Councilmember-Elect Josh Dieguez outlines his plans

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 0 Comments

Councilmember-Elect Josh Dieguez outlines his plans

Miami Lakes resident Josh Dieguez was elected to the Miami Lakes Town Council in August when he ran unopposed for Seat 4 for the November 6 election, replacing Frank Mingo, who resigned to run for State Representative.

At 29 years-old, the Councilmember-elect is the second youngest person in town history who will serve on the Miami Lakes Town Council for the next two years, and is projected to be a rising star in local government.

Dieguez, who joins Councilmembers-elect Jeffrey Rodriguez and Carlos Alvarez as the town’s new elected voices, took time out of his busy schedule to do a Question and Answer interview with The Miami Laker, which focuses on his campaign, vision for Miami Lakes, the top issues residents want him to address, the search for a new town manager and his relationship with Mingo.

Q. How long have you lived in Miami Lakes?

A. I have lived in Miami Lakes since 1989 – 29 years.

Q. What is your occupation?

A. I am an attorney at my family’s law firm, Dieguez & Associates, PLLC, which has been located in Miami Lakes since 2002.

Q. Please list any civic and communities duties?

A. I have been a member of the following boards:

 2018- present, Florida Bar Association, Business Law Section; 2016-present, Miami Lakes Bar Association (Board Member, 2018-present); 2016, Charter Revision Commission; 2014-2018, Elderly Affairs Committee; 2013-2018, Neighborhood Improvement Committee (Chair, 2013-2016).

Q. What was your initial reaction when you learned you ran unopposed?

A. I learned I won unopposed from a barrage of congratulatory texts received in the middle of a mediation. It was a great but surreal feeling to learn that I had gone from being just a teenager addressing the Town Council in years past to a member of it. I also saw it as a validation of my message that I was the best candidate in Seat 4 to address the critical and destiny defining decisions that lie ahead of us because I’m a lifelong resident with a history of involvement in the community stretching back to 2005 when I was a town intern passing out boat storage variances. Of course, because I was in the middle of mediation, I didn’t get to fully appreciate all this until later that night.

Q. During your campaign, what were some of the top issues residents want you to address?

A. The most common issues I would hear about as I went door to door can be grouped into two categories: traffic mitigation and beautification.

Residents want us to focus on speeding up long promised traffic improvements and to ensure any new development occurs on our terms. They also variously spoke of the need for more frequent tree trimming, better code compliance efforts, and preserving our tree canopy.

The third most common issue, which primarily was found on the West side of town, is the need to address rock mining blasting, which is causing considerable property damage. Although I did not hear as much about it during my campaign, public safety has emerged as an increasingly important issue on websites and social media pages due to a consistent string of car break ins.

I have also been approached to work on providing a new fire rescue truck dedicated to Miami Lakes to more appropriately handle local emergencies, particularly once the Senior Village is completed.

Q. What is your vision for the Town of Miami Lakes?

A. As someone who grew up in Miami Lakes from infancy to adulthood, I fully understand and appreciate its founding vision and the inevitable pressure on that vision because of changes not just here but also in the surrounding area.

My vision of Miami Lakes, therefore, can best be described as one that adheres to the original plan but adapts it for the future based on the needs and desires of our residents. For example, for me, the core of Miami Lakes is its relative quietness, its long-standing families, and great community events and programs for our kids and seniors. These characteristics can be protected by, among other things, remaining relentlessly focused on traffic mitigation efforts, keeping property taxes low, preserving existing events and programs as best as possible, and stepping up our efforts in the area of public safety.

Q. You will be part of the council that picks the next town manager. In your opinion, what should the town manager's duties reflect?

A. There are a variety of town initiatives which are at a critical point, especially our transportation master plan. Therefore, I am looking for a candidate who is ready to go on day one and can leverage existing relationships at the county and state level to fast track our plans and who are aware of available funding sources to help us finance these initiatives independent of our own taxes and fees.

I am also looking for someone who understands the unique nature of our town government and shares my desire to protect the original vision of the Town while updating it to meet today’s resident expectations. Finally, our next Town Manager is someone who must serve the Council and residents with competence, integrity, and fairness.

Q. Rate the performances of the current Town Council?

A. The Town Council has done a great job holding the line on our property tax rate, completing long promised projects like the Youth Center and Optimist Clubhouse, protecting and expanding community programs our residents have come to expect, developing long term plans for transportation and other policy areas, and standing firm in the face of an unjust lawsuit that would have depleted the town’s limited financial resources. Did everything always go according to plan? No. Nevertheless they all served to the best of their ability according to the skill sets they bring and have delivered for Miami Lakes.

Q. Any thoughts on replacing Vice Mayor Frank Mingo?

A. Frank is a friend who I have known since I was in junior high where his son was my classmate. He has been an effective and fiscally conservative council member and I am proud to have played a part in helping him get elected to the Council in 2013 and to enthusiastically support his candidacy for the Florida House of Representatives. I am also excited to assume a council seat that has been held by other friends as well –  Nelson Hernandez and Bob Meador.

Q. During your first term, which direction would you like to see the town moving.

A. I want to see the Town continue to be a family first community, but one that provides amenities for all our residents – the young, young at heart, and everyone in between.

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