A Mayor's Calm Voice

Dan Gelber of Miami Beach gets it just right

Here on Sanibel Island, Spring Break means more bumper-to-bumper traffic on Periwinkle Way, but otherwise things are pretty calm. Not so 163 miles away in Miami Beach.

I will be talking with Judie Zimomra, the city manager of Sanibel this week for my Kindle Chronicles show. She’s no doubt getting more sleep lately than Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach. As the pandemic winds down, thousands of Spring Breakers have descended on Gelber’s city. Yesterday he announced an 8 p.m. curfew to keep things from getting completely out of hand.

What impressed me about Mayor Gelber in watching several video clips this morning was how calm he sounded. Good for him, because I know how hard it is for me to be calm after a sleepless night. A few spilled beans from the coffee grinder can launch me into a low orbit.

The Mayor sent a clear message in his many Zoom interviews: “If you’re coming here to go crazy, go somewhere else. We don’t want you.”

There is an art to delivering a strong message like that in a calm, relaxed tone. The Mayor of Miami Beach got it just right, over and over, talking with the various news networks.

Did he sit for five minutes in silence before each interview? Has he been in the middle of enough tense situations that he can find his still center whenever he needs it? I don’t know. But I admire him, and when coffee beans get spilled today here in Sanibel, I will attempt to channel his calming voice.