By The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter – Sharon Elster, Editor

On Wednesday evening, September 28, 2016, a Candidate’s Forum was held at Sunny Isles Beach Government Center giving voters the chance to meet and learn about the candidates running for Seat 1 [Northern District] Mendel Bergovoy and Larisa Svechin; and Seat 3 [Southern District] Greg Capra and incumbent Dana Goldman. This well-attended event was organized by the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Sunny Isles Beach.

The evening moved at a lively pace holding everyone’s interest thanks to an excellent job by moderator Brian Andrews. Candidates were allowed 1 minute to respond to each question giving the audience an opportunity to decide which candidates were best informed on important issues affecting our City. Towards the end, a round of questions submitted by citizens were put in a basket, randomly chosen by audience members, then given to a candidate to answer. Unfortunately many of those questions were disqualified for being directed to or about a specific candidate. For future events, clearer rules should be given on the correct form of questions, and we also suggest this be televised, making it available to all Sunny Isles Beach voters.

We use a four part criteria – civic involvement, educational/professional qualifications, work/professional history and personal character to determine how we make our selections. After careful review of all the candidates, The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter recommends and endorses the following two candidates we believe will best serve our community.

Commissioner Dana Goldman [Seat 3] has proven herself to be an outstanding member of the Commission. She has performed her duties as Commissioner with integrity and has worked tirelessly to support those issues that improve our quality of life.

Whether the debate is over responsible development of our City and preventing high rise building on the west side of Collins Avenue; traffic and safety concerns [she encouraged a traffic reduction survey]; taking on serious condominium issues like fraud; overcrowding and pressing to reduce the number of illegal out-of-district students in our Norman S. Edelcup K-8 School where her own daughter is a student; or meeting the needs of our senior residents; Commissioner Dana Goldman will always go that extra mile to do what she believes is right.

Dana Goldman’s gracious and caring demeanor combined with her impeccable law credentials [she is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Brandeis University and graduate of George Washington School of Law], her multifaceted work experience and her ability to interact so well with people has made her an invaluable asset to our City. She is one of the finest elected officials to ever serve and we believe she is most worthy of your vote.

Larisa Svechin [Seat 1] made a solid impression with her intelligent and informed responses on the issues this City faces. Her deep ties to this community and the efforts she has already put forth are duly noted and much appreciated.

Larisa is an accomplished business professional. She held the position of Senior Vice President at the largest media agency in the world. Her dedication in serving the public includes leadership roles with such organizations as Miami Beach Jewish Federation; Citizen’s Coalition for Public Education; Sunny Isles Beach Exploratory Committee for the Comprehensive Plan; former Board President of Friends of Oleta River Park; Board Member of Sunny Isles Beach Foundation; and the Sunny Isles Beach School Trust.

Larisa Svechin is the highly regarded President of our P.T.A. and well known in our community. Her commitment to education benefits all of us. Larisa is married and the mother of four children. It is fair to say that she has a vested interest in Sunny Isles Beach and will make an excellent addition to the Sunny Isles Beach Commission.

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  1. Bob says:

    Thank you for a providing this service to the community. I was present at the forum and agree with your recommendations. I would like to make a suggestion. I feel that side by side comparisons of the candidates would have been helpful in backing up your recommendations for those who could not attend. Physically being there probably played a large role in decision-making, and there were a few missteps by the candidates you did not recommend that would have been worth noting. For example, at the opening all candidates were given a few minutes to introduce themselves. There was only one candidate, Greg Capra, who read a prepared written speech. The others spoke from the heart. Greg came across as robotic and looked like he couldn’t care less about being there. Also, when asked about the flooding problems in the city he seemed confused and, instead, addressed beach erosion. The other candidate not endorsed, Mendel Bergovoy, did not appear to have any current business experience that would convince voters that he has the background or the ability to do the job. There were many other comparisons to be made but these are just a few. I think these are the kinds of important details the community needs to be made aware of, so I can see why you recommended the ones you did. I hope in the future the Sunny Isles Beach Reporter will provide a broader assessment of the candidates

  2. Arnold Klein says:

    I have read with interest the comments and recommendations herewith contained. Am disappointed that only Dana Goldman addressed the problem of non resident SIB students attending our schools. One only has to observe the constrictive traffic jams adjacent to the school, North Bay Road and the Publix parking lot. There is a sign in their lot restricting parking for pick up school attendees but there is no enforcement. The manager stated that they asked for cooperation from our police dept but were turned down claiming Publix’s lot was private property.Might I suggest that resident stickers ,based upon proof of residency be placed on the vehicle so as to insure that only SIB resident students attend our school and the police, already there, can check the cars for SIB residency or that school buses be utilized more efficiently to
    accommodate these students.
    This problem has increased yearly and so far, there has been no positive action taken by the Commission to correct this dangerous situation.
    My congratulations to Commissioner Goldman for her continued efforts to correct this problem.
    Think it would be appropriate for the other candidates to declare their support of Commissioner Goldman and follow through after election

  3. Josephine says:

    Would somebody please tell Greg Crapra that no one cares about his private lawsuit at his condo and to please start telling us residents what he’s going to do for the city?

    • Linda says:

      I agree. My perception of this person is that he has a serious mean streak to his personality. And honestly I am uncomfortable with the fact that he is targeting a female commissioner in such a nasty manner. It shows he doesn’t value women, especially one who is juggling a full time job and motherhood. All he is concerned about is a lawsuit from five years ago.
      I believe that candidates who come out swinging against their opponent have nothing themselves to offer so they go on the attack. Who would vote for someone like this? He should be ashamed.

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