Home Nightlife Baloney Meter: Reality-Checking Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s Presidential Bid Video

Baloney Meter: Reality-Checking Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s Presidential Bid Video

Baloney Meter: Reality-Checking Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s Presidential Bid Video


Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has formally tossed his hair gel-crusted hat into the ring for the 2024 presidential race.

After a number of years of not-so-subtly eyeing a bid for the White Home, Suarez introduced his marketing campaign for presidential workplace, releasing a video on Thursday, June 15, helpfully entitled, “I am Operating,” during which he’s proven — look forward to it — jogging throughout his notoriously pedestrian-unfriendly metropolis in a crimson T-shirt and stopping mid-run (as one does) to affix a gaggle of children for soccer and chat with a pedestrian who seems to have misplaced their method.

However whereas Suarez takes credit score for quite a few accomplishments all through the clip, together with fixing the town’s monetary woes and fixing the town’s homeless disaster, his pat-yourself-on-the-back claims are a tad thornier than he makes them out to be.

However Suarez’s makes an attempt to have Miami undertake a “robust mayor” type of authorities, the town nonetheless delegates comparatively little energy to hizzoner. Whereas Suarez has the authority to rent and hearth the town supervisor (who really runs issues) and may veto metropolis fee measures, he has no basic voting energy on legislative objects offered to the fee and wields restricted sway over the town’s price range. (Suarez did function a Miami commissioner for eight years earlier than his mayoral tenure.)

For the edification of our readers and ourselves, New Occasions got down to separate pretension from precise manufacturing in Suarez’s presidential bid vid. In taking a better look, we discovered that whereas Suarez might have set just a few initiatives on commendable paths, lots of his claims boiled right down to chest-puffing, a few of which short-circuited our finely tuned baloney meter.

Declare: “I began a program that helped each little one open up their very own checking account.”

Baloney meter studying: Partly true
As mayor, Suarez sponsored a measure that donated metropolis funds to Future Certain Miami, a Youngsters’s Saving Account (CSA) program for kindergarteners enrolled in Miami-Dade County public colleges. Whereas he pushed for this system, he didn’t begin it.

An assortment of nonprofits and public entities, together with the Metropolis of Miami Seaside, collaborated to launch this system so college students can put aside funds for post-secondary training. Catalyst Miami, in partnership with the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Heart, started exploring the concept of making this system in 2017, based on the Future Certain Miami web site.

Declare: “After I was elected, the town was broke and damaged however we got here collectively and I gained my mayoral election with over 80 p.c of the vote.”

Baloney meter: True
In 2017, Suarez gained his mayoral seat with greater than 85 p.c of the vote. He was re-elected in 2021 with greater than 78 p.c of the vote.

So far as “broke and damaged,” the town’s deficit has elevated from $505 million to $894 million below Suarez’s reign, based on Miami’s personal monetary data. (In fact, he would not have a lot management over price range issues.)

Notably, whereas Suarez asserted that the town was “damaged” when he took the reins, he did not declare to have really mounted something, so no baloney there.

Declare: “I lowered taxes to a historic low.”

Baloney meter: Probably deceptive
It’s not clear what taxes the mayor is speaking about, however in July 2022, the Miami metropolis fee voted to cut back the municipality’s property-tax charge to the bottom for the reason that Nineteen Sixties.

Suarez didn’t have voting energy, so it might be a stretch to say he is the one who lowered taxes.

Nonetheless, he held a press convention following the assembly to tout the traditionally low charge.

Declare: “Our tax collections skyrocketed.”

Baloney meter: True
When Suarez was first elected in 2017, metropolis collections of delinquent taxes stood at $12.46 million yr over yr. As of 2022, the annual quantity collected clocked in at $17 million –– a 36 p.c improve in comparison with fiscal yr 2017.

Declare: “Right now, our metropolis is a significant expertise hub.”

Baloney meter: It is difficult
A handful of notable tech corporations, Silicon Valley enterprise capitalist outfits, and monetary corporations have relocated to Miami for the reason that pandemic set in, together with Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and Kenneth Griffin’s hedge fund Citadel and market-making big Citadel Securities.

Together with Austin, Texas, Miami has turn into a refuge of types for libertarian-leaning company honchos like Thiel who relocated after changing into disillusioned with what they noticed as excessive tax charges and overzealous COVID-related restrictions in areas like New York Metropolis and Silicon Valley.

On the flip aspect, Miami’s cryptocurrency craze, pumped to no finish by Suarez, fizzled out in dramatic style. The native crypto scene has tumbled from its bullish peak of November 2021, leading to abandoned firm places of work and bankrupt corporations. And the MiamiCoin token Suarez so passionately touted is now mainly nugatory. A latest Wall Avenue Journal article detailed how a determined Suarez even tasked his employees with cold-calling enterprise capitalists to lure them to city.

There was no better image of the hype than FTX, which was planning to maneuver its headquarters to Miami earlier than the multibillion-dollar outfit collapsed and its chief, Sam Bankman-Fried, was arrested on securities fraud costs.

Declare: “The bottom unemployment in America.”

Baloney meter: True. However Miami remains to be unaffordable.
Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics April 2023 report, the Miami-Miami Seaside–Kendall space had the bottom unemployment nationwide amongst massive metro divisions in February, at 1.7 p.c.

Nonetheless, individuals having jobs doesn’t essentially equate to high quality of life when your paycheck doesn’t cowl lease and also you’re sinking into debt. A RealtyHop report launched in August 2022 instructed that Miami was affected by probably the most extreme housing affordability disaster of any space within the nation once you think about dwelling costs relative to median revenue.

Declare: “Now as an alternative of 6,000 homeless, we have now 608 and I’m not completed but.”

Baloney meter: Probably false below Suarez’s mayoral watch
It seems Suarez is referring to some older figures concerning homelessness, presumably courting again greater than a decade, when studies indicated the Metropolis of Miami’s homeless inhabitants lingered round 6,000.

By 2005, the county census indicated the variety of unsheltered homeless had fallen to roughly 750 within the Metropolis of Miami. Based on Miami-Dade County’s Homeless Belief’s August 2022 census, there have been 640 unsheltered homeless individuals residing inside the metropolis limits.

Suarez’s assertion is deceptive, in that he is taking credit score for a drastic discount in homeless inhabitants that occurred lengthy earlier than he took the (largely ceremonial) helm.



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