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Gov. DeSantis prepared to send state resources to ensure safe Miami Beach Spring Break

Gov. DeSantis prepared to send state resources to ensure safe Miami Beach Spring Break
Gov. DeSantis prepared to send state resources to ensure safe Miami Beach Spring Break 03:18

MIAMI BEACH - During a stop in Miami Beach on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state would help the city with whatever resources to help curb problems tied to Spring Break after last year's violence left two people dead and dozens of people in jails.

That drew applause from business owners, residents and city officials as he said, "I have told the Mayor will provide the resources needed to be able to assist with Spring Break and not have it turn into some melee. We are not going to let the streets be taken over and we are not going to allow the residents who live here to have their quality of life diminished and we are not going to allow businesses to be hurt by pubic disorder on the street.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces two initiatives in Miami Beach 02:46

He said "We have sent a lot of people to help from the FHP and FDLE, I am here to say these are resources now. I want to get ahead of this and we don't want to have to come here and stop this. We don't want to have certain areas where businesses can't function. Safety is a top priority. We want spring break to go smoothly and we understand how important it is to restaurants and hotels. This is their livelihood."

Miami Beach announced a crackdown on spring break last Wednesday, saying there would be limited entries to Miami Beach and said officers would be working 12-hour shifts and would be joined by FHP and the FDLE and there would be traffic plans for neighborhoods. There will also be security and DUI checkpoints and license plate readers and daily parking would be $100 and towing would be $500 for vehicles.

Mayor Steve Meiner told CBS News Miami's Peter D'Oench "We are going to have a lot of police presence and there are going to be DUI checkpoints. We are getting the message out that we are going to enforce our laws. Don't come here looking for troubles."

Betty Behar listened intently to the Governor's speech. She has owned the Chewing Gum Ladies Boutique on Arthur Godfrey Road for 39 years and she said she applauded what the Governor said. She said "O think he is protecting our state. He is protecting Miami Beach."

She said her business had suffered because of problems tied to Spring Break.

"It does hurt my business," she said. "People are afraid to walk out because my business is based on families and people walking. They want to protect themselves from that."

During an extended speech, DeSantis also said that lawmakers are going to do everything they can in this legislative session to keep Florida on the right track.

The governor said paying down the debt remains a top priority.

"I'd like to point out that you look at what's going on in Washington with all the amount of debt that they're racking up, you know, we've paid down 25 percent of Florida's debt just in the last five years. So our debt is going down, it's going up federally, and your share of the national debt as a US citizen is over $100,000 per American, your share of Florida's debt as a Florida resident is about $600," he said.

DeSantis said if you look at other states, Florida has managed their budget well and will continue to do so.

"We're also going to continue to ensure that we're investing in things like education. Our education is ranked number one by US News and World Report. Part of that is because we've got very affordable high quality higher education, which we're proud of, tuition is very manageable for Florida residents, we've held the line on that we'll continue to do that," said DeSantis.

He added that in addition to affordability, choice is also important.

Here in Miami Dade, you have more choices than probably anywhere in the country, certainly for an urban district. It's not even close when you have the choice within the school districts, the charter schools, the private scholarships, that's really empowered parents and it's allowed us to produce much better results. So we're gonna continue to do that," said DeSantis.

The governor pointed out that in his budget he called for an increase in teachers' salaries.

DeSantis said he takes pride in the fact that Florida is a law and order state.

"We take pride in maintaining public order and making sure that people have good quality of life, to be able to live their lives to be able to raise their kids that they have kids to be able to retire and peace and tranquility. Those are things that are all really important. You're not seeing that in many parts of this country, unfortunately," he said.

The governor said when he's spoken to people who have moved here from other states, some have told him that they did not feel their former their public officials were doing enough to keep communities safe.

"I mean, you look at places like San Francisco where you can rob the stores blind and they don't do anything. I've met people who've moved to Miami Beach from San Francisco who had their homes broken into and the perpetrators weren't prosecuted, even though they were caught, they weren't prosecuted. How's this supposed to be happening? People are, sometimes when they're charged with crimes, they just get released back onto the street. It's like a revolving door and that causes the quality of life to collapse," he said.

DeSantis said some great areas of the country are having some of the worst times. He said it's important to see where they failed and where Florida has to go as a state.

"One of the things that I saw in these areas, and that I think people here are familiar with, is how the homelessness and the drugs and the crime have just really made it miserable for law-abiding people in many of these parts. You can go to like Los Angeles and there's just like tent cities everywhere, on the sidewalk, on public areas, and it's not something that you can actually have a vibrant society when things like that are happening," he said.

The governor said the legislature is considering doing something to just ensure that, from a statewide perspective, no Florida city will turn into a San Francisco.

"Not on our watch. We're not going to let that happen. We're gonna have protection for people. I'm joined here by the Mayor of Miami Beach and Mayor Steven Meinor, he's of the same mind. He doesn't want Miami Beach to turn into some of what you've seen. We understand the policies that have led to that," said DeSantis. "We're the third most populous state in the nation, but we don't have any of the 10 highest homeless for cities. Those are primarily congregated on the West Coast, places like LA, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, even Denver as you get into the Rockies, of course, New York City has that."

The governor questioned their policies which he said led to the creation of this type of environment. He said that's not happened in Florida.

"We had over the last 10 years, homelessness has gone down in Florida, it's gone up in some of these other states. But at the same time, you know, we understand this stuff can change very, very quickly. So we feel that if the legislature is willing to lean in on this, that we want to be there to be able to offer support, but it's got to be done right," he said.

DeSantis said his administration is going to work with the legislature to find ways to keep the streets clean and communities safe.

"That will require at least some of the following measures. We need to prohibit camping on all city streets, sidewalks, and parks, we just can't live like that in the state of Florida," he said.

DeSantis said some local governments may not agree with his measures but the state needs to have the tools to be able to ensure that these rules are being complied with.

"I am open to providing financial support for communities for things like sheltering, also for things that try to address some of the mental health problems that we see with people on the street. I think that's totally something that we can agree to do, to be able to help deal with some of the problems like this, as well as substance abuse," he said.

DeSantis said it all goes to accountability and pointed to a recent trip to San Francisco as an example.

"When you actually show up and see it. Within two minutes of being on the ground there, you see somebody defecating on the sidewalk, that's just not something that just happens as a matter. Of course, I see people using drugs, shooting up drugs on the street, open air, drug markets, all this stuff, crime happening without anybody really being held accountable. That is just not something that works," said the governor.
"Policy is facilitating that and clearly there is an underlying issue that you're seeing with mental illness that has not been addressed very well."

He said he wants protections so that Florida doesn't follow the same path and wants to incentivize continued success in the state. 

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