By Mark Sell | Biscayne Times

Say you’re running for office — or better yet, voting. What are the smartest things to remember to help make your town, city, or county more prosperous and just? The BT posed that question last month to Richard Florida, one of North America’s best-known urban authorities, at an FIU luncheon hosted by North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph. “Remember that you’re part of a metropolitan area,” he says, “and that you don’t have to do all things and serve all masters.” Sounds simple, but it’s not so easy in North Miami’s wide-open municipal election, coming up May 14. And one other thing to remember: citizenship is powerful.

Take the 15-year tangle to free up $5 million earmarked for the city to develop the $10.5 million Cagni Park on 135th Street and NE 9th Avenue, complete with an Olympic swimming pool. Who broke the jam? One could argue it was nine homeowner associations that repeatedly met at the office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, just a block from North Miami City Hall, when elected and appointed city folks wouldn’t make the walk to meet him.

One can go on. Water and sewer, anyone?

The point: Neighborhood and homeowner groups, towns, cities, counties, the state, and federal government are interdependent parts of a shared system. If your town or city drops the ball, it’s your right and duty to step in and make sure the ball stays in play.

Richard Florida is co-founder and editor at The Atlantic’s CityLab, a website dedicated to journalism about the future of cities. He also teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and its Rotman School of Management; a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate; and the author of The Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis. He splits his time between Toronto and Miami, where he has been an FIU Visiting Fellow since 2014.

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