For Miami-Dade Mayor, Announcing Deaths Is a Painful Part of the Job

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U.S.|For Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, announcing the achy toll is portion of the job.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/03/us/building-collapse-miami-mayor-daniella-levine-cava.html

The politician of Miami-Dade County, small known extracurricular Florida earlier the Surfside collapse, has helped the satellite way the fig of dormant and missing.

Miami-Dade County mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, speaking during a quality    league  wherever  she announced that 4  much  victims had been recovered  successful  the rubble successful  Surfside, Fla., connected  Wednesday.
Credit...Jose A Iglesias/Miami Herald, via Associated Press

Patricia MazzeiMitch Smith

Published July 3, 2021Updated July 4, 2021, 9:28 a.m. ET

At astir each quality conference, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava steps to the microphone and delivers atrocious news: The fig of radical known to person died successful the condo illness successful Surfside, Fla. — and the adjacent larger fig who are inactive missing.

The achy ritual has made Ms. Levine Cava, a Democrat little than a twelvemonth into her tenure arsenic politician of Miami-Dade County, a regular beingness connected televisions crossed the country. And it has brought a dependable to the immense grief — and the dilatory slice of anticipation — arsenic update aft update has passed without rescue crews uncovering immoderate survivors.

“I americium liable for what’s happening connected this site,” Ms. Levine Cava said Friday successful an interview, connected a time erstwhile she announced 4 further confirmed deaths, including that of the 7-year-old girl of a firefighter. “It is my work to study the hard news. Then, others who person method information, they supply it to backmost it up. But it’s my occupation to springiness the atrocious news.”

Ms. Levine Cava, 65, who spent decades arsenic a lawyer and societal services enforcement earlier entering politics, was small known beyond South Florida earlier Champlain Towers South collapsed connected June 24. In the days since, she has go 1 of the faces of the response: Coordinating authorities agencies, fielding questions and disapproval from the families of the missing, delivering televised messages successful English and successful Spanish.

Ms. Levine Cava, who took bureau successful November arsenic the archetypal pistillate to service arsenic politician of Florida’s largest county, and the archetypal Democrat to clasp the bureau successful 16 years, has recovered herself facing a situation of a magnitude fewer section officials ever encounter.

Though she has shared the signifier with a agelong database of elected officials from some parties — from President Biden to Gov. Ron DeSantis to members of Congress and the politician of Surfside — Ms. Levine Cava has kept the hardest job, announcing the decease toll, for herself. Sometimes she pauses arsenic she updates the figures. Sometimes she asks for prayer. Other times she acknowledges the achy hold for those whose loved ones person inactive not been found.

“She has to springiness that accusation — it’s expected,” said Alex Penelas, a erstwhile Miami-Dade County politician who praised Ms. Levine Cava’s response. “But she’s got to springiness it with compassion, with feeling, with emotion. These are not conscionable numbers. These are lives.”

At galore quality conferences, Ms. Levine Cava speaks aft Mr. DeSantis, a Republican who has been omnipresent successful Surfside since the collapse.

It was yet the mayor’s determination to intermission enactment connected Thursday erstwhile engineers disquieted that the remainder of the operation could collapse. And it was her determination a time aboriginal to bid the demolition of that structure, meaning families who escaped volition not beryllium capable to retrieve their belongings.

“I’m counting connected the engineers to archer maine it’s unstable — I’m not going to override them connected a information contented similar that,” the politician said. “But I’m going to get progressive successful what were the factors considered, whether everyone was consulted, whether each the expertise connected the tract was utilized.”

The demolition was initially expected to instrumentality a fewer weeks to arrange. But connected Saturday, officials announced that it would beryllium fast-tracked to instrumentality spot arsenic soon arsenic Monday, due to the fact that of an approaching tropical storm.

The politician besides ordered an audit of aging buildings wrong the county’s jurisdiction, and urged cities to bash the aforesaid — a measurement that has already led to the evacuation of a operation successful North Miami Beach.

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