After one year: Juan Carlos Bermudez breaks the silence.

(Part I)

Para leer en Español 

By: Maria Alejandra Pulgar

Juan Carlos Bermudez left his position as First Mayor of Doral in November 2012 with his head held high; proud of a job well done for 9 years with honesty, dedication and unquestionable transparency in the leadership of the city he helped build and shape.

_MG_3002A year ago we spoke with him for a farewell interview on the eve of the mayoral elections.  This time around he looks more relaxed. He still drives the same car, lives in the same house, works at the same place and has been spending time with his family, working and trying to get healthier; “enjoying my life for a change.”

He decided to approach Doral Family Journal, in his words “a newspaper that has been founded for the best interest of the city, and has continued to be fair and honest in your reporting”, to share with the community his concerns, exercising his right to opine as a resident.

This is the first part of a long conversation where the First Mayor broke the silence and addressed the issues he currently sees in the city he calls home.

“The five elected officials need to work together to go in the right direction”

“I think that change is inevitable and I understand that a new administration has to do certain things their way. Some of it is fine because a new group of elected officials has the right to go in the direction they want to go. It is important that they keep in mind all the hard work that not only myself and the council but so many people did to make this a great city and they should build upon that as opposed to try to eliminate it.”

“There probably would have been wiser for the incoming mayor to focus on trying to build upon what we did as opposed to trying to necessarily change everything.”

“Everybody has their right to do things the way they want to do it. And I would be the first to defend them on that. The one thing they need to remember is that many people worked very hard, including many of them, to make this a great city and we should build and make things better and not necessarily change for change’s sake.”

“Luckily we have an administrator who has experience, who has been a mayor of another city and he has done some things that I think were positive for the budget. I can tell you I think I am sure budget-wise manager Carollo has done a good job in making some of the recommendations that he has made. There are others that I may not agree with, but you know people can have differences of opinion.”

“The biggest issue though has been again trying to focus on making changes. We still need a lot of infrastructure: we need more parks, better roads, and those are the things I think this council needs to focus on moving forward. “

“It doesn’t matter who the manager is, the 5 elected officials need to work together to go in the right direction, and in order for that to happen there has to be a clear vision of what we want for this community and that has to come from the council, and that is maybe sometimes one area where there has not been as much clarity as there had to be.”

“The correct vision for this mayor and this council would have been to build upon what was built before. Make sure to make it better.”

“I said it to Mayor Boria personally, the day he got sworn in, and I said it to him even afterwards. The smartest thing for any elected official in Doral including him, to do, would be just add to all the hard work that was done before. Through the leadership of the present mayor, there should have been a clear vision and a direction.”

“And the second thing that is important, something I see now as a resident and I say this again to mayor Boria: I think he needs to understand that you need at least 3 votes to be able to move anyone’s agenda forward on the council.”

“It is not great secret that a couple of the council members that originally were people that were allies or friends of mine at the beginning, ended up being people that even went after my own family, my kids and my wife unfortunately, and still are attacking me. Having said that, you can go back and see one meeting where I didn’t treat them with respect and listen to their point of view and sometimes when they were right I agreed with them.”

“Being a leader requires that you work in a democracy; you need to understand that you have to work with the word of the majority.  Sometimes it means that if the council has an opinion that is different from yours, your role as the Chief Elected Official of the City is to be the one that carries out that point of view. Does not mean it has to be yours but that is what you were elected to do. You were not elected necessarily just to carry out what you want to do but what the elected body, by consensus or by majority of votes, want to do. And that means that if 3 people have voted a certain way that has to be respected.”

“If I would give a piece of advice to the people on the dais today, most of who are friends of mine, I would say regardless of whatever difference of opinion you have politically or personally,  you still have to move the city forward. I do not think that being a leader means personalizing your position on the dais when you are supposed to make a decision for the best of the city.”

“Whether they like each other or not, the people of Doral have elected the 5 members of the council to govern in the city. Get back to what you were supposed to do which is:  teamwork, govern, move the car forward down the road.”

“The most important thing is I am still a resident and I have explained this to Mayor Boria.  As a resident I haven’t said anything for a year out of respect to him and to the Council. I did that because I think it wasn’t fair to a new Mayor to have to have me complaining. I have chosen not to make comments publicly until now.  It was the right thing to do, whether I agreed or disagreed with him.”

“But as I did tell him recently, I am a resident of the city, I am not moving out of Doral. Many of us worked very hard, including me as the First Mayor. It was not just me it was many people, even before we were a city that worked hard to make it a great place.”

“And I have the right to opine. I live in a democracy and I am going to let people know when I disagree with some of these things and I have the right to do it as a resident.”

“Community participation has increased”

“One positive thing that has come out of all the, let’s call it ‘contentious issues’ that have happened, is that community participation has increased.”

“I can tell you that in my case and it is not great secret, because I told the mayor this personally, One Doral and West Dade got together in 2010 to create Doral Community Coalition. I have supported them; I am a member and I think now it is important that we have a community based group. It is very important that more people starts participating in this process. “

“The greatest danger our countries have always had, is that when people does not participate democracy is at risk. It is important that we don’t just step aside and not participate.”

“I am going to be active in the Doral Community Coalition, who is not me but the founders of One Doral, of West Dade Federation of Homeowners Association, people like Morgan Levy, Jesse Jones, and Alberto Ruiz. And now there are new people and I think it is important that those of us, those that worked so hard and people that are here now that care about the community, should be able to participate and give their opinion.”

“It does not mean that the 5 elected officials have to agree with us, it just means they have to at least listen to us, and that is important. That is the difference between democracy and dictatorship, and that is what it comes down to. If there is something positive coming out of all the recent happenings and the differences in the last year, I think more people participating are a good thing.”

“I would have focused on having a united council, respecting the administrator and letting the administrator manage the city, and focusing on public policy, move the agenda hoping to do the things government is supposed to do, which is security, building parks and roads, maintenance and quality of life. I would have focused in all these more so, and focused on working with my council, having a united council and respect the administrator, let him or her be the person to run the city day to day, that is the type of government that we have.”

“I have been respectful and sometimes people have not been respectful back”

“I decided to speak now because I really thought that out of respect to the new mayor and the new council it was not right for me to be expressing my opinion constantly, because everybody has to be given their opportunity and time. I did not want to end up like other former elected officials, attacking people and not building but actually hurting people.”

“There has been so much work done by so many people. I decided to be fair and not opine and give people respect, but then I had to wake up and read attacks in newspapers by former elected officials, or some councilmembers who are still harassing my family, I just don’t think it is right, it is time to express myself and I need to let people know what I think.”

“I thought that a year was enough time, I live here. I know what we did; I know what we did right, what this community did right and I have a concern.”

“This is only going to be fixed if the residents start expressing themselves. When I say residents it is not those who just go and repeat what one elected officials wants, but residents who go and give their opinion. Residents have to be very careful of the people that want to come back into politics in Doral for the wrong reasons.”

“The time has come for me as a resident to speak, to opine. I have every right. Anybody that denies my opportunity to give my opinions is somebody that is not being fair and I am going to express myself.

“I speak on my behalf, not of any organization. I got tired. I have been respectful and sometimes people have not been respectful back, and I have the right as a resident to give my opinion.”

In our next issue Ed. 57, do not miss the second part of this exclusive interview.

—————— En Español ——————

Un año más tarde:

JC Bermúdez rompe el silencio

(Parte I)


Por: María Alejandra Pulgar

Juan-Carlos-BermudezJuan Carlos Bermúdez  terminó en Noviembre 2.012 su trabajo como Primer Alcalde de Doral con la frente en alto, muy orgulloso de sus logros en 9 años de trabajo honesto, dedicado e indiscutiblemente transparente, en el liderazgo de la ciudad que ayudó a construir.

El año pasado le entrevistamos como despedida, justo antes de las elecciones. Esta vez se encuentra más relajado y tranquilo. Aun maneja  su mismo auto, vive en la misma casa y trabaja en el mismo empleo. Ha aprovechado de disfrutar su familia y su trabajo y recuperó su salud. “He disfrutado mi vida y mi familia.”

Eligió dar sus declaraciones a Doral Family Journal porque somos, en sus propias palabras “un periódico fundado para proteger los intereses de la ciudad y que ha sido continuamente justo y honesto en sus reportajes.”

Esta es la primera parte de una larga conversación donde el Primer Alcalde rompió su silencio y expresó sus opiniones sobre las condiciones actuales de la ciudad que llama su hogar.

“Los cinco concejales deben trabajar juntos en la misma dirección”

“Creo que el cambio es inevitable y entiendo que una nueva administración tiene que hacer ciertas cosas a su manera.  Eso está bien porque un nuevo grupo de funcionarios electos tienen derecho a ir en la dirección que quieran ir.  Es importante que tengan en cuenta todo el trabajo duro que el Concejo y yo y muchas otras personas hicimos en el pasado para hacer de esta una gran ciudad y deben tomarlo como referencia en lugar de desecharlo.”

“Probablemente habría sido mejor para el alcalde entrante enfocarse en tratar de construir sobre lo existente en lugar de tratar de hacer cambios innecesarios. Todo el mundo tiene derecho a hacer las cosas a su manera y yo soy el primero en defenderlos en eso. Sin embargo deben tomar en cuenta que muchas personas trabajaron muy duro y debemos construir para mejorar las cosas,  no necesariamente cambiar por cambiar.”

“Por suerte tenemos un administrador que tiene experiencia, que ha sido alcalde de otra ciudad y que introdujo algunas cosas que creo que fueron  positivas para el presupuesto. En ese aspecto estoy seguro que el Sr. Carollo ha hecho un buen trabajo con sus recomendaciones. Hay algunas de ellas con las que no estoy de acuerdo, pero las personas pueden tener diferencias de opinión”

“El mayor problema, ha sido el enfoque en realizar cambios cuando aún tenemos muchas necesidades de infraestructura que cubrir. Necesitamos parques, carretera y vías de acceso. Esas son las cosas en las cuales el Concejo debería enfocarse de ahora en adelante.”

“No importa quién sea el administrador siempre que los 5 funcionarios electos trabajen en equipo para llevar la ciudad en la dirección correcta y para que eso ocurra es necesaria una clara visión de lo que desean hacer para la ciudad.”

“La visión correcta para este Alcalde y este Concejo habría sido continuar creciendo sobre las bases ya existentes, tratando siempre de mejorar. Se lo dije personalmente al Alcalde Boria el día que fue juramentado e inclusive se lo volví a decir después: Asegúrese de hacerlo mejor.”

“Y la segunda cosa que es importante, algo que veo ahora como residente y que repito para el Alcalde Boria: él tiene que entender que se necesitan al menos 3 votos para aprobar puntos y lograr mover la agenda que corresponda a cualquiera de los concejales.”

“No es un secreto que un par de los miembros del antiguo Concejo que originalmente eran mis amigos resultaron ser quienes atacaron a mi familia, a mi esposa y mis hijas y por desgracia todavía siguen atacándome. Dicho esto, sin embargo, en las reuniones siempre fueron tratados con respeto y escuchados sus puntos de vista y estuve de acuerdo con ellos cuando estaban en lo cierto.”

“Los lideres requieren trabajar en democracia, entendiendo que siempre trabajan con la palabra de la mayoría. Y esto significa que si el Concejo tiene una opinión diferente a la suya,  su rol como Oficial Jefe Electo de la Ciudad es ser quien ejecute ese punto de vista. No necesariamente tiene que ser el propio sino aquel  de la mayoría. Es decir que si 3 miembros del Concejo apoyan esa medida la decisión debe ser respetada.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

“Si pudiera aconsejar a quienes ocupan el estrado hoy, la mayoría de los cuales son amigos míos, yo les diría que, dejando a un lado las diferencias de opinión políticas o personales, lo que interesa es continuar avanzando con la ciudad. No creo que el liderazgo signifique la personalización de la posición que ocupas en el Concejo cuando estas supuesto a tomar las decisiones con el bienestar de la ciudad en mente.”

“Aun cuando no se lleven bien entre ellos, la gente de Doral ha escogido los 5 miembros del Concejo para gobernar la ciudad y deben hacer lo que debe ser su trabajo: Gobernar, trabajar en equipo y seguir adelante.”

“Yo sigo siendo un residente, eso es lo más importante y se lo he explicado al Alcalde Boria. Como residente por respeto a él y al Concejo no he dicho nada durante un año. Consideré que no era justo para el nuevo Alcalde estar recibiendo mis opiniones o quejas. He optado por no hacer comentarios públicos hasta ahora, pues era lo esperado, independientemente que estuviera o no en desacuerdo. “

“Pero como le dije recientemente, yo vivo en Doral, no pienso mudarme y muchos de nosotros trabajamos muy fuerte, incluyéndome a mí como Primer Alcalde, aun antes de la incorporación, para lograr que se convirtiera en la gran ciudad que es hoy.”

“Tengo el derecho a opinar porque soy residente y vivimos en una democracia y quiero que la gente sepa de mi desacuerdo con varias cosas.”

“La participación de la comunidad se ha incrementado”

 “Si algo positivo puede tomarse de todos estos ‘temas polémicos’ que han sucedido es que la participación y el interés de la comunidad se han incrementado.”

“En mi caso, y no es un secreto porque se lo dije personalmente al Alcalde, yo he apoyado la Doral Comunity Coalition que se creó en 2010 al unirse One Doral y West Dade Federation of Home Owners. Soy miembro activo y creo que es importante que tengamos organizaciones comunitarias para que la gente participe en los procesos de la ciudad.”

“El mayor peligro que han tenido nuestros países radica en la falta de participación ciudadana. Cuando eso sucede la democracia está en riesgo. No debemos apartarnos y dejar de participar.”

“Yo voy a involucrarme activamente en el Coalition, donde están personas como Morgan Levy, Jesse, Jones, Alberto Ruiz y mucha gente nueva. Es muy importante que aquellos de nosotros que trabajaron duro para la creación de la ciudad y a quienes le importa la comunidad sean capaces de participar y manifestar sus opiniones.”

“Y eso no significa que los 5 oficiales electos tienen que estar de acuerdo con nosotros, sino que por lo menos tienen que escucharnos y eso es muy importante. Esa es la diferencia entre democracia y dictadura. Si una cosa positiva podemos extraer de todos los acontecimientos recientes y de las diferencias existentes en Doral, es el incremento en la participación y el interés de los ciudadanos.”

“El enfoque del líder debe ser buscar la unidad en el Concejo, respetando la posición del administrador y dejarlo que se ocupe de la gestión de la ciudad mientras el Concejo se centra en las políticas públicas, relacionadas con seguridad, infraestructura, mantenimiento y calidad de vida pues ese es el tipo de gobierno que nuestra ciudad tiene”.

“Yo he sido respetuoso pero no he sido respetado”

“Hasta ahora me abstuve de dar declaraciones por respeto al Alcalde y las concejales, pues pensé que no era correcto estar expresando mis opiniones en público constantemente. No quise estar como otros miembros del anterior Concejo quienes han estado criticando y atacando públicamente, pero no de manera constructiva sino destructiva.”

“Mucha gente ha realizado un buen trabajo y yo decidí ser justo, respetar y no opinar, pero cuando constantemente encontré críticas a mi persona en periódicos y algunos miembros del Concejo aun continúan acosando a mi familia decidí que lo correcto es comunicar al público mis opiniones.”

“Un año observando ha sido suficiente. Yo vivo aquí y he hecho muchas cosas correctas por mi comunidad y estoy preocupado”.

“Las cosas solamente se solucionarán cuando los residentes se expresen y participen. Y cuando hablo de residentes no es solo aquellos que se paran y repiten lo que los oficiales electos quieren oír sino aquellos que verdaderamente expresan sus opiniones. Los ciudadanos tienen que estar muy alerta con las personas que quieren regresara a la palestra política en Doral y no tienen buenas intenciones.”

“Ha llegado el momento de expresar mis opiniones con todo el derecho que me da ser residente de Doral y nadie puede ser tan injusto de negarme el derecho a opinar. No hablo en nombre de ninguna organización sino como individuo, como residente que ha sido respetuoso y ha sido irrespetado. Ya estoy cansado. Tengo derecho a opinar.”

En nuestra siguiente edición #57 podrá leer la parte final de esta exclusiva entrevista.


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