Miami Beach group opposing 2 a.m. alcohol rollback debuts ad highlighting leaked Mayor call

Gelber Protesters 00
'Tell the Mayor that Miami Beach is our city.'

A political committee opposing a proposed 2 a.m. last call for alcohol in Miami Beach’s South Beach Entertainment District has released a new ad ahead of Election Day.

Citizens for a Safe Miami Beach, which has raised and spent more than $600,000 since its inception in September, debuted the ad, titled “Whatever they Want.” The video links audio leaked from a Sept. 13 Zoom talk Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and former Mayor Philip Levine had with developers about revamping the district to shortening alcohol sales there by three hours nightly.

The video suggests the real motive behind the proposed change, which voters will weigh in on Tuesday by way of a non-binding referendum, isn’t to curb crime on South Beach, where more than 1,000 people were arrested during this year’s spring break. The true purpose, it says, is to drive local businesses along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue out of Miami Beach so that wealthy investors can purchase the bankrupted businesses and redevelop the area into unpopular high-rises.

Gelber, who is up for reelection, has denied that charge, pointing to a 12-point plan he published in March, which proposes the 2 a.m. rollback and an update to the city’s land regulation to support more residential, office, wellness and technology uses. He has called the suggestion he’s angling to put Ocean Drive nightclubs out of business so he can open the door to wealthy developers and line his and Levine’s pockets “moronic.”

Here’s the video. You can read the full transcript below it.

Voiceover: Miami Beach is supposed to be our city. Our votes, our voices. That’s not what Phil Levine and Dan Gelber think.

Levine Audio: “We need to utilize whatever influence we have, and the idea would be that we would put together a PAC (political action committee) — this organization, this group, that would raise money. And we would utilize that money to help elect folks.

Gelber Audio: “And come up with the ideas, and we will promote them. And I commit to you this, if you want something on the ballot, I’ll put it on the ballot. I’ll support it and I’m prepared to do whatever we need to do and support any idea even if it’s not particularly popular.”

“Come up with the ideas and we will promote them. We will promote them, and we will implement them, and we will set you loose.”

“Come up with the ideas and we will promote them.”

Text on screen: “Tell the Mayor that Miami Beach is our city. Don’t give it away to megadevelopers and billionaire donors. Vote no on the 2 a.m. ban. Punch #283.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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