The Honorable David Dermer, Esq.

Mayor, The City of Miami Beach

2002–2008


On September 9, 2005, Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer was returned to office for a third and final term with no opposition declared at the close of candidate filing. In his previous re-election campaign in 2003, the Mayor received the greatest winning percentage in the history of the City of Miami Beach, garnering a full 86 percent of the vote. Dermer was also the second youngest mayor in city history when first elected to the post in 2001 at age 38. Only his father, former Miami Beach Mayor Jay Dermer was younger, when he was elected mayor in 1967. Prior to becoming Mayor, David Dermer also served a successful 4-year term as a Miami Beach City Commissioner.


A dedicated community activist and attorney, Dermer first emerged onto the Miami Beach political scene as the leader of the successful “Save Miami Beach” (SMB) ballot initiative, a movement aimed at curbing overdevelopment along the City’s waterfront. Dermer’s grassroots organization gathered more than 6000 voter signatures, placing the charter amendment on the ballot. The SMB campaign won over voters and the initiative passed overwhelmingly, despite the fact that SMB’s opposition spent $2 million to Dermer’s $25,000. Shortly thereafter, Dermer was elected Commissioner and quickly spearheaded legislation that resulted in citywide down-zoning.


Following his election to Mayor in 2001, Dermer set his goal toward greater accountability and transparency inside City Hall. The new Mayor successfully fought for legislation to tighten public oversight of tax monies, curb the influence of lobbyists, control overdevelopment, lift the bar on ethics and establish campaign finance reform.


Mayor Dermer has also created the “Mayor on the Move” program, bringing City Hall to Miami Beach’s numerous neighborhoods for community outreach meetings. Mayor Dermer has also worked diligently to ensure that the city remains on solid financial footing. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 economic downturn, the Mayor established the Blue Ribbon Panel on Tourism which effectively pushed the vital Miami Beach hospitality industry toward recovery. As a result of the Mayor’s yearlong work with the Panel, resort and tourist revenues in Miami Beach far exceeded all expectations.


As chairman of the General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee, the Mayor also partnered with business and community leaders to maintain the fiscal integrity of more than $600 million in public works projects throughout the City. Along with the construction of new firehouses and recreational facilities, Mayor Dermer placed at the top of his agenda the completion of the new beachwalks and baywalks to allow public access around the City’s shoreline. Mayor Dermer has also focused on protecting human rights. He was a vocal opponent of the movement to repeal the protection of gay rights from Miami-Dade County’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and he organized public officials to fight all forms of discrimination. He has brought a collective voice to cities across Miami-Dade County by establishing the Municipal Mayors Association. Additionally, Dermer is known for advocating cleaner, safer streets and steadfastly supporting the City’s Police, Fire and Sanitation departments.


In the spring of 2005, Mayor Dermer proposed an ordinance aimed at protecting the City’s youngest residents from convicted sex offenders who commit their heinous crimes against children. The ordinance passed unanimously and garnered national media attention. Subsequently, the ordinance was requested by nearly 50 Florida municipalities and an additional 20 cities across the US, and has since been enacted by many of them. Mayor Dermer’s sex offender ordinance continues to be a model piece of legislation for cities nationwide.


In his 2006 State of the City Address, Mayor Dermer proposed the creation of a Cultural Arts Neighborhood District Overlay (CANDO) to protect and enhance the City’s many cultural facilities. CANDO will run from Lincoln Road to Collins Park and from 23rd Street to the ocean. Within CANDO, there will be initiatives and incentives to attract art related businesses and to explore methods to provide more affordable housing. Also at the 2006 State of the City Address, Mayor Dermer proposed a legislative measure to provide the development of new affordable housing for the City’s residents and workforce. The Mayor’s proposal would preserve rental units by addressing the issue of expiring affordability periods for properties that were developed through the City’s affordable housing programs.


Beyond his duties on the dais, the Mayor lends himself to philanthropic causes and has organized numerous annual community and charity events. Among them are a free kids’ beach party and sandcastle competition in the summer, a charity boxing tournament featuring Miami Beach public safety workers in the fall, and the Mayor’s Ball in the winter.


Mayor Dermer has also promoted the City of Miami Beach and its many offerings during various national and international television appearances. Most recently, he welcomed the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards to the Miami area during a joint press conference held on the sands of Miami Beach with Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.


Mayor David Dermer graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School in 1980. He received his Bachelors Degree in Justice from American University in Washington D.C. and subsequently earned his Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law. He served as a State Prosecutor for the 17th Judicial Circuit after graduation and in 1990 he opened his own firm, David Dermer Law Offices. The Mayor also works as an adjunct professor at Florida International University’s School of Health and Urban Affairs; as well as Miami-Dade College’s School of Criminal Justice.

 
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