Mayor Levine on Miami Beach as Tech Hub: "It's the Dumbest Idea in the World"

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As far as newly elected Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is concerned, the city will continue to be known more for its silicone implants than silicon start-ups. While attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Levine straight-up told the Washington Post that the idea of turning Miami Beach into some sort of tech hub was, and we quote, "the dumbest idea in the world."

"People cling on to things that are not the highest and best use for their city," he continued. "Miami Beach is never going to be a high tech hub. As much as it sounds great, it's sexy, that's not who we are."

Of course, we're just wondering who thought turning Miami Beach into a tech hub in the first place was a good idea, or why it was even on his mind.

Miami Beach is a residential and tourism-centric town. There are not exactly tons of office space. Big business happens mainly in downtown Miami. The wider South Florida area does have of a tech scene based across the bay, in areas like Wynwood and less-noted business districts.

Levine, however, does see some business-based future for his town.

"It's important for cities to play to their strengths. Don't try to be something you're not," he said. "Miami Beach, our strengths are tourism and travel. We also think there's great opportunity for us to attract hedge funds and private equity groups, because what do they need? They're looking for, number one, quality of life. We have it. Number two, they want beautiful places to live, Miami Beach, we have it. Number three, they want tax savings. You move from New York to Florida, you're going to save probably almost 10 percent on your income. So we're a little bit like the Monaco of America, and that's who we are."

It's not surprising that multi-millionaire Philip Levine would be more concerned with making Miami Beach an even more attractive place for other multi-millionaires. (Coincidentally, he was in New York earlier in the week meeting with former billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's team).

But, yes, we agree the city of Miami Beach itself is probably not the place for tech innovation.

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30 comments
ob1sfla
ob1sfla

next, Miami Beach could change name to; Tel Aviv

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................as for the real income part i would rather be in NY earning $200,000 and paying taxes than being paid $30,000 here in FLORIDA for the same position

only scammers and drug-dealers earnings are the equivilent - every other career pays a fraction down here compared to the entire northeast from truck driver to attorney

except for a dozen people or so, historically MANY of the wealthy here made it somewhere else = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...............yeah we pretty much have it down pat on how to screw TOURISTs so why mess that up with legitimate operations that require knowledge and education infastructure

additionally the real-estate developers pay politicians and municipal employees the best kick-back payments because they simply avoid municipal impact fees and any local taxes while a legitimate industry wouldn't pay bribes

MIAMI BEACH was known as heaven's waiting room not too long ago and being brain-dead is still very popular there

MIAMI BEACH has the right guy as MAYOR

Phillip Morris
Phillip Morris

Yeah, because that would require actually INVESTING in the industry...instead of just using the existence of the beach to do all the work for you. Things like this makes me sad that Miami is solely associated with "South Beach" when its two different municipalities.

pod_nt
pod_nt topcommenter

In this day and age you don't need a "hub" considering the scads of development and online collaboration tools that exist. A friend of mine is the lead on a multi-million dollar data harvesting and archiving project, and he works out of his apartment on the beach. His co-workers do not reside anywhere in South Florida. They are in places as diverse as the Northeast, India, Russia, and Argentina. He's never met his employees in person. But yet the project gets done. The investor doesn't care whether they have an office or it's all being worked on out of the back of a car, as long as the project is completed. 

editordelamanera
editordelamanera

Dumbest Mayor …. this is the guy that became mayor by taking thousands of old people partying in convention center and bussing them to calle ocho for shopping excursions… the guy that rents his offices to TECH companies… the guy that owns Onboard Media company that claims is a Tech company… they guy whose partner is Scott Robins… Dumb… but really really dumb…. 

miamibeachtech
miamibeachtech

What an amazingly Mayor Levine thing to say - what does it say that Miami Beach gives the key to the city to Adam Lambert amidst the stench of coke/hookers/ and $1500 bottles of Vodka (Miami Beach's main products) meanwhile Miami Proper is seeing skyrocketing property values and job creation in areas like downtown and Wynwood where people in art / tech / creatives are actually increasing the revenues of the city by making excellent businesses attracting millions in outside investment. Well, Miami Beach .... you can keep your backwards ideas - may we visit to vomit or perhaps vote on a new mayor? 

Jhon A Cornejo
Jhon A Cornejo

NO WAY! That is dumb statement...sad to say I live in Miami Beach. :(

vicequeenmaria
vicequeenmaria

I can't believe this mayor didn't mention the New World Center. Hello? It's only just one of the most innovative, technologically advanced buildings in the world using Internet2 technology for music education.  Good grief!



Alex Anico
Alex Anico

^you say that like UM doesnt have one of the best medical and law programs in the country....

EzƦă VɅǹ
EzƦă VɅǹ

To have a tech hub you need universities that teach more than football.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

Tourism and quality of life are mutually exclusive.  I am Miami born and raised and the idea of living on that concrete island, teaming with pasty skinned tourist hold no appeal for me.  

I can also spare the horrible parking and overrated/Overpriced restaurants.

Give me the suburbs of South Dade any day.  Less traffic.  My own private pool, lush vegetation and when I want "culture" I have it in short 20 minute drive.  Also I have two National parks in practically my backyard and I can be in the Keys in less than an hour.


So Mr. Mayor enjoy your highly cyclical and fragile tourism industry and the low paying jobs it brings.

JUCA
JUCA

Dumb & ignorant 

Live Bee Removal
Live Bee Removal

it it was my ass would of had a job over in miami .. i had to leave to tampa =) .. just because miami has datacenters like the nap .. does not make it the tech hub ..

rey0
rey0

I think his comment was pretty dumb 

Ken Argüelles
Ken Argüelles

What a moron, it's idiots like this that keep Miami dependent on the tourist and construction industry. Both are susceptible to recession and offer notoriously low wages unlike tech.

cpchester
cpchester topcommenter

So tech-starts up aren't looking for "quality of life", "beautiful places to live" and "low taxes" either? Funny how Phil says Miami Beach should not try and "be something we're not" then go on to say he wants to attract hedge funds. Hey newsflash: Miami Beach is not some bustling financial hub either. So much for that mantra. In fact, the whole city is full of people trying to be something they're not. 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................sounds more like your "friend" is a drug dealer using the cover of a "legitimate" business so you don't know the real source of his income - L O L

dude nothing down here is what it looks like - period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................the mistake you make is thinking any politician down here is legitimate

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............you make the mistake of going to places that are for screwing TOURISTs and of course are OVERpriced scams

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.....................exactly DUMB is GOOD......the MAYOR is only showing the world how DUMB he himself is as to mind-meld with his DUMBer constituency (for voting him in)

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............yeah BUT tourists pay municipal treasuries sales and use TAXES yet they do NOT vote here so MAIMI BEACH takes the money from those who have NO CONTROL over it - which is why an elected official a month gets criminally charged in a financial scam d'jour robbing and accepting bribes and kick-backs

the construction industry gets municipal fees and charges and impact fees and taxes ABATED in exchange for paying bribes and kick-backs and is another BIG SCAM operation

TECH is legitimate so MIAMI BEACH is a DUMB place to be for any legitimate operations - the marielitos all have briefcases and attorneys now BUT its still a wholesale criminal enterprise screwing TOURISTs and TAXPAYERs alike

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............exactly

IF there was NO beach MIAMI BEACH would just be another little dinky spot on the map

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