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Comment on any of the postings or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter would like it noted that at no time has any Sunny Isles Beach elected official written any articles for the Sunny Isles Beach Reporter while in service of our City. The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter prides itself on being independently For the People, By the People & About the People. We have made every attempt to include only material that is, to our knowledge, totally factual and can be supported by documentation, supplied upon request. We welcome any comments or corrections, if available in writing, and will publish and/or retract anything that can be so shown to have been factually incorrect.
Books have always played a very special role in my life. As a young child I loved to read and that continues to this day. I have passed my love of books on to my children, as they have to their children. So it is with great admiration that I present an outstanding woman whose books have captured the imagination of young children everywhere.
Brianna Caplan Sayres is a bestselling author of children’s books. Her series, “Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night,” published by Random House has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. I can personally attest that my two grandsons, ages 5 and 7, are huge fans of Brianna. Here is a partial list of some of her books: https://bookshop.org/lists/picture-books-by-brianna-caplan-sayres
Brianna is a graduate of Brandeis University and Bank Street College of Education, and she is an award-winning Jewish educator who received the 2016 Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. She lives in Seattle and is the mother of two young sons who have often given her inspiration. Brianna’s author website: http://www.BriannaCaplanSayres.com
Brianna’s latest endeavor has been received with great excitement. Brianna is now Founder and Editor of Intergalactic Afikoman, a new Jewish children’s book publishing company whose mission is to create “out-of-this-world Jewish books for today’s Jewish kids.” Intergalactic Afikoman’s website: http://www.IntergalacticAfikoman.com
“Asteroid Goldberg: Passover in Outer Space” by Brianna Caplan Sayres with illustrations by Merrill Rainey is among the first books published by Intergalactic Afikoman. Brianna is thrilled and honored that her out-of-this-world Passover fantasy was listed as one of the best Jewish children’s books of 2020 by Marjorie Ingall in Tablet Magazine. The premise – a young Jewish girl gets stuck in outer space for Passover so she plans a celestial seder. “Such a Library! A Yiddish Folktale Re-Imagined” by Jill Ross Nadler and illustrated by Esther van den Berg contains many wonderful and funny details hidden in Esther’s illustrations. “DIJ – Do It Jewish: Use Your Jewish Creativity!” by award-winning Jewish children’s book author Barbara Bietz and illustrated by Daria Grinevich is a Jewish creativity mentor in a book for the creative Jewish child in your life. And a book coming out in the Fall of 2021, “Fighting Climate Change Is A Mitzvah,” will profile young Jewish climate activists including Brianna’s own 14 year old son.
“The primary goal of Intergalactic Afikoman is readability,” says Sayres. “We are aiming to publish books that children re-read again and again. Our goal is to publish the absolutely best quality of Jewish children’s literature.”
Creative and original books such as these are vital for today’s young Jewish children so they can develop a love of reading and should be available in every library.
By The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter, Sharon Elster, Editor
By Marc Mogil, J.D.
QUESTION: What do luxury SIB beachfront hotels, and annual lawless events like “Rolling Loud,” “Urban Beach Week,” “Martin Luther King Motorcycle Weekend,” hip hop and rap concerts in Miami Beach, the stadium in Miami Gardens, and Miami-Dade have in common?
ANSWER: Bullets, drive-by shootings, street fights, and gross disrespect for law and law enforcement by common thugs seeking any opportunity to assault each other. Although these “attractions” are not held in SIB, the luxury suites for partying participants overnight accommodations are here.
We tragically lost a well-known innocent SIB resident to a wayward bullet to the head in an attempted gang assassination in front of Trump International Beach Resort. Bullets flew between an ambushing Escalade SUV, and a rap “star’s” (sic) bodyguards, all staying at that hotel with the rapper. Outrageous!
I have been in contact with SIB City officials, and I suggest the following be considered to prevent us from losing our reputation as an upscale, cultured, crime-free residential and tourist destination. Up until now, in 22 years, there has never been a street murder! To wit:
(1) As is already the policy in Florida schools, hospitals, and post offices, have hotels here agree to be declared “gun-free zones,” except for police officers and those who have contacted management in writing prior to arrival indicating why a licensed firearm is required to protect life, (i.e. a businessman traveling with a large amount of diamonds, et seq.). That would make so-called bodyguards to rap stars non-existent, and a crime should they attempt to sneak guns into these hotels without advance consent.
(2) Have hotels impose much higher rates, or surcharges, on weekends when an influx is planned nearby, which should be used for private armed security to watch the special groups on the premises. This surcharge would vary based on the nature of the event, and the anticipated degree of risk to public order. If the wealthy hotel owners don’t agree to comply, make them realize they’ll be held responsible by the City for any violence on their properties, as well as police overtime as the City determines is required to maintain public safety on their properties.
(3) Like in Miami Beach for “Urban Beach Week,” the City should plaster Collins Avenue in front of these hotels with uniformed police officers in marked vehicles. Let all visitors know we will not tolerate ANY violation of law or other quintessential “urban conduct.” We should never allow ourselves to become yet another zone for the “east coast – west coast” insanity!
If the City, in conference with neighboring communities and our SIB hotels don’t act forcefully with all steps necessary, we risk becoming a city of both wealth with regular and periodic incidents of violent crime harming innocent residents.
Mayor Scholl and Commissioners: We are counting on you to take action.
By The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter – Sharon Elster, Editor
The November 6, 2018 election in Sunny Isles Beach is unique in that there will be only one active race in our City – Commission Seat 2 – which is Winston Towers, the largest voting bloc in Sunny Isles Beach.
We have three candidates running for Seat 2 in Winston Towers. We reached out by email to all the candidates requesting they provide us with basic information that would assist us in presenting their qualifications to voters. We received no response whatsoever from two of the candidates – David Yaacov Grossman and Felix Kizhner. We did receive a very forthright and comprehensive response from Alex Lama, so we will begin with Mr. Lama.
ALEX LAMA is 47 years old and has lived in Sunny Isles Beach since 1988. He and his wife Rocio Sylvia Lama have two children, son Nicolas and daughter Bianca. Mr. Lama is a true Sunny Isles Beach local. He is a graduate of North Miami Beach H.S., his mother, aunts and cousins live here as well, and his children are third generation Sunny Isles Beach residents. Mr. Lama has been witness to thirty years of positive growth and change in our City.
Mr. Lama received his B.S. in Communications [Major: Advertising, Minor: Marketing] from Florida International University in 1995 where he was President of the Advertising Federation [1994-95]. Mr. Lama is currently head of advertising sales at Media Brokers Group. He has worked for Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and previously worked for nearly two decades in advertising and marketing for Spanish-English language television and the digital media industry, focusing on international corporate accounts. Mr. Lama has worked for Disney-ESPN, Telefonica, Universal Studios and Viacom.
Mr. Lama is a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee of Sunny Isles Beach since April 2018. He was approved and appointed by the City Commission to offer input on issues affecting the community. Since 2014 he has been a member of the PTSA of the Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8 School.
He also serves as Treasurer of the Winston Towers 300 Board of Directors since 2016, and with the Board, Mr. Lama is part of the clean-up crew tasked with correctly finishing the balcony and pool projects which were badly mismanaged by previous Boards in the past. Under their new leadership the building now has healthy finances.
Mr. Lama has taken well thought out positions to remedy crucial City issues such as traffic, vehicular and pedestrian safety. Mr. Lama supports the Adaptive Traffic System – a computerized system which adjusts in real time based on flow of traffic. He backs putting together a team that will work with FDOT, bring in experts in traffic mitigation and safety to come up with the best, most sustainable solutions. He strongly supports responsible and balanced development and zoning on the west side, which prevents building more than 14 stories and the City’s buying of land on the west side to mitigate more development. On the issue of beach erosion, he advocates working with the Army Corps of Engineers who are experts in developing a solution that will prevent our sand from traveling east and enact other remedies to help the situation.
School overcrowding due to approximately 400 students that have been fraudulently registered is another priority. Mr. Lama wants to work on a verification system with the Miami-Dade school district to resolve this. When our community center is completed, Mr. Lama wants to ensure that suitable programs are created for our “beloved” seniors [who Mr. Lama calls the pioneers of this City], children and adults to meet and socialize as neighbors. And, Mr. Lama wants to protect the Home Rule Act so our City keeps its right for self-determination and be able to fix local issues ourselves without depending on state legislation.
DAVID YAACOV GROSSMAN is a 39 year old resident of Winston Towers 400. He is divorced and has two children. We are not aware of any participation by Mr. Grossman in the community affairs of our City and he did not respond to our request for background information.
According to the most recent information he provided on LinkedIn as of Sept. 25, 2018, Mr. Grossman is a 2002 graduate of Queens College in New York where he received his B.A. Degree – Major: Economics, Minor: Business. Mr. Grossman’s work experience: from 2007-2013 he was owner/manager of several companies each lasting only a few years. Concurrent with these listings he put Self-Employed from Feb. 2007-Aug. 2013. Mr. Grossman lists the services these companies provided: marketing, sales, consulting, real estate projects and investments, credit score services, online business opportunities and other services.
Mr. Grossman filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011. The filing shows he owned an interest in a loan/check cashing company, Mag Daddy, Inc. in Flushing, N.Y. that went out of business. He also owned an interest in a telemarketing company Teletransfer in Flushing, N.Y. which later filed for bankruptcy.
Mr. Grossman is currently a lease broker for Evolution Leasing LLC. This company was incorporated in 2014 and lists its principal place of business as 231 174th St, Apt. L15, Sunny Isles Beach, which is located in Winston Towers 400. This is David Grossman’s legal residence according to voter records. The CEO of Evolution Leasing is Michael Grossman, 231 174th St, Apt. 1616, Sunny Isles Beach.
However Mr. Grossman’s LinkedIn page states that he is Vice President of Grossman & Stein, Inc. from April 2013 to present and there is no mention of Evolution Leasing. Mr. Grossman should update his employment information since the firm of Grossman & Stein has had “inactive” status since Sept. 26, 2014. Please read the following carefully:
“FROM THE FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION: Regulatory Sanctions – Twelve Year Bar and $32,000 Fine Against Unregistered Associated Person for Fraud On June 10, 2015, the Division of Securities entered a final order against David Yaacov Grossman and Grossman & Stein, barring Mr. Grossman for 12 years from affiliating or seeking future registration as a dealer, investment advisor, or associated person under the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, Chapter 517, F.S. David Yaacov Grossman and the firm were found to have offered and sold unregistered securities and engaged in securities business in Florida without being registered. In addition, Mr. Grossman was found to have obtained money by means of fraud. A $32,000 administrative fine was assessed against David Yaacov Grossman.”
A credible source who attended a Meet the Candidates Luncheon held Sept. 13th at Duffy’s Restaurant stated that Mr. Grossman seemed angry, evasive and defensive when questioned about the regulatory sanctions of 12 year bar and $32,000 fine he received from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
Mr. Grossman approached a table of five women and one man and began to speak in a very aggressive and unpleasant manner. They were not responsive and he went away. However, moments later he returned and continued his verbal rant which they found so disturbing it caused them to get up from their seats and leave the restaurant.
Editor’s Note: On November 15, 2018, we were advised by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation that to date David Yaacov Grossman has not paid the $32,000 fine.
FELIX KIZHNER is a 50 year old resident of Sunny Isles Beach and he is single. Mr. Kizhner has served as Secretary of the Winston Towers 100 Board of Directors since 2017. Mr. Kizhner did not respond to our request for background information. According to the information he provided on LinkedIn as of Sept. 25, 2018, Mr. Kizhner is a 1991 graduate of Rutgers University where he received his B.S. Degree in Marketing.
LinkedIn has Mr. Kizhner’s work experience as follows: Regional Sales Manager at Merck & Co. from 1991-1996; Director of Pharmaceutical Division at Bristol-Myers Squibb from 1996-1999; and Deputy General Manager at Yukos from 2002-2007. A google search revealed that Yukos was a Russian oil company plagued for many years with investigations into various corruption charges and eventually went bankrupt in 2007.
There are two very noticeable gaps in Mr. Kizhner’s employment record – the first is after he left Bristol-Myers in 1999, no employment was listed until 2002. A second gap appears after he left Yukos in 2007 he does not show any employment until 2013 when he lists “Financial Analyst, Self-Employed, April, 2013 to April 2013 – 1 month.”
Then from 2013 up to the present, Mr. Kizhner is CEO/Owner of DJ Felix Inc. He has at least two Facebook pages – an election page and a page called Felix Kizhnerdj featuring his work as a DJ. Both pages have photos and videos of Mr. Kizhner. Google search results of “Felix Kizhner DJ” show Mr. Kizhner as a DJ and with Karaoke Nights at Lique Lounge in North Miami. We also found videos on YouTube of Mr. Kizhner doing DJ gigs at Lique and other venues. On the website, Wedj.com, Mr. Kizhner’s services are available for parties and private events specializing in Russian Club and dance music. In 2016, LinkedIn shows that Mr. Kizhner added he is also a Life Coach and a member of International Coach Foundation.
The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter has been independently covering local elections since 2010 [check our archives]. Our goal has always been to inform voters about the candidates to help them make the best choice for our City.
We are proud to support and highly recommend Alex Lama for Winston Towers Commissioner – Seat 2. Mr. Lama has a firm grasp on the challenges we face. We are convinced Mr. Lama’s positive approach and steady thoughtful demeanor, combined with his solid professional background and his many years of experience strategically working together as a team to resolve issues will greatly benefit our City.
By Judge Marc Mogil
Tonight we pay homage to a man whose distinguished career has brought to this City an extraordinary police department: Chief Fred Maas is the epitome of what American justice can produce if allowed to function absent interference by self-serving politicians.
After more than four decades, and many honors by Pope Benedict, the Governor, and police associations, the Chief is now retiring to spend quality time with his wonderful wife and family. As he mentioned to me recently, “If it were up to me, I would go another 5-10 years. But as you know, this is a partnership and she has been waiting for 44 years, many of them long and lonely days until I surfaced.”
I first knew he was a special breed when, after first moving here from New York 11 years ago, I saw him personally directing holiday traffic on a scorching day. During our many private conversations since then, when asked why he did that, he said he would never ask a subordinate to do what he would not. Plus he loved mingling with our townspeople.
The Chief’s favorite activity of appearing at 7am every day no matter the weather to protect our children at school crossings, as well as his covering shifts for his officers when their family circumstances merited, have made him a beloved, unique and sensitive fixture. How many top police brass anywhere else spend their time doing that, and also teaching Sunday school at his church on top of it all? What a special man who constantly gives of himself!
Our Chief Fred is a God-fearing, patriotic, people-loving Peace Officer in the oldest and most traditional sense of that term – elegant, gallant, intelligent and community-minded. And, I’m proud to say, a dear friend for many years.
As I myself near three-score-and-ten years, I’ve been exposed to confidential internal police operations in New York, served for 10 years as a criminal trial judge, and received firearms instruction at the FBI’s Camp Smith. At this stage of my life, it can now be disclosed without repercussion that I undertook covert operations as a CIA contract agent abroad for the United States some 45 years ago. With those experiences and exposure to good and evil, where misjudging character can cost one his life, I can say without equivocation that our Chief Fred is unsurpassed both as a professional law man, and a caring generous human being.
So much so that this police department, because of him, has been recognized by New York Congressman Lee Zeldin in the Congressional Record, something not many departments have achieved. Lee advised me that he has relayed his positive opinion of our department to President Trump. Overall, I’m so proud of what our Chief has accomplished for himself and our City.
Our incoming Chief Dwight Snyder, has been an excellent Captain and will be a superb successor for someone whose shoes are tough to fill. He recently wrote me, and I quote, “Chief Maas is a once in a lifetime leader who will never be replaced, only followed.” I fully concur.
As we who love traditional America and the brave officers of “the thin blue line” witness this transition, may God bless both these patriots with a long healthy life, safety, and happiness!
Book Review by Sharon Elster, Editor
Street Warrior by Ralph Friedman is the highly acclaimed book written by the most decorated detective in NYPD history. Set in the south Bronx of the 1970’s when the area known as Ft. Apache had the highest crime rate in the nation, Friedman worked the Anti-Crime Unit of the 41st Precinct. Only the very best made it to the Anti-Crime Unit and Friedman would prove himself to be more than up to those standards.
Ralph Friedman grew up in the Bronx on the beautiful Grand Concourse in a majestic ten story apartment building, a world away from the crowded tenements of the south Bronx. He came from a close-knit traditional family and it was purely by chance in 1967 at age 18, that Friedman decided to take the police test along with some friends. He wound up scoring in the top 5 percent, setting the wheels in motion for his eventual assignment to the 41st Precinct in the Bronx.
Until the early 1950’s, the south Bronx had been a poor but safe neighborhood of mainly hardworking immigrant families. As these families achieved a measure of financial stability they moved away from the south Bronx to nicer areas. By 1970, the south Bronx had become synonymous with total urban decay. Burning buildings, violent crime, vicious gangs and drugs ruled the streets. Bricks and other missiles were regularly tossed off rooftops directed at cops. This was a time when murder, rape, assaults and robberies were at record highs.
Ralph Friedman began his work in the south Bronx with a deep personal commitment to fighting crime and getting bad guys off the streets. A tall order but one that ideally suited him. Endowed with extraordinary courage, strength, keen instincts and compassion, Friedman faced the most harrowing dangers every day he was on the job. Within five years he was promoted to detective.
The intense reality of each violent incident literally leaps off the pages as Detective Friedman relentlessly confronts deadly shootouts, brutal assaults and undercover busts all in a day’s work. He entered crumbling buildings risking ambush while responding to police calls, he jumped rooftops pursuing criminals and sustained severe injuries fighting for his own life while apprehending some of the most evil characters imaginable. Yet with each confrontation, he remained fearless and invincible. He suffered the devastating loss of his partner in a fatal shooting. In those crime-infested streets, Friedman was even set up to be murdered but saved by an informant who tipped him off. From cover to cover, this amazing book is filled with the most gripping and incredible police stories you will ever read.
Detective Ralph Friedman made over 2,000 arrests during his remarkable career and received more awards than any other detective in NYPD history. His great accomplishments as a dedicated crime fighter earned him legendary stature. Moreover, we will never know the number of innocent lives Ralph Friedman saved by getting so many violent criminals off the streets, but there is no doubt the number is significant. That by itself is one of his most noteworthy achievements. Ralph Friedman is a true hero who faced greater danger and experienced more action throughout his distinguished career than any police movie Hollywood ever made. This outstanding book is a tribute to all our courageous men in blue who risk their lives daily protecting us.
For more information on this book go to: http://a.co/a6BoRfo
By Sharon Elster, Editor
At the 2016 Internal Awards Ceremony of the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department at City Hall this past week, former NY Judge and Sunny Isles Beach resident Marc Mogil presented Chief Fred Maas with a blue-line American flag, honoring those officers who have been killed in the line of duty protecting the public. It was flown over the US Capitol, and was received with honor by the Department for mounting within Police Headquarters.
By Sharon Elster, Editor
At the December 15, 2016 Commission Meeting, Mayor George “Bud” Scholl appointed Dana Goldman his new Vice Mayor.
Dana Goldman’s high approval and popularity among Sunny Isles Beach voters was reflected in her stunning victory over opponent Greg Capra in the November election.
We wish Mayor Scholl, Vice Mayor Goldman and the entire Commission the very best in the year ahead!
By Marc Mogil
Last night Sunny Isles Beach joined the ranks of cities hosting “the entitled ones” yearning to rewrite the election in the streets, spouting epithets against our President-Elect Donald J. Trump.
Despite predictions of “thousands” of protestors, police officers and helicopters seemed to outnumber this small assemblage who marched up and down Collins Avenue, pouting and posing for the cameras. Our Sunny Isles Beach Police Department is to be commended for handling this so well and planning for all contingencies. Police Chief Fred Maas told me, “I knew one thing for sure, they [the protestors] would not interrupt services to our residents, medical or police, under my watch. If I had to put every officer including myself on the street, which I and my captains were, we will protect our city and The Rights of our resident citizens.”
The bottom line is that we are already seeing how different Trump will be from Obama, with his provisional choices of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, General Flynn [fired by Obama as too tough on ISIS] as National Security Advisor, Mike Huckabee as Ambassador to Israel, and Rudy Giuliani as Secretary of State.
If all Americans give him a chance, Donald Trump may well become one of our greatest Presidents, doing what needs to be done, putting America first! Good riddance to Obama, Clinton and their cabal of police-hating socialist globalists, worrying about political correctness and the qualms of our declared enemies, both at home and abroad.
Onward to January 20, 2017!
By Sharon Elster, Editor
Commissioner Dana Goldman has retained her commission seat, declaring victory over her opponent Greg Capra by an overwhelming margin and Commissioner-Elect Larisa Svechin defeated Mendel Bergovoy also by a wide margin.
Unofficial results from Miami-Dade Elections:
Sunny Isles Beach Res. Area Commission Seat 1
Mendel Bergovoy 41.51% 2,228 votes Larisa Svechin 58.49% 3,139 votes
Sunny Isles Beach Res. Area Commission Seat 3
Greg Capra 34.70% 1,969 votes Dana Goldman 65.30% 3,706 votes
We wish all the candidates the best of luck and look forward to many successful years of service to our community by Commissioner Dana Goldman and Commissioner-Elect Larisa Svechin.
By Sharon Elster, Editor
As we approach the finish line of this contentious commission race, some of you may not yet have decided which candidate to vote for. A revealing article in today’s Miami New Times written by Jerry Ianelli entitled Sunny Isles Candidate Has History of Police Run-Ins, Alleged Egg-Throwing should be of help in making that decision. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/sunny-isles-candidate-has-history-of-police-run-ins-alleged-egg-throwing-8901732
Former Vice Mayor and Commissioner Roz Brezin found herself in the middle of a controversy over whom she supported in this election. Statement of Roz Brezin https://sibreporter.net/2016/10/statement-of-roz-brezin was published here on October 18, 2016. To finally put this issue to rest, here is the official list of community leaders and organizations who support Commissioner Dana Goldman for re-election:
Dade County Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (PBA); Florida State Rep. Joseph Geller; Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman; Mayor George “Bud” Scholl; Vice Mayor Jeanette Gatto; Commissioner Jennifer Levin; Former Mayor Norman S. Edelcup; Former Vice Mayor Lew Thaler; Former Vice Mayor and Commissioner Roz Brezin; Former Commissioner Gerry Goodman; Mayor George Vallejo (North Miami Beach); Mayor Enid Weisman (Aventura).
It is now up to you, the people of Sunny Isles Beach to make the best choice for our City. Please be sure to vote tomorrow.
Editor’s Note: The campaign of candidate Larisa Svechin [Commission Seat 1-Northern District] informs us that she received the following endorsements: Dade County Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (PBA); Florida State Rep. Joseph Geller; Mayor George “Bud” Scholl; Vice Mayor Jeanette Gatto; Former Mayor Norman S. Edelcup; Former Vice Mayor Lew Thaler.