Armbrister, Servant for the City of Miami People?


Interview with Candidate  William A. Armbrister City of Miami District 2 Commissioner

Mr. Armbrister, Sports Elite Magazine would like to thank you for allowing me to come into your home for this interview.

Mr. William  Armbrister how do you like to be addressed?

Brother, Armbrister , simple.

What year were you born and where were you born?

November 1951 in Coconut Grove.

How many siblings  do you have ?

I have a total of 8 siblings, 5 down and 3 to go.

How many years have you been married and how many children do you have?

I have been married shortly forty years and I have 8 children.

So, I see you believe in pro creation.

No, I believe in  everything in  the Bible. One of the things that I do believe in is fruitful and multiplication. Be fruitful and multiply.

And that you have done in deed.

Well, so far yes.

What schools did you attend and what year did you graduate from high school?

I attended Coral Gables High School. I would have been in the class of 69 but I thought that I knew everything so, I just took off 68  and in 69 I realized that I didn’t know anything so I took the GED.

What is your profession?

I am a linemen, retired, working formal for Florida Power and Light, 25 years, retired to pursue  a nursing career until I found out my desire to assist in what is needed  was more needed in the political arena  not being a politician. So, I am perusing to not follow  my mother footsteps but my foot steps  will be close to hers  but not identical to hers.

Yes, I knew of your mother. She was a very prominent women in the community.

Activist,  she started in the early sixties when she was trying to fight for the community and I don’t believe she realize that  what was happening in this community Coconut Grove was happening throughout the City of Miami and properly throughout the United States.

Your mother, Mrs. Armbrister what type of mother was she?

Strong, stern, determined, no tongue biting and she said it was either up or down, left or right, wet or dry. She did not compromise for what was true.

Do you have any of that fire that your mother had for Coconut Grove  Community and Citizens?

Well, to a greater degree, I feel no documentation to support that but I feel because of with the internet and having asses to more of what is happening in this world today, I realize that we are experiencing here in  this community Coconut Grove and the entire city and county as well so that’s why I decided that it would be better for me in the political arena as a servant which we have none that I am currently aware of, they are all polished or politicians a little bit of both.

And attorneys.

That’s a polished -tician neatly polished it’s a photo opt.  I want to look good. I want my looks to distract and my smooth conversation to be a distraction from things like no bid contracts things of that nature.

Why are you running for City of Miami District 2 Commissioner?

Because, I know that there needs to be , I like to say, I am hazard to saying  some integrity, but I will say that there needs to be a greater degree of integrity. There needs to be people working with me that I trust and then there may need to a few people working with me that I don’t trust to watch the people that I do trust. You got to have a full realm of what is mandatory in order to make certain that  the decisions that you do make are from creditable sources and the sources I will be seeking those on my own in addition to the people working with me.

In your campaign, you said that you are a servant for the people. Tell me, how do you intend to serve the people of your community.

I intend to serve the people of  Miami by making certain that the decisions made by district 2 Commissioners office  will be a reflection  to the concerns that have been expressed by the voters.  That would mean that,  I would have to get in the field, knock on some doors, ask some questions and  develop an intermit relationship with every employee of the City of Miami as well as every individual of the City of Miami. I know that I am capable of doing that.

How do you intend to correct the corruption that waste tax payers money?

Well, I intend to find out what is currently being done, how it is being done and what guide lines should be applied when decisions are to be made.  I found out first hand that things are not being done  according to  the guide lines. They have a Miami  21 as well as the codes and ordinance of the City of Miami and when it came to this community I had to research to find out that it was improper for developers and commissioners to move commercial development into residential community. As it is improper to move residential into commercial . The Miami 21  encourages redevelopment of existing commercial properties  as well as preserving the residential community and they have done neither(commissioners and developers). They are not in the preservation business for the residential communities, but they are allowing commercial development to expand into the residential community.  It’s not just this community. It’s where ever there is no one paying attention and for me, what I had to do, I had to knock on doors and make people aware of what was going on.  They had no idea, because, when the hearings are scheduled they contact the owners of the property and not the individual living in the property. So, the individual living in the property has no idea that the bull dozer is out front.  The tenant has been paying the rent but the owner has sold the property. The tenant had no idea that this was permitted by the city.

Who makes this decision that allows commercial development to expand into residential?

The City of Miami, the Commissioners and the Mayor. The Commissioner of the district permits commercial development to expand into residential communities if there is no opposition.  In the case of this Coconut Grove community, there was opposition, because I have been ordained by a couple of a hundred people to represent their concerns in  the City of Miami. I felt that as an individual I registered as a lobbyist in October for the purpose of having the voice of the people heard through myself by the commission in their opposition to commercial redevelopment in the residential community and when they did not adhere to the cry of the people I had to find out what more could be done on my behalf to further represent myself as well as the residents of the community.  I found out that I could file an injunction relief in the circuit court.   So,  I filed an injunction against the developer  and I had to include the City of Miami because they went against the will of the people.  The City of Miami had to be included.  That’s what I did,  it kind of slowed the process.  Not that it’s going to go away. I also filed for an emergency hearing in the circuit court because, I would like to get this resolved before I am elected. But if I am elected, I can remove the City of Miami from the law suit because the injunction is for me and the residents of Coconut Grove.  I have a few hundred names that can show up in court.

So, it appears that the Commissioners and Mayor are not a servant to the people.

No, and I don’t have any evidence that I’ve seen that they ever had, vendors, lobbyist , developers and contractors they are friends to those people but not the ones that punch their names or show up at the ballots. They don’t serve the people at all. It’s a possibility that they do but I have not seen any evidence to that affect.

How will you ensure your community that the city commissioners and administration operates under transparency.

I would recommend to them, if they are considering re-election.  They might want to allow their constituents to see that they are there for them. What I would do, I have the web site, your that is the peoples web site and I encourage everyone,  where ever  you are on planet earth to visit the web site. Put a first name, last name,  in the comment box what you feel needs to be addressed by your representative.  I will use that information on that web site for documentation to support my actions as commissioner so that I will be assured that all the actions in my administration will be a reflection  of the concerns as to how they have been expressed not how I think. If community citizens  want a football stadium and a large percent sends me emails stating that they do not want a stadium in Coconut Grove. However, the group that wants the stadium is 51%  and the opposers of the football staatium are 49%. I would let the majority know that I am against having a football stadium in Coconut Grove. But if the majority wants the stadium I would have to support their position.  Because that’s what I was elected to support the position of the people. I am real verse in removing myself. It’s when you get yourself in the way of politics that’s when there is a problem.  See you want your opinion to override the many and that’s not how I operate. That’s not who I am.

Miami is a tourist city, what other jobs will you bring to your economy besides tourism?

Well, tourism is here already, we need some type of industry brought here  for the City of Miami. I will be perusing  that and a few different venues.  Because we need good paying jobs, not just jobs.  Whenever you here jobs being a plat form for a politician, two words they never use, good paying. They just say jobs, so we are talking broom pushers, dish washers and flag waivers. Jobs that will not provide for a house hold income to pay a mortgage, to raise a family, put something away or to send a child to college.  We need good paying jobs.  That’s what we need, more of along with a greater focus on early childhood education.

What role will you play in seeing to it that there is a level playing field in job creation through Federal Funds?

I will be right up front, because the funds are coming here for that reason. With President Obama,  I was so happy to hear our President speak about jobs.  However, in his last speach on Thursday, he spoke about good paying jobs and jobs training.  Job training is mandatory. I will use for an example Children that have disabilities and they want to take them out of regular schools and put these school for kids with learning disabilities and  , when you do that you move them out of the main stream now our government is already up side down. My purpose for going into office is to assist in being right side up. So we need to get that training from  an early age . When they enter the first grade they should know how to read, write, addition, subtraction and multiplication along with some computer skills. They need to go into the first with the current third grade material not being challenging  enough for them by the time they have completed the first grade. Every Dade County school should be a magnet school. But we have to prepare some magnetize children’s to enter those schools and that is the problem.

There a lot of construction projects taking place throughout the  City of Miami. Example, road construction projects, Florida Marlins  Baseball Stadium and Miami International Airport. However, the employment of Black Citizens are few in comparison to Hispanic and Caucasian  workers  and in most cases the Black workers are performing unskilled jobs such as sweepers or flag waivers directing traffic. How do you intend to correct this problem where all can participate in the City of Miami job force.

As I spoke of that is why it is mandatory that we  institute some job training skills electricians,  plumbers, carpenters, welders, heavy equipment operators things of that nature. We need to invest in our city an do not just spend next year proposed revenue this year which is what we are doing. We will have to invest in our city and that’s where we need to make an investment in those areas of job training, working with Dade County , working with the school superintended, working with these people we are going to have to come together as one city, not as a Little Havana, not as a Little Haiti but as a major Metropolitan City. The Magic City is what we are and I am going into a system that needs some magic. I am going to assist, I am not going to do the magic by myself. I want be the chain for the change, I will be a strong unbreakable link in the chain and I would encourage everyone to take the same stance and it’s in our best interest. When I say our,  it’s for every elected officials and for generations to come.

You spoke about heavy equipment training. Do we have any training schools in  Miami?

Not that I am aware, but I have more of an opportunity.  I have more access to find out what is available and how we can make this a reality. Because, I don’t know how many Latin, African American or Haitian contractors there are. That’s why,  I want to make this training available for everyone who lives in Miami.  The United States dream of prosperity is not only for Americans, but it’s for everyone that lives in the United States. Everyone that comes into this country,  we say you come here we are going to assist you, we are going to fulfill your dreams and that should be for everyone that they permit into this country as well as to those who are already here.

We have to address this convicted felon issue. I spoke with one of the assistant in the States Attorney’s Office about that matter. because we need to provide some training for them to begin while they’re incarcerated , before they get incarceration  and definitely if they have started while they were incarceration we want to complete it once they are released because if we don’t address that issue we are going to be a victim of our own neglect.

Armbrister, you have said something that is interesting, Governor Rick Scott has recently privatize the Florida Department of Corrections and some of the Republicans were not supportive of out sourcing our prison systems. They can’t really rehabilitate prisoners, because they would be losing customers.

What is your take on this issue?

Rehab is not a good thing for the correctional  system. We need to be building more schools, we need to be hiring more qualified teachers. While they are incarcerated, we need to educate them and teach them a skill that they can use once they are released from prison. We need to get them back into society where they can become productive citizens.

Will you be willing to cut jobs from department heads that are insufficient in their  performances. In some cases department job duplication.

I would begin to hold every department head accountable. I will give you a fine example, The Parking Authority, they have the automatic parking system at the Court House, you don’t need anyone there, just push your card in and it tells you how much money  you owe.  Push your credit card in and it pays for it.  The City paid for that system to be there to save money. I don’t know how much they paid for fhe Automatic Parking System.  But in addition to the system working, the City has four employees working there, there is a car gate, it appears to be no accountability for their actions.   That has to be addressed,  I don’t know how it came about or why it’s been   permitted. In ordere to fix the problem, I will have to turn the water off .  Because there is a leak and then I will have to look for plumbers to do the work. But I am not going to go and look for plumbers to do the work.  I am going to go and shut the water off. You understand what I am saying, yeah,  that’s what we need to do. I am your voice , so my response, my reaction, everything is dependent upon what I don’t know and information that you can provide. You and every citizen in the City of Miami.

How would you handle top administrators making high salaries yet, there are budget cuts and  there are employees losing their jobs. At  the same time, administrators are receiving increases in their salary?

I don’t know if that’s part of the charter that’s permitted, but I have not read that part .  I am going in to assist in the Magic City working magic.  Everyone, including myself will be held accountable.  My recommendation for consideration would be when you say we need to cut 10%  of the budget I think we will need to reveiw  all of the salaries.  My personal opinion,  I am sure it want be this easy. But I would think we would need to line the salaries up from top to bottom. From the highest salary in the City of Miami to the lowest.  Then start chopping 10% and come down only as far as you need to go because the lower half is already struggling. Correct, that would be appropriate for a servant to do. I am not going to ask you to eat burned steak while I eat well prepared steak . We are going to share the burned steak together.  That’s a responsible leader, you lead by example. If you’re telling your employees they need to take a pay cut, you need to be saying we are all going to take a pay cut and everyone is going to stay on board.   There may be some shifting of employees from one  department to another and I  would put a freeze on hiring until the economy stabilizes .

What will you do to keep commercial businesses from intruding into residential neighborhoods?

The only thing that I can think of is a 25- 50 year moratorium, where the zoning will not be changed for twenty-five  to fifty years on all residential property. The Miami 21 says that we should be preserving and enhancing residential property. Moving commercial property into residential property is not enhancing the property.

What is your first year plan?

Shut the water off and then look for some good plumbers.  I am not God, I am not perfect, I will make a lot of mistakes along the way which will not have a negative impact on the residents and business of the City of Miami. I will be slower than desired because, I want to make certain that everything is as it should be.  I have to respond, I have to go out in the community to hear and address the community needs. I am a servant for the people.

What is your  third year plan?

To make certain that I can look back on the first two or three  years or a fourth year plan and make certain that all that I have done has paid off for the residents and the businesses. Be certain that nothing that I have chosen to act on has had a negative impact. That’s my plan throughout the period of time that I will be in the political arena.

How do you envision the City of Miami in the next ten years?

I envision the City of Miami to be the one place that everyone  wants to come and see what was done here in Miami, not who did it. I don’t want anyone to come to the City of Miami and say who made that decision, who did that. I want them to ask what was done when other cities in the United States were struggling and the City of Miami is so prosperous.  I want them to see us as a polite program  for manufactory to come in and be a partner with the employees. Because my profit is connected to the employees. So, therefore we will produce quality products.

In closing, why should the citizens of Miami appoint you as the new district 2 commissioner?

Because, I come from the people not from the profession. I am from the people, of the people by the people. I am not an attorney, I am not going into the city as the time passes to enhance my personal business that I have before I go in . I am not going in with the thousands of dollars  that are contributed to a candidate which binds them to that contributor once they are elected . I am not going to expand anyone’s business but to enhance the Magic that we should be recipients of here in the City of Miami.   I want to see the Magic. I don’t compromise . There is no time to agree to disagree. As my mother said, it’s either hot or cold, wet or dry, up or down. There are a lot of things wrong and I am going to assist in correcting them one issue at a time.

Brother Armbrister, Sports Elite Magazine  wants to thank you for your time and for allowing me to come into your home for the City of Miami district 2 Commission election interview. I wish you well.


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