INTEGRITY • INDEPENDENCE • TRANSPARENCY
PUTTING RESIDENTS FIRST SINCE 2015
Tanya Katzoff Bhatt is a tenacious advocate for residents’ rights, a results-oriented community leader and a proven consensus-builder who will never stop working to improve our city. A 20-year resident of Miami Beach, her long-standing record of service includes leadership roles as President of Miami Beach United, Vice Chair of the City of Miami Beach Planning Board, and a Board Member of the Miami Design Preservation League.
Now, as our next City Commissioner, Tanya is ready to bring her values, energy, and skill set to bear on the most pressing issues we face. Integrity, independence, civility, and thoughtful problem-solving will anchor and define her role on the Commission, where she’ll work diligently to ensure Miami Beach remains one of the most vibrant and unique cities in America. Her priorities include attaining a balance between historic preservation and appropriate contextual growth; keeping our city safe and welcoming; promoting the right resiliency measures for each neighborhood; and finding common-sense solutions to end gridlock both on our streets and in our government.
Outside of her experience with Miami Beach United, the Planning Board and the Design Preservation League, Tanya is a small business owner and a former marketing executive who spent six years running a global division of Converse. Growing up overseas in South America and Europe taught her that there are many approaches to finding a positive outcome, a perspective that will favorably inform how she approaches her job representing us as an elected official. Simply put, Tanya knows how to bring people together to get things done.
A current North Beach resident, and a former resident of Mid-Beach’s Bayshore neighborhood, Tanya moved to Miami Beach in 2003 seeking a diverse and warm community with world-class cultural offerings in which to raise her family. She is a graduate of Brown University, an unlikely endurance athlete, a dog rescuer, and is multilingual.
Why I'm Running
I am running to serve as your next Miami Beach City Commissioner because I want to do everything in my power to stop our beloved home from continuing to come apart at the seams.
Whether it's public safety, out-of-control special events, traffic and parking issues, failing infrastructure, overdevelopment at the cost of resiliency and quality of life, or anything else...we must do better. We must enact solutions that work for the greater good, and for the majority of those affected by the issues.
My activism since 2015, including as past president/current VP Marketing of Miami Beach United, board director of the Miami Design Preservation League, and current Vice Chair of the City's Planning Board, make me uniquely qualified to navigate the complex problems facing our city, especially striking the balance between thoughtful, contextual development while maintaining character of place and upgrading infrastructure, even as state preemptions seek to curtail our ability to govern our city as we see fit.
While I've been effective as a resident activist, I know I can get more accomplished from a seat on the dais than from the sidelines to continue to make change for the greater good.
At City Hall, it just feels like there aren’t enough "grownups in the room" to make the hard decisions to effectuate change. There's too much reactionary posturing and not enough proactive strategy about where we want to be, and how we want to get there, in a manner which is beneficial for everyone in our community. I'm running to change that. You can count on me to do the work, ask the hard questions, say what I mean, mean what I say, and conduct myself accordingly.
Together with you, I want to build a #MiamiBeachForAllOfUs.
Together We Win
Thank you for your willingness to support our campaign with a financial contribution. Your generosity is critical to ensuring victory on November 7, 2023! You can make your online donation by clicking on "donate," or by making checks payable to "Tanya K. Bhatt Campaign" and mailing them to:
Tanya K. Bhatt Campaign
c/o 900 Bay Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33141
While there is a limit of $1,000 per person or entity, any amount is greatly appreciated. You must be a U.S. citizen to make a contribution.
Public Safety and Special Events
On the City Commission, I’m committed to doing everything in my power to ensure the safety and well-being of all Miami Beach residents, businesses and visitors. Public safety is an urgent issue deserving significantly more attention than it receives – especially when special events come to town. Like you, I’m sick and tired of feeling I’m under siege every time a “high-impact weekend” forces us to swap law and order for property destruction and violence. My unapologetically blunt opinion is that there is no greater threat to our safety than when law enforcement officers and first responders are unable to respond to calls from residents and businesses because they are too busy dealing with the chaos spawned by special events. The situation has become untenable and we need to re-evaluate what makes sense for our city. Special events should never be welcomed at the expense of residents or businesses. In City Hall, I’ll adopt a proactive and responsible approach to public safety as well as special events. My vision calls for long-term planning to avert annual chaos such as Spring Break (or March Madness, as I now like to call it); increased support for law enforcement officers and first responders; year-round use of license plate readers to stop dangerous individuals from roaring across our causeways in cars loaded with guns and drugs; heightened regulation of parking for non-residents, both on our streets and in city-owned garages; and strict enforcement of the many sensible laws we already have on the books, every day in every neighborhood. We will bring order to chaos by stamping out illegal behavior and insisting upon accountability for those engaging in it. Other cities around the country and around the world have successfully done so. We can too. In an effort to mitigate the chaos of March Madness, the city continues throwing off-brand events (and trying to install off-brand "attractions") into our public parks which don’t highlight the strengths of our city: our year-round outdoor exercise facilities, beaches, cultural institutions, and more. Cultural and health / fitness tourism fit our brand and highlight many of our strengths without limiting our other offerings like world-class dining and nightlife.
When it comes to traffic, our streets are too often at a standstill. It's no longer only over holiday weekends or at the peak of winter tourism season – it's all the time. We need real solutions to ease congestion. That’s why I'll work to unclog our roads by ensuring that there’s a master plan for the scheduling and completion of construction projects and infrastructure improvements. I’ll maintain a holistic view of what projects are underway in all parts of town and advocate to keep major thoroughfares open. Just as importantly, I’ll hold contractors to their word by forcing them to pay severe consequences for jobs they fail to finish according to the timetables conferred when bidding for city contracts. Additionally, I'll coordinate with officials from Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation to synchronize traffic lights; work collaboratively with the Coast Guard to fine-tune the schedules of our drawbridges; push vigorously for measures to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists; and continue funding our free citywide trolley service. Having a basic sense of how long it will take to get from point A to point B on Miami Beach is not an unreasonable expectation. A trip that takes 10 minutes on a Monday should not take 45 minutes on a Tuesday. We can and must do better.
Infrastructure and Resiliency
In recent years, City Hall has seemed more concerned with elevating our skyline than fixing our sewer lines. When I’m elected to the City Commission, that will change. We need to re-examine and re-evalute what projects get prioritized in order to ensure our most critical issues are being addressed first. I’ll prioritize upgrading our sewer systems in order to prevent the all-too-frequent ruptures resulting in no-contact water advisories for inconceivable lengths of time. On Park View Island, for example, there has been a no-contact water advisory for three years (and counting) due to repeated tests showing the presence of toxic bacteria levels between 100 and 300 times more than what the State of Florida deems acceptable. Last fall on North Beach, a sinkhole filled with raw sewage nearly swallowed a truck and forced road closures in the surrounding blocks. Massive and outrageous problems which we have aimed to literally bury for decades are coming to the surface in each and every one of our neighborhoods. Miami Beach is not a city in a developing nation. Our infrastructure must be upgraded according to first-world standards. It must be maintained to keep pace with our growth. If that means finding new technology or planning for accelerated replacement schedules, so be it. The same care and diligence should be exercised when it comes to stormwater management and the challenges we face as a result of rising seas. Part of our approach should be ensuring that we’re adhering to best practices in order to proactively head off avoidable problems, like cleaning out catch basins more regularly. An equally important part of our approach should be working closely with our city’s dozens of neighborhood associations to implement neighborhood-specific resiliency measures to keep us dry. There is no “one size fits all” solution to the existential threat of sea-level rise. By nature, adaptivity and innovation take many different forms. Proper maintenance of our infrastructure along with resiliency measures tailored to meet the unique needs of different neighborhoods aren’t simply the best paths forward for the tens of thousands of people who live on Miami Beach. They’re also a means by which we can fulfill our obligation to safeguard the health of our region’s beaches, reefs, wildlife and Biscayne Bay. If we don’t take care of these natural and ecological resources, who will?
Historic Preservation and Managed Growth
If Miami Beach is going to maintain its iconic character as well as continue to evolve as a world-class destination suitable for 21st Century living, we need to find a balance between historic preservation and appropriate contextual growth. As a director of the Miami Design Preservation League and Vice-Chair of the city’ Planning Board, I have a deep appreciation and special understanding of the delicate nature of this imperative. I like to think of Miami Beach as an immersive architectural museum. Everywhere we go, we find ourselves surrounded by beautiful buildings from the 1920’s through today. Globally, it’s one of the features contributing to our status as a seminal tourist destination. It’s what makes us the destination of choice to an overdeveloped strip of sand. While I do not support casting the city in amber – that’s not good for anybody – we do need to make sure that all new development is contextual, worth the effort, and makes sense for the neighborhood in which it is placed. Too much of the new construction here has seemed to move forward with too little input from – or benefit to – our community. As someone who cherishes our city’s architectural and cultural histories, I have always sought to strike parity between the importance of preserving the past and the realities of preparing for the future. On the City Commission, I will continue that pursuit. And now more than ever, as Tallahasse has preempted our right as residents to vote on ballot questions considering increasing FAR (density) for new projects, it really matters that you know your elected officials will vote for appropriate development only, rather than greenlighting out-of-scale/context projects. You can be sure I will protect our neighborhoods and communities, and ensure that adequate community outreach and input is part of every project's journey, and early enough to make a difference.
Cutting Through Red Tape
The permitting process on Miami Beach for everything from updating a bathroom in a condo to opening a restaurant has become complicated and unpredictable. As your next Commissioner, I’ll work to evaluate the Building Department’s processes, find the issues and resolve them in an efficient, transparent and predictable manner. It should not take four years to open a new restaurant. Beyond making life easier for current homeowners and businesses, improving this process will make us once again appealing to business owners small and large who want to invest in our community.
Advocacy / In The News
6/28/23 Miami Herald
Tanya Bhatt, who lived on the island before moving in March and has filed to run for an open city commission seat, wishes there was more of a sense of urgency to address failing and aging sewage systems. “We are a city that is being developed at a ferocious pace with ancient infrastructure,” Bhatt said. “And it’s a recipe for disaster.”
6/22/22 Miami Herald
The lone no vote came from board member Tanya Bhatt [...] who said Ross could build a successful project with the square footage currently allowed on the site and asked whether he would build the complex if his request for more square footage was denied. Kasdin did not answer that question, saying he could not disclose specifics about the contract to buy the property. “I think if we are talking about something that is so big and important to the city of Miami Beach this needs to be a transparent conversation,” Bhatt said.
12/20/22 Miami Herald
“We’re not against the notion of putting something more beneficial and useful [than a surface parking lot] there, necessarily, but we have serious concerns about what’s going there now and the cost,” said Tanya Bhatt, the vice president of marketing for Miami Beach United. “That’s not what the voters agreed to. They agreed to a $54 million project that was much more modest in scope.”
1/17/22 The New York Times
The angst over the Deauville’s fate comes at a time when preservationists have been prodding Miami Beach to do more to protect older single-family homes. Many older Beach homes have been razed to make way for massive new mansions, often constructed with boxy white concrete and glass.
“We have a ton of people coming in with big money buying perfectly good homes,” said Tanya K. Bhatt, a member of the Miami Beach Planning Board. “We had a house demolished because the owners claimed there was a cockroach infestation.”
1/11/22 Miami Herald
Miami Beach Planning Board member Tanya Bhatt said she was taken aback by the sudden push to quickly demolish the Deauville about 5 years after the city became aware of how its owners were neglecting the hotel. In an email to city commissioners, she said it was like watching a “slow-motion train wreck.”
6/23/21 Miami Herald
Planning Board member Tanya Bhatt, who said she wants the hotel to succeed, urged Grutman to abide by the city’s rules until the new sound system is installed. In the meantime, she said, Grutman could possibly hold a silent dance party with revelers wearing headphones to avoid disturbing the neighbors. “Just don’t have any more violations called in between now and September,” Bhatt said. “It’s going to be a long, hot summer. And it won’t reflect well.”
5/1/21 REMiami Beach
Tanya Bhatt said she thinks “It’s time for Miami Beach as a city to look at the Code that governs how many people can stay in hotel rooms.” The issue, she said, “is not just the proliferation of hotel rooms [but] the number of people that get packed into a hotel room.”
She acknowledged the neighborhood spent “the better part of a year” crafting the Neighborhood Vision Plan, “but for circumstance of timing, this project would be moving through the process.” In this case, she said, “where somebody is doing everything the way he or she should be doing it… the timing seems pretty unfair.”
1/30/21 REMiami Beach
When the Planning Board initially approved the operations plan for the North Beach [Target] store, it allowed deliveries between [certain hours]. Mehrabi sought delivery hours of between 7 am and 8 pm, seven days a week. After an extensive back and forth, the Board and Mehrabi accepted a compromise proposed by new Board member Tanya Bhatt [which allowed for delivery flexibility while protecting residents from excessive noise and traffic at key times of day and night].
6/3/19 Miami Herald
Miami Beach United also suggested that the city organize activities for high impact periods in order to give visitors something to do other than drink and party. This approach has proven successful over Memorial Day weekend, the group said. “We are confident that with a judicious eye to applying existing regulations and with bold thinking about future events, this repeat crisis can be mitigated going forward, and its memory confined to the dustbin of history,” Miami Beach United said in an email [written by Bhatt].
7/28/17 Miami Herald