Last week, Florida Democrat gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham was busy hypocritically attacking others on transparency, even though before leaving Congress she blocked the release of records covering how she used her influence as a Washington politician to benefit her political ambitions.
Now, her opponent Philip Levine, is also facing accusations of hypocrisy. As Mayor of Miami Beach, Levine imposed $20,000 fines on residents who use Airbnb for short-term rentals. Levine has even argued the fines, which are the highest in the country, aren’t high enough. Only a few months ago, after Airbnb shared an article questioning this policy, Levine had a full-blown meltdown, demanding the company stay out of Miami Beach and accusing them of “Mafia tactics.”
But now that he is running for governor, Levine is exempting himself from his own standards, campaigning at an Airbnb home on Wednesday.
Floridians deserve better than politicians who consistently fail to live up to their own rhetoric.
Miami Herald: How $20,000 Fines Have Made Miami Beach an Airbnb Battleground
... “I think [the fines] can be increased, actually,” said Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. “$20,000 is not enough. Our community is not in favor of short-term rentals.”
The city’s economic giant, the tourism industry, feels short-term rentals should be on an even playing field with hotels, paying taxes and complying with regulations. Real estate experts worry that short-term rentals reduce the long-term rental pool in an area already suffering from a shortage of workforce housing.
While Miami-Dade County has engaged in ongoing talks with Airbnb about a possible tax agreement (about half of all rentals are spread out across 72 ZIP codes in the county; the other half stayed at Miami Beach’s three ZIP codes), Miami Beach Mayor Levine said he has been “approached many times” by Airbnb about negotiating a compromise but ultimately feels short-term rentals don’t have a place in the resort city.
“I just don’t believe it works on Miami Beach,” Levine said.