Reporting David Sutta
MIAMI (CBS4) – On Tuesday, Miami-Dade county voters will have the opportunity to elect their next mayor.
One of the people vying for the job is Commission Chairman Joe Martinez. Martinez is something of a rarity in Miami-Dade County. He was born and raised here just blocks from what was the Orange Bowl.
“I used to look forward to the Hurricanes and the Dolphins because we made money parking cars and was a good lifestyle to grow up in,” Martinez recalled in a recent interview.
He went the ranks as Miami-Dade cop through the cocaine cowboy era. After 17 years, as a lieutenant he finally decided to embark on his political ambitions. In 2000 he ran as a no-name candidate for county commission.
“I had no shot. I was just known as that lieutenant from way out there. But I knew people. And I liked people. And I had gained people’s trust. I like to think if you ask the people of district of 11 that they feel well represented.”
Over his 12 year political career he estimates he sponsored 1400 pieces of legislation.
Martinez says he is pro-business, priding himself on cutting through red tape. If elected he plans, as he puts it, to exploit the people, our location, and our business community.
He explained, “Miami can really be so much more. It just really hasn’t had the vision might I say to take it to the next level.”
Martinez vision is grand. He’s pitching private public partnerships. Recently he presented to commission turning roughly 500 acres in Homestead into a movie studio lot. He’s enlisted developer Donald Trump to build it.
“It would be the largest movie studio complex in the world. The back lots of Universal are a football field. This is a 100 football fields.”
Martinez says he’s a firm believer that government can help create jobs.
“When they say government doesn’t create jobs, no that’s not true. You go out and no you can’t (get county to) but you can get the private sector to. He will build; he will pay taxes on it. He will create jobs.”
The figures for the movie studio lot show 10,000 jobs and roughly $260,000 a day for the local economy.
Still in tough economy Martinez admits there may still be more cuts to be made within government. He says he would likely cut at the top instead of the bottom. The county’s current five deputy mayors may be out. Department directors would be held more accountable. As your mayor he says he would be about vision.
“It’s to put Miami at a different level. It’s not sitting behind the desk making sure that every memorandum has your name on it. It’s a different style in leadership,” Martinez said.
Martinez admits that he has been significantly outspent in his campaign. He says his team is made of mostly volunteers. Still he hopes he can win your vote. If he doesn’t he has no plan B.
Click here for more about Campaign 2012 and Election Day in South Florida.