Originally by Monica Correa for Miami Today News
The former CEO of MTV Networks International, who brought MTV Latin America to Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, is running for city mayor, saying some of the city’s most persistent problems are not complicated issues.
William “Bill” Harvey Roedy Jr. is running to be mayor along with commissioners Michael C. Gongora and Steven J. Meiner and former Florida Rep. Michael C. Grieco, who in 2017, while running for mayor, dropped out of the race after a Miami-Dade state attorney began a criminal corruption probe regarding ties of his campaign to a political action committee founded by two of his associates.
Mr. Roedy, born and raised in Miami Beach, is running for office for the first time, seeking to succeed Mayor Dan Gelber, whose term ends this year.
After graduating from North Miami High School, he volunteered for military duty during the Vietnam War and also served as commander at three NATO nuclear missile bases in Italy. Mr. Roedy became captain and earned a Bronze Star, an Air Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and a Meritorious Service Medal.
Later, he graduated from Harvard Business School with a master’s in business administration and co-founded HBO as a startup in the late ’70s, he said. For 10 years, he was vice president of the entertainment platform. He then became chairman and CEO of MTV Networks International, leading a global operation of200 channels by 20 brands, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and VHI, in 200 countries for 22 years.
He was the cofounding chair of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and in 1998 became the first ambassador of UNAIDS, a United Nations joint venture focused on fighting AIDS worldwide. After retiring in 2010, he became an ambassador and vice chair of the Global Alliance of Vaccination and Immunization, and the chair of the Foundation for AIDS
Research. He has also worked in initiatives such as Rock the Vote, inciting the youth to vote.
“There are challenges [in the city],” he said, “crime, safety, and we need to end spring break as we know it. It has damaged the brand severely, not only in the states, but also internationally. We got to stop gun violence, stop drug trafficking, which we still see on Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue. [We need] preservation and development to get that balance right, and more action and solutions to the homeless, which I see every day as I walk down the streets.”
When it comes to traffic, he said, “it’s not a complicated issue.”
“I am shocked that there is not much coordination between the state, the county and the city,” he said. “Even the traffic lights are not coordinated with the traffic flow. Perhaps we need moratoriums on [construction], controlling curb use, and negotiating with deliveries during rush hours.
More enforcement on side street parking is also needed, he said. “I find that code enforcement tends to focus on parking lots [more] because it’s easier. Trolleys, we need more of them. They’re free, they’re good. And we need a lot more bike lanes.
These are short-term solutions that would not take a lot of money, he said.
Crime is another issue that cannot be accepted, he said, “just because this is an entertainment destination.”
“My vision is to have the finest police department in the country, with the best training,” he said, “compensated well, but also accountable, and having their backs during high weekends, where we have these insane situations, like in spring break. We need more [police] workforce and we need to get them more resources. Basic things like create more lighting, more visibility for the police, less guns, and ways to confiscate them.”