Anti-Social

Key Biscayne Mayoral Primary: Katie Petros

June 17, 2022 Tony Winton & Thom Mozloom Season 5 Episode 9
Anti-Social
Key Biscayne Mayoral Primary: Katie Petros
Show Notes Transcript

WHO WILL BE MAYOR of KEY BISCAYNE? -- There is a three-way primary for mayor on August 23, with mail ballots going out in a few weeks.

Our guest is KATIE PETROS, a former council member who is competing with Fausto Gomez and  Joe Rasco for the seat being vacated by Mayor Mike Davey.

We ask her about top issues like resiliency and whether the island's debt cap should be raised, policing, government transparency, education, and of course - how to address safety and traffic on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Get informed -- the last day to register is July 25th. Click here to register 

Support the show
Unknown:

Music

Tony Winton:

Live from Key Biscayne, this is Anti-Social, the radio show and podcast where we look at our social media feeds. And we separate the weeds from the grass. Joining me today and filling in for my regular co host Thom Mozloom s Theo Miller, our intern reporter at the Key Biscayne Independent and a recent graduate of MAST Academy. Welcome, Theo.

Theo Miller:

Thank you, Tony. Glad to be here.

Tony Winton:

How does it feel to be a an actual high school graduate?

Theo Miller:

You know what people can ask me this, it feels no different. Surely it feels no different. My brain is still telling me you know what, you're gonna wake up in August and you're gonna go right back to the same old routine of going to high school and you'll be in 13th grade and life will be just 13th grade. I don't know I when I when this happened to me, I peachy can only say I felt a great sense of liberation, but not for you. Well, too much workload? Is it the workload? To be fair, you are eating up most of my summer.

Tony Winton:

That's me and Tom, we both are yes, because we're hiring you. And so as Tom, so we're trying to pay you though, which they don't do to you in school.

Theo Miller:

Well, that'strue. That's very exciting.

Tony Winton:

Well, I am glad you're here, because some of the issues that we'll be talking about do involve things you've been covering as a reporter for the Key Biscayne independent. So we'll be getting into that later a little bit later in the show. But first, I want to introduce our guests. Our guest is Katie Petros, who is one of three candidates that I just learned a moment ago from the village clerk has officially qualified for the upcoming primary on August 23, for mayor of Key Biscayne. And that is going to be the first primary we believe in a long time, I think it's about 20 years or so we're researching the dates. But the first time there's actually been a primary election for mayor. And a lot has changed in Key Biscayne in that period of time. And we'll be asking that. But thank you, and welcome to Anti-Social.

Katie Petros:

Thank you, Tony, thank you so much for having me.

Tony Winton:

Well, we're, we're glad to have you here. And we'll have we're hoping to have all of the candidates for mayor coming on. And I should also tell you that we are working on a live audience candidate forum that's going to be held in July. We're waiting to make a formal announcement about that. But that'll be something you can come to crossbridge church, and we'll have an event where people can see and everyone with a full range of all the debates, and we're hoping to have that little bit later. We'll make that announcement. But thank you. Well, I guess the first question is, you served on the council, completed your term decided not to run for re election. And now you were thinking you told me earlier about running for mayor and then you decided not to run for mayor. But now you are running for mayor. So how did you get to decide to run for mayor of Key Biscayne?

Katie Petros:

I think like anything else in life, you have certain situations that change and when I stepped off of Council at the time, I thought it was important to take a step back. I very much enjoyed my four years on council. I worked collaboratively with the people up there. It split term. So I had two years with one group and two years with three additional new people. And I learned so much about the island, I would drive around here with different eyes basically. So I found it very invigorating. And I also thought it was important to step back and sort of assess where I was after four years on council. It was in the middle of the pandemic when we had an election two years ago. And at that time, I felt like we I had left a lot of things that we spent a lot of time planning for sort of left, they haven't been finished. And I like to

Tony Winton:

Unfinished business

Katie Petros:

unfinished business. I like to complete things. And so I would really like the opportunity to go back and start to put some of the plans in action.

Tony Winton:

Give me an example of unfinished business you think you'd like to work on

Katie Petros:

resiliency projects? I think it's very important that we start we've been planning we had a big push with the bond last

Theo Miller:

I'm sorry, I'm gonna interrupt. I'm sorry. Would you say $100? million?

Tony Winton:

Yes, yeah, that's, yeah. Well, that's that's a joke we do on the show sometimes. But yeah, but but I'm sorry, you wanted to work on resiliency projects.

Katie Petros:

Well, in speaking to the 100 million dollar bond, it actually isn't what the what we can even borrow at this point because we are limited by property values and being at a debt cap of 1%. So So, at this point in time, I actually spoke to our financial officer today we have a debt cap of about $81 million. But the fact is we haven't drawn down on any of that in the two years that have gone by. So it still takes a supermajority to vote on any particular project. And I think that they, they're, well, they're more developed than when I left. But we still haven't started to actually put into action, the things that will help dictate insurance rates dictate people being able to get in and out of their homes after rains and feeling confident and comfortable with the future ahead of us on our barrier island.

Tony Winton:

Yeah, so So but let me let me share one little bit about on that, because you mentioned the resiliency projects. 81 million is That's it, but there is also something on the ballot, to raise the debt cap to double it to 2%. And beyond that, there's another question that would basically make it any number if it got voter approval. So how do you feel about both of those, the village manager Steve Williamson's administration is saying that the overall spending could be as much as $250 million. And I realize there are different sources, but that the feeling was that $100 million, would not be sufficient for the Key Biscayne portion of what's expected what it's expected to cost. So I guess my question is, what is your what is your thinking on whether or not that debt cap should be should be eliminated?

Katie Petros:

I think it's fantastic that it's sitting on our ballot this November, because I think it's a question for every resident that lives out here. And it's really important that everybody get a voice. I have done some research on other communities, our debt cap is actually quite low. In fact, it's significantly lower than multiple communities, some don't have it, some have 15%, some have 25%. And those are within our county. So I think it's very reasonable for us to assume that we could put a higher debt cap. We're at 1%, and it would go to 2%. So the numbers are so much smaller than other communities relative. And I think every voter should think about it. And both of those issues are very important. And obviously, if you eliminate a debt cap, you still have to have a vote. It's not like everybody gets to go out and spend this money. We don't get to spend the money we have right now until you have a supermajority. But these projects are big, they're expensive, and we need flexibility to get things done for the safety and future of our island.

Tony Winton:

Right. The last election here in council was very divisive people saying blank checks, things like that. How do you overcome those arguments? If you're going to be advocating for vote, or you're going to recommend I hear you saying voters should think about it, but you know, you'll you'll be voting yes,

Katie Petros:

I will be voting yes. And I think everybody should think about it. But I respect I will respect what the island, the ultimate decision of the island is. And we will work within those parameters. And I think that's one of the important messages with government, as you need to have that open communication and collaboration with the people of the island. But you also need to be able to make decisions for the future. Because we get we spend time studying these issues. And we need to be able to educate people and not listen to the noise. Because fear drives a lot of decisions many times and I'd like to diminish that message on the island.

Tony Winton:

In terms of the tax burden though, are you are you concerned about how that would impact if it's approved and how that might be? You're looking at coming into the next. Right now. In fact, the village council, I think coming week is going to have its first budget hearing, we have a property appraisal report that's 8.8% of property value. So there's in additional income coming in, taxes will go up if the tax rate has stayed the same. But at the same time, you also have massive inflation going on in Dade County, a lot of things in the equation there.

Katie Petros:

And I think there's always things in the equation that 8.8% is a collective rise of money expected to come to the village. Keep in mind, anyone that's lived out here for any length of time their property increases capped at 3%. Do the Save Our homes. So that 8.8 is factoring in new residents and also new buildings. And I think that's what's driving it up. And then you have to analyze the fact that that also

Tony Winton:

Well, not just new residents, people who are not who are renting people who are you know, I mean, it only applies to a limited class of people, right, that those exemptions you're mentioning?

Katie Petros:

Yes, of course, but and rents will go up prospectively. I mean, everything gets impacted and we're we're currently living in a in a situation where we have high inflation rates, you're hearing about it all the time. The CPI that's going to be built into our budget for all the people that are employed by the village is 4% this year, and it was 4% last year, so that has to be factored in. So yes, they'll get more money but they're gonna they also have to meet the demands of higher prices of everything that they're trying to take care of for the village

Tony Winton:

right. In terms of the the other things that'll be on the ballot because we have a limited amount of time so I wanted to wanted to get into that. Of course we have zoning, zoning changes also voters being He asked whether or not they should allow the village council by a supermajority vote to make density changes. projects could include an adult living facility could be other all kinds of other things that are currently only possible if a vote is put out. And that came in, as I understand it came in from concerns about the development of the Sonesta property years ago. And the council, the charter Review Commission has now proposing that this authority be returned back to the council, in addition to the voters to make changes, if there's a supermajority sort of like borrowing money, there would be a super supermajority requirement. If there's a change, what's your what's your thinking on that?

Katie Petros:

I haven't studied that issue extensively. So I'm not going to give you like an exact answer. But I will say that I think a senior living facility if it was financially viable would be a wonderful thing out here are one of the strengths of this island are the services that we provide our seniors and to be able to add that and to give people the ability to have a full life out here, because when they leave when they can't take care of themselves, and they need to be in assisted living. The options are very, very limited, and most of them are far away from here.

Tony Winton:

Right. There's been a lot of discussion lately, and I'm gonna ask you Theo, to weigh in on this one, about education, both in at the high school and, and more recently, community concern over the K-8 school, there has been a change in leadership there the school board deciding that they're going to change the principal Miss Michelle Coto they have not announced who will be the successor. But there's also been sometimes talk about a charter school for Key Biscayne. And that is something that might fit in with that. Change in the zoning, what what's your view of where education stands on Key Biscayne? What are the concerns? And how active should village government be in that fear, in that sphere?

Katie Petros:

I think the village government should always try to take care of its citizens. And I did hear about the unrest in the elementary school. And there has been action that has been taken and people spoke up. And I think many of these concerns also rose out of conditions that none of us could control, which was the pandemic and a change in leadership during a time like that is difficult. So I personally wasn't part of the elementary school situation. And I didn't attend any of those meetings when I did see that it seemed like a lot of this had to do with an inability of parents to have access to the school or to help support services that they had previously become accustomed to. So I think that makes things difficult change is never easy. As far as a Charter School on the island, I was around when there was a big push to try to do that. And Key Biscayne has such constraints of land, I think it would be very difficult to find a full service place or a place to find to create a full service charter. And I think we should probably spend most of our efforts on making our elementary school, our home high school, which is Coral Gables, and mast Academy, which is the school that we also get a school of choice. I think we should continue to try to always strive to make those those relationships better with the our school board.

Theo Miller:

And of course MAST and Key Biscayne have a unique relationship, as obviously it's important facilitate that. What do you think is the right way to approach that given that there's been some strained relationships there before?

Katie Petros:

I think communication and understanding is always key. And I think that people on Key Biscayne should understand that we, we have limited capacity on MAST Academy, but we also provided a service to the school board to maintain an excellent school. Because prior to that there was no home school for mast. And this was during a time period when school board was going through tremendous cuts. And I think our community provided the the ability to keep an excellent school open with some funding at the time when it needed it. And the expansion while may not have been favorable for those that we're already there, and like the small school, it ultimately preserved the future of the school for many more kids. And I think that's a benefit.

Tony Winton:

Let's shift gears a little bit but same in the same area. This is about after school. Right. And it's connected to a problem that happened short time ago where there was a uptick in youth crime. Some of it was vandalism, some of it was more than that. And it's changed the the police department, there's increased staffing now increased visibility that the new Chief Chief Sousa has got out there with the officers. What's your take on the response? Do you think the villages were it, it's sufficient? Is there more work that needs to be done on safety and security? what's your what's your view on that? What are the big issues in that area?

Katie Petros:

I don't think I don't think that increased staffing was only because of issues with teenagers and vandalism. I think we've had an uptick in some car thefts that people were concerned about. There were some home invasions that caused some significant problems. And that is one of the fundamental services of government is to make sure your residents are secure and feel safe. So I do think increased police visibility is very important. I personally like having more officers around as opposed to the cars. But I think there's a balance, like I don't feel like we should have cars on every corner, because we are a Island community that is and we can't lose sight of the fact that we have maintained still a very high ranking as far as safety. So I think as far as teenage vandalism, some of this also begins with education at home. It's not the government's priority. We need to enforce our rules, and we need to be consistent about enforcement. Sometimes, there's been a lot of feeling that we haven't done that. So I'm in full support of enforcement of all our rules, whether it's the golf carts, or its curfews and things like that. And I think if we show that as a community, we will see that we can get all of that under control. That's always going to be a simmering issue, because that's just the nature of growing up to some extent.

Theo Miller:

And of course, speaking of our very good friend to you and me, Mr. Shi, Chief, Frank Sousa, the village Police Department recently, actually just Wednesday actually started a new initiative for teaching kids how to ride their scooters safely. And a key differentiator of this campaign from a lot of the other ones was the heavy emphasis that they're placing on the punishment on the hefty fines that are going to be issued for riding scooters unsafely illegally on sidewalks without helmets, multiple kids per scooter. That's kind of I think, or I shouldn't say I think, but it's it's a pretty big issue right now. And a lot of residents have safety concerns about that. Even at the village council meeting, they were talking about banning if this latest round of communication doesn't work, even banning scooters from the island, or at least from access from, from people under the age of I guess, about 16? Where do you stand on all that?

Katie Petros:

I think it's really important to try to put an enforcement in place to protect the safety of our citizens. When I was on council, we had an initiative with lime bikes, and we had bicycles for rent all around the island. At one point, they wanted to put electric scooters on our island. And we as a council said no for the very reason that we're experiencing right now, which is we didn't want to have it have an environment where it was unsafe for our for our residents. And they actually left the island like they took their bikes, because they said it wasn't financially feasible to keep those out here, even though we had gotten quite accustomed to using them. So I see the scooters the same way. And kiteboarding is another issue where we had a big uprising of the concern of the safety of people doing kiteboarding. And I was an advocate to try to control it and make see if we could get people to agree to work within boundaries, which is what we're trying to do with these scooters right now. And if we do effective enforcement, I think they can coexist, and people can be safe.

Tony Winton:

But here's the question, there's limits to what Key Biscayne can do. And you hear comments from pedestrians on sidewalks who worried about getting hit by one of these things and the repeated fear that there's going to be a tragedy that a scooter is going to collide with a vehicle. Would you be willing if it you don't see results from this program, the village Police Department is now implementing, would you be willing to vote for support a ban on scooters?

Katie Petros:

I think it's unfair to ask before we see the the effectiveness of the enforcement program that they're put in place, but if it fails, and I think there should be a designated timeline by where you determine that and you look for specific measures of success, and if that doesn't work, then yes, I think you should have to do that.

Tony Winton:

All right, so you wouldn't rule it out.

Katie Petros:

I would not rule it out.

Tony Winton:

Okay. We have a lot more than I want to thank you for again being our guest Katie Petros running for mayor of Key Biscayne we will be back in just a moment. And we are back on Anti Social live on WSQF-LP 94.5 FM blink radio Key Biscayne our radio host and you can listen listen to this if you're streaming now as well as on On the FM radio and we'll be on the antisocial podcast. And our guest is Katie Petros. So one of three people running for mayor of Key Biscayne. I'm very sad, though, that I did not bring extra Fresca because I learned something. This is a true news news, developing news. I have no more fresca left, but I would have given it to you if I'd known about your favorite drink

Katie Petros:

next time.

Tony Winton:

Next time. What is it about fresh because this is folks, we may ask, we may have to ask every single candidate now what is their favorite soft drink? But just their equal time purposes? But what is it about fresca that you like?

Katie Petros:

I like the fresh taste and the carbonation combination. There we go.

Theo Miller:

If I could circle back, I guess to the the scooter conversation we were just having sure the the two examples you mentioned with with lime and with the paddle boards, a lot of those were a key differentiator from the scooters is that those were owned, either by rental companies, or by ride sharing or something of the like, versus it seems like the majority of the of the scooters in the issues that we're having right now are privately owned. They're privately owned vehicles. And they're being run not by let's call them less than responsible adults, but rather kids and people, perhaps under the age of people who don't yet have driver's licenses. So with that being said, how do you think the approach should differ in tackling this specific kid focused nature of this compared to the line bikes or paddleboards or paragliders?

Katie Petros:

So I mentioned kiteboarding, actually, which most of those people are, own their own keyboard kite boards, excuse me. But getting back to your question, as far as people owning their scooters, I mean, obviously, that's what's happening all over the island, we made a decision not to bring in a commercial entity for scooters because of the concern. And I do think if we closely monitor this, the other possibility is if we find there's a specific group of people using spooked scooters that are not are making it unsafe, whether it's extremely young kids, then we might need to regulate it to a certain age or something like that. But I think this step is the right first step. And hopefully, with the combination of assistance with parents, and also using helmets and other things that will keep not only the people on the scooters safe, but the people on the sidewalk safe and make sure that we do everything we can to allow people to coexist.

Tony Winton:

Right. We have a few other things we were talking about earlier. The other questions that will be on the ballot, and I wanted to mention the open government issue. That is a referendum voters will be asked to whether or not the village council should be directed to enact its own open government open sunshine ordinance. It would become part of the village charter. That would be a requirement for open meetings. And I'm asking that there is a it's a serious topic. But I wanted to get your reaction to that because it connects in a way to an incident that happened a couple of years ago, here that in Key Biscayne involving an a person who was ejected from a sunshine meeting. So that's, that's it. But I wanted to first ask what your view of that amendment was?

Katie Petros:

Well, I think that it's very important to have consistency and to follow through with the Sunshine Law, and it's there for a reason. And we need to make sure that we always adhere to it. My understanding of that was also to allow, which may be a different question, but electronic submission of of sunshine meetings was is also on the ballot

Tony Winton:

right? Yes, it's a it's a it requires the council to have notices of sunshine meetings and also to develop a its own sunshine. Open government law in case the state law were to change, Key Biscayne would still have a law that would would control. And I guess it goes back to this to this event that happened where resident was kicked out. It was a sunshine meeting involving discussion of pension and the budget for an upcoming for collective bargaining situation. You were present, along with the former mayor Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay, as well as Luis de la Cruz, and I believe Brett Moss attended briefly for a period of time there. The meeting ended that the resident was as was rejected from the meeting and then subsequent to that there was a an ethics investigation. The former mayor was cleared in that investigation. But you know, it went to the village council there was attorneys fees involved to pay for the costs of the criminal investigation at the village count. I don't know if you were at that meeting or not. But what lessons would you say have been learned of all of that because it was a very, it was a disruptive. I think you'd have to agree a disruptive time in the villages history.

Katie Petros:

I would agree, I don't know if it reaches the level of village history disruption, it was certainly a disruption. I was very new on council. And when I was informed, when I went into the meeting, that there was a possibility, I was informed that the resident wouldn't be able to go to the meeting, and that there was a, that the the lawyer had been contacted. And it was my understanding, because we were dealing with something that we don't always do in the public eye. I did not have the knowledge at the time to know, the distinction. And I certainly do now. And it was a mistake that that I made that I take ownership of, and, and I feel bad about that. And I hope no, I certainly learned my lesson never to be in that situation again.

Tony Winton:

And I guess my question is transparency in general. Right, because this is your have the view that that a lot of I mean, the biggest thing is that the thinking was this should not have been the idea of having a sunshine meeting in the first place was so that it would be in public view? Absolutely. So it was kind of a non didn't make any sense to have a secret sunshine meeting?

Katie Petros:

No, it doesn't make any sense. And, and at the time, I wasn't sure. And I was unsure of what was going on and and have subsequently learned exactly what went on and would never find myself in that situation. Again.

Tony Winton:

In a related area, though, you also were on council and I have many of these meetings, they were meetings that went on for hours. And there was actually a civility resolution that got adopted at one point. If you're running for mayor, you will be the presiding officer it'll be your job to rule rural people in and out of order to end debate to conduct all kinds of the rules that are conducted under Robert's. How would be your approach in ensuring civility in the discourse that happens on the dais?,

Katie Petros:

first of all, I try to make sure that we all abide by the rules that were consistent with the time that residents get that we are open and communicative with each other and that we respect each other's opinions. I think that's one of the reasons I want to run for mayor is because I feel like I have the temperament to successfully bring us together and build consensus. And I think that's really important because it also sends a message to the community that we need to work together. We always are more successful if we're working together towards difficult solutions. We may not all agree on how to get to that solution. But once we take a collective vote, I think we need to appreciate it and move forward. Accepting the rule of the group.

Tony Winton:

Do you see any way out of some of the How shall we put this the divisions you're running for election? Presumably, it's going to mean we have three candidates running one of you is going to be knocked out and then two people run on. We've seen to some degree, some factionalism in the island. I think that's a fair, fair read of the of the environment. What more what what would you bring to the role you say you have the temperament but be a little more specific? What would you bring to the table to try and, and heal these divisions?

Katie Petros:

First, I think if we look at the issues, and we study the issues, and we come to decisions that we think are best for the community independent of pressures or each other, then I think we come up with the best ultimate outcome. And then secondly, I don't think we should I think we should always listen, I think listening is really important. And when we stop listening to people, or we stop listening to one side or the other, then we lose the ability to come to the best decision.

Tony Winton:

Can you give me an example of something that from your own time on council, , you say boy, you know, maybe we should have tried that a little bit differently. If I'd had to do that over again, maybe there'd be a better a better way forward. I'm not gonna have an example in mine. So So bring that

Katie Petros:

up. But I would say one of the things that I learned in this was before I was on council when I was advocating for the dog park in the village, and pretty much nobody wanted it next to them wherever it was, whether it was commercial or residential, it was extremely difficult to find space. And we were blessed with the council giving us a temporary dog park at 530, which is where I was advocating for the dog park to ultimately end end up the final version. And there were a lot of people that had competing interests. And actually Cliff Brody is the one that kept talking about the north end of the village green. And when you looked at it at the time, it was overgrown and people weren't using it. And I didn't think that was the best place for the dog park. But that's where it ended up because there was a compromise that occurred. And then we built the dog park. And I can tell you, it was the best use of that land that we could have had. And we can use the other air, obviously, it's going to become a very nice park for the public as well. So that's an example of listening to people and ultimately getting to a better decision than maybe you originally thought.

Tony Winton:

Alright, the example I was thinking about was the library, the library, which you were a project that you were very deeply involved in. And now it looks like it's going forward with designs, fundings there, the question would be, there was concern from the key county homeowners association that intervened in a case and it kind of, I would say, put a monkey wrench in everything for quite some time. You went to a sunshine meeting with Council member Segurola to to discuss it, I'm not sure that that was. I don't know whether that led led to any resolution or not, is that the kind of thing where you would say we engage the community before the decisions are made or before actions are taken? Knowing that there might be an issue? I guess that's what I'm asking. Because it the the way that it unfolded, is that it kind of dropped on a community without much knowledge?

Katie Petros:

Well, I think what I don't necessarily agree with your opinion of how it unfolded, I, the county independent of our village, was looking at the deed restriction and never wanted to do anything other than make a library there. But they wanted to make sure that if they invested their dollars to put a library there, and we're not even discussing all the conversations we had about moving libraries, other places, trying to pull out of the system, that's a whole different side of it. But specifically on that situation, it was through the county, not through any requests on our behalf. It our request was can we look at getting a new library. And this was independent of us where they're like, let's look at this language before we have those conversations. So I think it was actually misrepresented when it came forward to our community of look what they're trying to do to us. When nobody it was the step before the communication that was occurring.

Tony Winton:

I'm just relaying the reporting that we did that where, you know, leaders of that organization felt that they had been blindsided when they first were told that this, this had happened that the county was filing an action to have the deed restriction eliminated. That's that's that they had no knowledge of that happening until they were called by, by me by saying, Hey, did you know this lawsuit has been filed? So my question is, in the sense that, you know, looping people in or looping a community in ahead of time, do you is always

Katie Petros:

helpful, obviously, I mean, we've faced that with the Rickenbacker plan, all of a sudden, we were told there's a plan, a no bid contract on the county. And we as a community had to be reacting to that, as opposed to being able to be proactive and have a conversation of what our interests are, and how to incorporate that in a plan. Got it.

Tony Winton:

We will have just a little bit time left, I know you want to talk about something really big, you are covering them.

Theo Miller:

Yes, the Well, I suppose with you entering as mayor, you would have to begin or you would be I guess the first person in the door and tackling whatever the vision 2040 plan ends up being. And those are some pretty big changes, regardless of sort of what the final form ends up being. And certainly the drafts that we were presented with look very, very, very ambitious for an island with a limited amount of space and a limited amount of resources. If you had to, I guess, say prioritize what your actions would be if, as you were elected in the, you know, near to medium term. Do you think first of all the I guess the 2040 plan? Is it something worth pursuing in any sense or any stretch? And secondly, what is the correct order, I guess of operations with which to pursue it?

Katie Petros:

Well, first, I would say a vision plan is exactly that in 2040 is obviously 20 years from now and maybe beyond. So I don't think it was ever intended to be something that we are trying to enact right now. But it is a goal that our community should try and move towards and I liked the idea. Even though Dade County owns our road Crandon. I like the idea of trying to make that something more than a thoroughfare and that is a lot of what this vision tackles, but it also obviously includes commercial buildings that are owned by private people. And those are things that we would look to encourage, but we can't necessarily dictate.

Tony Winton:

All right, I'm going to last question because you did mention it and it is on you. It's still a developing item is There's nothing actually pending yet. But that would be the Rickenbacker. causeway. You've mentioned it a bit before. There have been one of your opponents has talked about the idea of Key Biscayne becoming an active participant and actually trying to build its own cause, cause we are finding allies to help compete with groups like the the Zyscovitch consortium, the Plan Z, folks, what is the what do you think is the right way forward? In terms of the protecting the islands interests for the Rickenbacker? Causeway, the bear cut bridge? What what what is your your viewpoint on all at?

Katie Petros:

First, it's a complicated issue. And there's more than one thing going on here. One is the viability of the entrance and making sure that the bridges are safe and structurally sound, which there's serious concern about that. And then there's the problem that we have of it being basically a linear park for all of Dade County and all of the cyclists and the issues that came up recently with the two deaths and the immediate reduction of the speed and the desire to try to coexist. So with all of that, on the table, the first thing is to try and establish a good working relationship with the county to express the interests of Key Biscayne in a before we get upset about what's being put in front of us, and so that we can be part of the plan, I think the there's a tremendous opportunity here for federal infrastructure dollars. I personally would like to see it remain as a public entity and not a private entity, because I think that it is it serves the public. And if there's a way to do that, that would be my my first choice.

Tony Winton:

Right, of course, the problem there is the amount of money it would take for a complete redesign of the entire Causeway, you know, or the Bear Cut Bridge, which is, you know, that's the current plan, Mayor Levine Cava deciding to go forward prioritizing that. But you know, this idea of a public private partnership, still very much active from what I'm told. But you're telling, you're saying you think it the entire thing should be publicly financed? Yeah. Ideally,

Katie Petros:

again, I mean, this is something that you have to look at everything on the table, and there may need to be compromises made on all sides, right. And if we're willing to have those discussions, nobody ideally wants to irritate somebody else. But we all have competing interests, we want to get to and from our homes and our jobs on a daily basis. The county wants a place to allow people to safely recreate and the city wants to monetize Virginia Key by and large, right.

Tony Winton:

But if the county or the city comes to you and say, Hey, Key Biscayne, you know, your total revenue, you're getting a huge subsidy on the tolls. And it's not anywhere near coming, paying any kind of percentage of what it costs to even maintain because we let alone finance, a new a new causeway that does all these things. If the other entities, county city, come to Key Biscayne and say you need to put skin in the game, is that something you're willing to entertain?

Katie Petros:

What do you me an by skin?

Tony Winton:

I mean, a financial contribution 50 100 million dollars, some kind of some kind of financial contribution from the village to have a seat at the table if that if that were to come to you. And that's been discussed before.

Katie Petros:

I think those kind of numbers are difficult for an island community of 13,000 residents and property values that are at 9 billion at this point to be able to support. So I think the conversation would have to shift we also have a state park, which is one of the highest visited state parks at the end of our island. I think we could get the state involved. I think again, the federal government has has a say here and potentially can help us so I think we need to be creative, and I wouldn't necessarily go down that road immediately.

Tony Winton:

Got it? Well, I appreciate this so much to talk about and we'll be talking again as the campaign goes on, uh, but we have we do this for every person who comes on so we give you 30 seconds to make a closing argument. So you are running for mayor of the village of Key Biscayne. The primary is August 23. The ballots will be going out much earlier than that, believe it or not the first ballots five weeks away. First ballots being mailed out to overseas voters. And that could be a lot of people in Key Biscayne.. First ballots going out in a very short period of time, So 30 seconds, Katie Petros, why should people vote for you for mayor?

Katie Petros:

Like I said before, I have the experience, the recent experience of being up there on council I feel like I served honorably, and I gained a lot of respect of individuals. I know the issues that are before us. I spent four years learning deeply about many of the things that we haven't even discussed today, but things that we have to go up there on a monthly basis and take a vote of I know that people work hang in the village I, I love where I live. I've lived here for many years, I understand the different influences that factor here, I fully get the resiliency issues that we're facing. We're a barrier island. And I think there are big things that we need to do. And I think that putting things in action is the most important part of this. And I hope everyone goes out to the primaries, because the more people that vote the better. So I'm looking forward to a good race. And I guess that's it at this point. So thank you for your time. I appreciate talking today and getting to know you, Theo,

Tony Winton:

thank you for being our guest and we will be back right after this. And we're back live on antisocial coming to you on WSQF LP 94.5 FM blink radio Key Biscayne. I'm Tony Winton, along with my co host. Theo Theo Miller. Yes. Yeah, so we that was an interesting interview. Theo. You know, it's interesting, you get to vote, but you couldn't you can't normally we play this part of the thing. We have a sound effect that we play. It's happy hour, but we can't play that because you're not old enough to drink.

Theo Miller:

I'm underage. I'm very sorry. You can thank the great Mr. Reagan for that.

Tony Winton:

Well, you know, I'm I can't really speak to that topic. But again, I'm sorry, we didn't we didn't bring appropriate beverages.

Theo Miller:

That's all right. I appreciate that.

Tony Winton:

So so this this last section here, we talked about some of the things in social media that caught our attention as our guest is getting ready to leave. And again, thank you, Katie Petros for coming on our show the we could discuss some of the things in our feeds. And one of them would have to be the things that you follow, because I can guarantee everybody that your social media feed is totally different than my social media feed. Yeah,

Theo Miller:

that's probably fair in probably my own perspective, and my feed probably leans a little bit more left of center than either you or Tom's as

Tony Winton:

well, I mean, it's even just with the type of content that we see.

Theo Miller:

Forget about pop politics. Well, that's true. I

Tony Winton:

tried to stay off of Facebook. Yeah. So I have I've got Facebook, I've got the Twitter, you know, not so much on Instagram. You know, but that that's mostly, you know, I'm seeing more and more. I don't know marketing. I guess it's happening there.

Theo Miller:

Yeah, the it's, it's actually quite interesting. If you follow up with this sort of, you know, political money or advertising dollars in social media at all top spenders coming across, you'll usually get a pretty even or even right word glean out of somewhere like Facebook, versus somewhere like Snapchat, where almost all the top spenders on Snapchat are are left leaning causes.

Tony Winton:

Oh, yeah. Okay, so let me let me I'm going to embarrass myself now and tell you the platforms I'm not currently on. I'm not on Snapchat. I've never had been on Snapchat. And I am not on Tik Tok either.

Theo Miller:

tiktoks an interesting, interesting mixture of things because you get the sort of nice little snappy bits. But the problem is it's so good at curating what everyone is after that your feed can be entirely isolated from everyone else's. And so I think if you had to pick a middle ground of you can find everything there. It would be tick tock.

Tony Winton:

All right. Well, I will have to figure out whether we the cues can elicit independent wants to put anything on Snapchat or tick tock, I'm, I'm not sure I'm ready for that. But we'll have to discuss that. And maybe we'll ask you to start our first account. But what is what kind of things are you are you as you're you're seeing on your feet? Well,

Theo Miller:

recently, I guess it was yesterday, my feed kind of lit up a little bit talking about our very wonderful President Joseph R. Biden. And he signed an interesting executive order because it's really one of the first I guess, conscious actions. He's taken against a lot of the culture war platform that Republicans have taken going into this midterm election cycle, and specifically focusing on Florida's don't say gay bill, and a lot of Texas and Ohio and Alabama and all these other various let's call them anti gay laws being passed around the country. He and his measure basically says a couple things and mostly revolves around gutting federal dollars being used in states or for in the medical programs of states that have conversion therapy, and that don't allow gender affirming health care access for for trans people. And the great debate brewing across that I saw was whether or not this is actually going to do anything or if this is just amounts of lip service.

Tony Winton:

Right. So that's the reaction being what would you say? It's mostly positive, mostly criticism of it mostly in favor of it? What are you seeing?

Theo Miller:

I see, the problem is a really deep issue that you can spend literally hours in lecture halls learning about, but the what it really sort of seemed like people were feeling was, yeah, it's a good thing. And it's a good first step, but the odds of this having any sort of teeth behind it are slim to none.

Tony Winton:

Right. But doesn't it? Doesn't it deal with conversion therapy? Isn't that the focus of the executive?

Theo Miller:

Among other things? Yeah, it's sort of a bullet point list of these are the couple things that we are no longer I should say, so called Conversion therapy, so called Conversion therapy, that we're no longer going to put presidential dollars behind behind supporting, which, again, it's a good thing. It's a very important thing. It's very historic thing. It comes during pride month that comes during all that sort of thing. But Biden has issued other messages like this before, and they've never really quite follow through on their promises. So you

Tony Winton:

think it's unlikely to gain him any support from the people who would support it? I think so. Okay, all right. Well, you know, it's interesting, I, my, my social media feed, you know, very loaded with discussions of still the 911. Line 11 I'm sorry, she January 6, but but you know why? Actually, that's a three and slip, because it's, it's got to me, in my mind, that level of emotion and drama to it, of watching something happening unfold on our television screens. And in my case, when 911 happened, I was in Washington. So it was a few blocks away from where I was the that level of thing, but this is about this is about the January 6, and some of the additional issues and I'm just going to play a little clip, I'm going to take you all the way to a little rural county in New Mexico, oh, Otero County, and a debate about whether the election machines could be could be trusted or not. And we don't have that we don't have the clip available for some reason it was working before but we were going to state Supreme Court is ordering the Otero county commission to move forward with certifying the primary election results. commissioners voted not to certify last week and ordered a hand recount of ballots claiming there were problems with the voting machines or right. So that was where a county commission was supposed to basically certify election results. And they decided not to not because they had any specific reports that anything was wrong or not, because that's it, it was because they just felt that the machines were inaccurate, because they were part of the undocumented and sort of false narrative that this manufacturer of these machines was somehow altering votes. Dominion. Correct. And so that is the that is the issue. And they were ordered by the state to just go ahead and do their jobs. And I would point out that one of the members of that commission, apparently was at the US Capitol on January 6, and as being in a court proceeding, don't have the results of that today. But you know, it just it goes to me of like how this is going on you. We just had a candidate here. Who is going to be an election in August 23. Do people trust the tally in Florida?

Theo Miller:

Well, depends on I guess. Well,

Tony Winton:

yeah, in Florida, we have did my guy when we don't use electronic voting machines in Florida. If my guy won, then the election was completely justified, valid and secure. And don't worry about a thing. Don't ask questions. We haven't we haven't heard that discussion yet. But Florida uses paper ballots, and there's a paper trail. And that of course, stems from the 2000 election with hanging chads and all sorts of other things. But I mean, I mean, is that I mean, let me just ask you, what do people think about what what kind of activity are you seeing about January 6, and whether we can trust your you're going to be voting for the first time you're a first time voter?

Theo Miller:

I got I was fortunate enough to vote in the in the 2021 election, although to be fair, that was pretty inconsequential. Okay. But for people in your class or first time Yeah, absolutely. And it's everyone I know sort of fault or most of the people I know, I should say, full on sort of the left end of the political spectrum and even regardless, even among the right leaders, they it very much falls on the lines of this was something reprehensible it's just a matter of sort of what to what extent should we prosecute them?

Tony Winton:

But But do you do your? Did your classmates feel that their votes counted? Or will they count? Do they do they think it's it's a rigged thing when they go into the voting booth?

Theo Miller:

rigged? No. But Will my vote matter? Also? No, because we live in Florida. And that means that if you live in the great blue bubble, no matter what happens, the odds of whatever we say or do actually creating real difference, there's sort of a little bit of a profound sense of let's call it political nihilism in the air.

Tony Winton:

What is it? But is that just based on what the because there's not enough people voting that share your viewpoint? What why is that? What is that what do you think's driving that? Well,

Theo Miller:

because most of this sort of controversial legislation being handed down to, to us on high come from a state government with which there's no chance of us winning a majority. And so I say us being but yeah, everyone, it's difficult, and especially when you look up and everyone in national politics seems to be over the age of 60. And everyone in local politics seem or in state politics seems to sort of be some sort of right wing nut job, you look forth. And so yeah, I think we're actually going to the good news is, is that the new generation being so politically involved, it will be a good thing. And it'll mean that we'll have a lot more young blood, I think, coming into elections and coming into political candidates, just based on a factor of we were raised to be politically involved compared to some of the earlier sort of demographic shifts with new age groups entering the election cycle. But in terms of, you know, trust or faith in the election system, sure, they're going to trust the results of the election.

Tony Winton:

But you don't hear you don't hear people saying, I'm not going to vote because it doesn't count. I don't I'm not going to vote because I'm tuned out. I'm not going to vote because it's that there's no hope of changing anything, so it's worthless to vote. No,

Theo Miller:

it doesn't seem like that. It sort of just means like, I'm gonna go cast my vote, I'm gonna go do my civic duty. And then I'm going to go home and try to figure out a way to enact the same change anyway, because there's no way that you're actually going to win the election.

Tony Winton:

Gotcha. Well, so fatalism is what you get back to your way. All right. Well, on that very cheery note, yeah, very cheery. I just wanted to end our show. And again, thank our guests, Katie Petros for coming on. We will be inviting all of the candidates for mayor and council to come on our program and also to remind everyone that we are planning a candidate forum. We will announce that date very shortly, hopefully within the next day or two. And that will be an open event that we're going to help as many listeners as they can can come and meet the candidates directly and and hear interactive questions. With the three candidates running for mayor again, this Petros being challenged by Alberto Gomez, a former lobbyist and by Joe Rascoe, a former mayor who is wants to come back as Mayor of Key Biscayne for my departed over my missing co host Thom Mozloom

Theo Miller:

I'm Theo Miller

Tony Winton:

and I'm Tony Winton and be safe everybody. I will always be my friend. Come up there as you