment will bring an immediate influx of cash into our economy. The construction of the tunnel will create an estimated 600 jobs, jobs that will go to our residents and will help protect Florida’s largest economy from the recession we are currently facing. The tunnel, recommended by FDOT as a means of improving the flow of traffic and relieving congestion, is vital to the future of Miami as a major player in the world economy.
During this time of ever increasing economic hardship we, as a city, county and state, need to have projects in place that not only create jobs, but improve our competitiveness and invest in our future.
The port, Miami’s second most important economic engine, employs 17,000 people, generates over two-billion dollars in business and has an immediate economic impact worth well over half-a-billion dollars. With increasing competition from Port Everglades, Jacksonville, Panama and a slew of ports in the Caribbean, can the state really allow Miami’s port, the state’s most important to lose its position as a global player? The answer is no, and we implore Governor Crist to do his part and provide the assistance that we need to improve the sustainability, resident friendly and competitive position that downtown Miami has developed over the last ten years.

Please read the letter sent to Governor Crist HERE
- Manny

Listen in on NPR Interview

Listen to Mayor Manny Diaz’s December 15 interview in National Public Radio’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin. Some of the subjects discussed include the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Homelessness and Hunger report as well as its Main Street Recovery Plan and the current economic situation in Miami.

Listen HERE

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Annual Update on Hunger & Homelessness Released during Miami Cares Day

Photos by Jorge Perez/City of Miami

At this time of significant economic downturn, the issues of hunger and homelessness in America are more prevalent than ever. Cities are the front lines where these effects are first felt, which is why mayors have been proactive and have implemented local initiatives to combat hunger and homelessness in their communities. Miami Cares Day is a coordinated effort that our City has done for the past four years to address these very issues and take care of our most vulnerable residents.
The City of Miami Homeless Assistance Program, in conjunction with more than 20 community partners, provided free services today to more than 700 homeless individuals during the fourth annual Miami Cares Day on December 12. During the event, 513 meals were served and 118 homeless individuals were taken off the street in a single day, through shelter placement, residential treatment and relocation.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) also released results of its 2008 Hunger and Homelessness Report at a press conference during the Miami Cares event.
The USCM report reveals that on average, cities reported a 12 percent increase in homelessness from 2007 to 2008, with 16 cities citing an increase in the number of homeless families. The lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment were cited as the primary causes of homelessness for families. For individuals, the top three causes cited were substance abuse, affordable housing and mental illness. The lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment were cited as the primary causes of homelessness for families.
Only Los Angeles, Phoenix, Cleveland and Miami saw a decline. Miami saw a 16% decline from last year, and a 66% decline from 2003, the year we adopted our 10 year plan to reduce homelessness.
This year’s survey included a special focus on the demand for government subsidized housing and the effect of the foreclosure crisis on homelessness. Twelve cities (63) percent reported an increase in homelessness because of the foreclosure crisis.
The report shows that requests for emergency food assistance went up in nearly every city surveyed with the demand outpacing the supply in 20 cities. The Miami Indoor Meal Program served 150,000 meals last year.
December 18 update:
Today I received impressive numbers detailing the positive impact we had on Miami's homeless during Miami Cares Day:
250 volunteers were able to provide 743 people with 92 shelter placements, 47 haircuts, 136 showers and new clothes, 18 long distance phone calls to family and friends, 14 family re-unifications, 12 substance abuse treatment placements, 59 people were provided medical services, 40 mental health screenings were administered, 15 veterans affairs consultations were given, 33 legal service consultations were given, 38 permanent housing applications were filled and filed, 49 food stamps applications were filled and filed, 475 gift bags were handed out, 86 HIV/Hepatitis tests were administered, 81 people were provided with optical services, 88 Florida I.D.'s were issued, 21 people people were given manicures/pedicures, and 118 people were provided with some form of housing.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who made this possible!

To read the entire USCM 2008 Hunger and Homelessness Report, please visit
Follow this link to hear my NPR interview about the report and homelessness.
- Manny

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Second Sunday for Biking, Walking, Skating & Exploring the City in a New Way

photo: Jorge Perez, City of Miami

Sunday was another a success for Bike Miami Days. I had a great time riding around Bayfront Park and Downtown Miami, visiting local shops and meeting local families along the way. I had a great time and got to try riding a Trikke and saw lots of interesting bikes and skates, segways and skateboards, too.

I would like to thank City Year volunteers for 'Bringing Books Alive', their program to promote reading for kids at Bayfront Park. The Downtown Miami Partnership and the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts hosted the top entries from the DAWNTOWN International Architectural Ideas Competition. Kirk Jewelers gave out free water to everyone who passed their shop on Flagler Street. Sun Cycling came out to Mary Brickell Village and offered a free bike clinic with helmet fittings and lots of holiday cheer, too. The Everglades Bicycle Club collected toys for children in need across Greater Miami, and the Green Mobility Network was back, valeting bicycles and sharing information about bike safety. Bike Miami Days is truly a community effort, and I could go on and on thanking everyone who make it happen. Last but not least, we could not do this without the support of the City of Miami Police and Parks & Recreation Departments, as well as Public Works, Solid Waste, GSA and Communications.

It was a great day. I look forward to announcing the date of the next Bike Miami Day soon.

- Manny

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Sunday: Bike Miami Days in Downtown Miami

This Sunday, Bike Miami Days returns to Downtown Miami, back by popular demand.
Bike Miami Days is an initiative to promote bicycling and walking, livable streets and our urban community.
This Sunday, from 9:00am-3:00pm, I hope that you and your family will join me and mine to Explore our City in a New Way. East Flagler Street and portions of SE 1st Avenue and South Miami Ave will be closed to cars so that everyone can visit the parks, shops, cafes and restaurants of Downtown Miami by bike, on foot or rollerblades or trikke or...
I encourage you to carpool or take public transportation if you cannot bike or walk to this event. Mary Brickell Village will be offering $3 all-day parking and the MetroMover and Bike Valet, as always, will be free.
I would also like to thank all of you who have shared with me your photos, videos, blogs and thoughts on Bike Miami Days. Many of them are on Facebook, the Bike Miami Days blog and the official site:
I hope everyone who came to the first event will be able to join us again. This Sunday will feature a full service Bike Clinic, the Everglades Bicycle Club Annual Toy Drive, Live music, and the City Year program "Bringing Books Alive", which promotes reading for kids, at Bayfront Park, and much more.
For the full list of events and a map, please visit the blog.
See you Sunday!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Call to Washington to Invest in Our Cities

Investing in MainStreet metropolitan economies, which comprise 90% of our gross domestic product and drive the national economy, is the most direct path to creating jobs and stimulating the business that can begin to reverse the current economic downturn. Yesterday I was joined by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to renew our call for MainStreet Economic Recovery during a press conference on Capitol Hill, and to release the second report that inventories local ‘ready-to-go’ infrastructure projects – projects that could be started and completed in cities in just two calendar years -- if emergency federal funding were made available. We were also joined by House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (NY).
Information on these projects has been submitted to the U.S. Conference of Mayors from hundreds of cities in all regions of the country and includes projects in ten different sectors including Community Development Block Grants, transit, highway infrastructure, green jobs, school modernization, public safety and public housing (see details at
Immediately following the press conference, we met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her office and then with Senate Majority Leader Reid and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Durbin to discuss the report and the MainStreet Economic Recovery plan.

Below are my remarks given during the press conference:

Main Street America’s economic crisis continues to worsen.

Since the start of the recession a year ago, our nation has lost nearly 2 million jobs. Over 10 million American workers are now unemployed.

These workers live and work in our cities, they live and work on Main Street.

Mayors also live and work on Main Street.

We see problems first and are the first to respond.

Mayors lead the metro economies, our nation’s economic engines, accounting for 86 percent of jobs, 90 percent of income and gross domestic product.

With a real sense of urgency, we met throughout the Summer to begin drafting our main street economic recovery plan.

Our plan calls for investments that will stimulate our economy by quickly creating jobs, fixing our aging infrastructure, increasing our global competitiveness and further reducing our carbon footprint.

In developing our plan, we asked our 1,200 member cities to provide us with a specific list of their 2009 and 2010 shovel-ready projects, their estimated cost and the number of jobs created.

To date, 427 cities of all sizes have responded. We have over 11,300 infrastructure projects “ready to go.”

They represent an investment of more than 73 billion dollars and will produce an estimated 848,000 jobs in 2009 and 2010.

These are real jobs, and a real return on taxpayer investment.

To reverse the current economic crisis, we must invest wisely. We must invest where we get the greatest return: in “Main Street.”

We are not here for a bailout. We are here to help build-out America, and put America back to work, and to strongly endorse President Elect Obama’s call for a long-term economic recovery plan that creates or saves 2.5 million jobs over the next two years, and that invests in a sustainable, energy-saving infrastructure.

We are prepared to work with President Elect Obama and our congressional leaders to measure our progress, to spend the dollars timely or lose them, and to account for the number of jobs created and the energy saved.

The conference will continue to collect information from our members and issue our next update during the first week of January.

- Manny

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mayor’s Blog One of Miami’s Top Blogs!

I am happy to announce that this blog was ranked among Miami's top “up and coming” blogs by, a hyperlocal news and information service, which provides news and information on a level beyond what traditional media provides. recently analyzed data from over 4,000 blogs that provide feeds to the site, and based on variables that include total number of posts, location of posts, and links from other sites in the community, identified the Mayor's Blog as a top blog in the Miami area.

Thank you to my readers!

- Manny

Friday, December 5, 2008

Join Me for the Overtown Folk Life Festival

This weekend marks the first of what will be a monthly tradition for Miami's Overtown Neighborhood, First Fridays, with the Overtown Folk Life Festival. Come visit the Historic Overtown community this weekend with your family and enjoy live music, arts & crafts, and a visit from Santa!

Support Adopt-A-Classroom

Outside the home, the teacher is the single greatest influence on the life of a child. They do more than just teach, they are caregivers, guardians, mentors, and role models. In order to succeed at their increasingly demanding job, teachers need more resources and support. According to the National Education Association, public school teachers spend an average $1,200 annually purchasing materials for their classrooms. Without these resources, teachers are unable to do the job they are being asked to perform so it should be no surprise that 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years. As the Mayor of the City of Miami, I believe the time has come for all citizens to begin taking a vested interest in the future of the children of our City.

I have partnered with Adopt-A-Classroom and Miami-Dade County Public Schools to work toward its mission of matching every teacher in Miami with a community partner. Through Adopt-A-Classroom, anyone can partner with and make a donation of any size to any classroom in Miami. 100% of the donation goes directly to the teacher so the teacher can purchase the resources necessary to meet student needs. Donors receive personal feedback from the teacher and students. In addition, Adopt-A-Classroom sends donors Impact Reports that details exactly what teacher purchased with the donation, providing full accountability and transparency in the process.

The teacher would have the resources necessary to maximize student achievement, and the students would have the knowledge that others in the community care about their success and are rooting for them. We want to expand this initiative for the 2008-2009 school year to adopt all classrooms within the City of Miami. We are calling on you to become a part of this plan. A contribution of as little as $500.00 could make an enormous difference. Please consider this as an opportunity to contribute to the City’s future. You can make a donation directly to a school and teacher of your choice by going to Adopt-A-Classroom’s website – or for information, please contact Vivianne Bohorques, from my office, at 305-250-5317.

- Manny

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Miami Art Week and Re-Designing Simpson Park

Miami is alive with art during Miami Art Week, coinciding with the world-renowned art fair, Art Basel. Headed by Design Miami/, an official Art Basel activity, hundreds or art-related events will be happening throughout the city, including gallery openings, art festivals, and a plethora of exhibitions.
One of these wonderful events was today’s celebration of the first phase of ‘re:design Simpson Park’, a public-private partnership to revitalize this historic park and return it to the community. I would personally like to thank Audi of America, landscape designer Enzo Enea and Miami-based green architect Chad Oppenheim for their donation and their hard work to make this project happen during the week of Design Miami/.
The first phase of the re-design of Simpson Park is a step towards the realization for my vision of what Miami’s green spaces will be, and I remain committed to achieving this vision, with a park within half a mile of every resident, and no net loss of park land. Already the city has doubled its park funding and is starting to acquire more park land.
Don’t miss any of the other great art-related events in our city. Some of the highlights of Miami Art Week include: Design Miami/, the official Art Basel event in the City of Miami, in our own Design district, Design Miami/ brings together a mixture of upcoming designers, influential dealers, collectors and curators that celebrate the past, present and future of design. Several other galleries will also showcase work. Midtown Miami: This trendy Miami center has an unprecedented number of satellite art fairs during the week of Art Basel, including Art Miami, the GREEN Art Fair, and Scope Miami. Wynwood: The MOCA, the Margulies Collection, Pulse Miami and dozens of other galleries and events will be going on in this artistic neighborhood throughout the whole week. MiMo District: Several galleries in this historic neighborhood will be open, as well as in Little Havana, Coconut Grove, Overtown and Downtown.
Download a map of these activities HERE.

- Manny

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our World AIDS Day Commemoration

Yesterday we commemorated the 20th World AIDS Day at the city of Miami with a candlelight memorial and tree lighting ceremony. I would like to thank everyone who participated, and who made this event possible, including our sponsor, Walgreens Corporation, the Miami-Dade County Health Department, the South Florida Aids Network, Jackson Health System, my staff and a special thanks to my good friend Mayor Kevin Burns of North Miami, for donating the Christmas tree.
This year’s international theme is a call for leadership - “Stop AIDS. Keep the promise.”
Whether you are here honoring the memory of a loved one, raising awareness about this disease, or simply because you care about others, it is important that we all lead in stopping this disease.
HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. It does care about age, race, or gender. It destroys lives, families and communities, and it will continue to do so unless we lead the way to stop the spread of AIDS.
Our Christmas tree has 175 cards in memory of loved ones who have left us and gone to rest after their battle with HIV/AIDS. These are the names of people, just like you and me, who brought us joy and laughter, who brought us smiles and tears, people who faced great odds with great courage.
Let us not forget them – let us keep the promise so that each year the roll call will become smaller and smaller.
You can help by donating canned food to the Girl Scout Tropical South Florida Troop 95. You can drop off your canned goods at the MRC building, on 444 SW 2 Avenue until December 5. The Girl Scout troops will donate the food to the Food for Life Network.

- Manny