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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