By Howard Cohen
Come campaign season — and, in Sunny Isles Beach, it still is campaign season for one open commission seat — political signs are a common sight.
But one candidate is singing the blues over what she sees as too few signs: her own.
Jeniffer Viscarra won the most votes in the general election in November in a three-person race for Commissioner Roslyn Brezin’s commission seat. Brezin is termed out.
But Viscarra did not go over the magic 50 percent number so she must face Isaac Aelion in a runoff election on Dec. 7.
Over the last few weeks, Viscarra claims 24 of her campaign signs were removed from RK properties in the city while Aelion’s remain visible up and down Collins Avenue, the main artery in the community.
“I lost a very important weekend of visibility in the city,” Viscarra said.
The problem? She says that Dan Katz, a top executive with RK Associates, a family-owned real estate development company that specializes in community shopping centers, reneged on a verbal agreement to allow her to place her signs on his properties.
Katz would not respond to two phone calls and an email.
“They are within their rights to do that,” Viscarra said.
According to the Sunny Isles Beach city code, the consent of the owner of the property is required to post political signs or distributed campaign materials on private property.
“Over the years, the city has placed the burden on the candidates to provide us with some form of notice that they have obtained the consent of the property owners,” said Sunny Isles Beach City Attorney Hans Ottinot.
“We do not request a lot information. Email consent notice from the candidate is sufficient,” he said.
“If the property owners have consented to the placement of the signs, the city has no issue with the signs. We take no action on private property unless we received a request from the owner.”
This way, Ottinot said, the city is able to deal with complaints from property owners or candidates efficiently.
“We do not want to be caught in a political game.”
However, Viscarra said she had consent from Katz but then he changed his mind. She said she was not called before going to the expense of printing and replacing signs. She estimates she spent $900 on the campaign signs.
“My opponent is a [RK] tenant,” said Viscarra, who said she met with the property owner. “They told me they were neutral and I can put up my signs.”
According to state records, Aelion runs a wine shop, Wines of Tuscany, located inside a shopping center owned by RK Associates.
Viscarra said she believed Aelion asked his landlord to take down her signs.
“I don’t begrudge them protecting their interest but don’t give me a song and dance about being neutral and trying to be fair,” she said.
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