Miami closes the year among the most expensive cities in the US

As for crime, the figures show a worrying increase in car theft. However, some measures were also implemented to address community problems and studies were disseminated that continue to point to the Capital of the Sun as a city in progress, although with a high cost of living that shows no signs of slowing down.

Facts of 2023

One of the most famous cases was carried out by the former local commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portillawho was removed from office due to a series of investigations being carried out against him.

Díaz de la Portilla was arrested for alleged money laundering, bribery and criminal conspiracyin a delicate legal process that also involves his lawyer William W. Riley Jr.

Days after his arrest and release on bail, Governor Ron DeSantis suspended him from officewhile the Municipal Commission chose to keep its seat empty until the November elections were held.

The former state senator, who had already registered as a candidate for re-election, decided to remain in the race, did not reach the required vote in the first round and was finally defeated by his rival in district 1, businessman Miguel Ángel Gabela.

Gabela’s Way of the Cross

It was not easy for Gabela, an auto parts businessman, to get to the Miami Commission. First, he had to overcome the inconvenience of his house being left out of the city’s renewed electoral map and then wait for the results of some court lawsuits.

In fact, Gabela had to fight until the last moment to keep his name on the ballotafter suing the City, until finally a judge ruled that the businessman was qualified to run for District 1.

“They didn’t count on the fact that I had another house in the same district and that allowed me to continue in the race,” he said at the time. This was the fourth time that Gabela tried to win a seat in the municipal legislative body.

Gabela, along with Damián Pardo from District 2, became the new members of the Miami Commission.

Carollo on the bench

Another scandal arose around Commissioner Joe Carollo, who was sentenced to pay $63.5 million to two businessmen who sued him for a case in which they accused him of abuse of power and political retaliation.

The civil lawsuit against Carollo was filed by businessmen Bill Fuller and Martín Pinillawho alleged that the local lawmaker allegedly violated their First Amendment rights and used his position to harass them and damage their reputation.

Carollo’s lawyers expressed their “disappointment” with the outcome of the trial and they mentioned that the commissioner “will attempt to exercise all legal rights available to him, including appellate review.”

Later, the information that the City of Miami had paid around $8 million to finance the commissioner’s judicial defense also generated controversy.

Investigation against the mayor

The mayor of Miami, Francis Suárez, was also in the eye of the hurricane. The Florida Ethics Commission announced an investigation to determine whether the councilor illegally accepted expensive tickets for the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the 2022 Miami World Cup.

The investigation arose from a complaint filed by activist and Democratic National Committee member Thomas Kennedy.. According to the lawsuit, the mayor would not have submitted a statement regarding his December 2022 trip to the Qatar World Cup.

Cost of living

A study by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the cost of living in Miami is 21% more expensive than the national average, where a person needs at least $4,500 a month to live.

In addition, Miami ranked as the ninth metropolis with the highest household bills in Florida in 2023according to research on the financial health of US cities, conducted by Doxo, a major payment services company.

Crime rate

If there was anything that especially worried the Miami Police this year, it was the increase in car thefts, after the figures for that crime had reached a historic low during the COVID pandemic.

On the other hand, the municipal police agency reported a 40% reduction in murders and non-fatal shootings compared to last year.

Mayor Francis Suárez mentioned at a Commission meeting in December that the crime rate in Miami was trending downward.

Smoking ban

Among the measures enacted this year, the approval of a Commission ordinance stands out, presented by legislator Manolo Reyes, which prohibits the consumption of tobacco, cannabis and the use of electronic cigarettes in parks and beaches of this municipality.

This measure led to the installation of notices in public buildings, parks and beaches to inform the population and visitors about the ban.

Assistance Program

The City of Miami announced the implementation of a rental assistance program, supported by federal funds, for which applications can be submitted until January 2, 2024.

This initiative, active since December 1, was dictated by the City Commission with the purpose of support elderly tenants (62 years and older) with low income, residents of the city of Miami who face economic difficulties and are vulnerable to annual rent increases.

Eligible households can receive up to a maximum of $500 per month for one year to cover rental expenses.

fun city

On the other hand, trying food in new restaurants, visiting interesting destinations, going to bars or clubs, playing sports, going to the movies and playing video games are ways in which some people find fun.

Personal finance website WalletHub published a report on the most fun cities in the country in 2023, in which Miami ranked third.

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