Miami Shores

Biscayne Park

Biscayne Park Village Commission election attracts seven candidates for three seats

Seven people are in the running for three seats on the Biscayne Park Village Commission.

The village’s election will be Dec. 3.

The terms of Mayor Noah Jacobs, and Commissioners Roxanna Ross and Bryan Cooper are expiring, but Cooper is not seeking re-election.

Commissioner Barbara Watts and Vice Mayor Bob Anderson remain on the dais.

A group called Concerned Citizens of Biscayne Park will host a Meet the Candidates event at 7 p.m. on Nov. 25. at the Ed Burke Recreation Center, 11400 NE Ninth Ct.

The two with the most votes will serve terms of four years and 11 months; the third-place candidate will get a term of two years and 11 months. The unusual terms come as a result of a November 2012 vote which changed the city’s charter in order to hold the village’s general municipal elections in even-numbered years starting in November 2016 to coincide with Miami-Dade County elections.

The seven candidates are:

• Harvey Bilt, 69, a photographer who has owned Harvey Bilt Photography since 1982. He has served on the Biscayne Park Code Enforcement Board for seven years, and on the Code Review Board and Florida Bar Grievance Committee for four years.

"I will bring reasonableness, responsibility and respectfulness to the commission, and will always honor and preserve Biscayne Park’s history and uniqueness, while working thoughtfully to improve the village and ensure our secure future," Bilt said.

• David Coviello, 40, is a partner with the law firm of Shutts & Bowen in Miami. He also has served as chair of the Biscayne Park Code Compliance board, and vice-chair of the Biscayne Park Code Review committee.

"The level of discord and personal animosities on the commission is holding back our community. I am running to restore civility and move the village forward. Working together we can solve the problems facing our village," Coviello said.

• Manny Espinoza, 63, is an accountant and the controller and internal auditor for Crown Wine and Spirits.

"What inspired me to do this is I moved here a year ago and I really love this area. I turned my property around but had a bad experience. The people running the city code enforcement and commission, there was disorganization and discrimination. Sixty percent of the commission wants to do what they like, their own personal preferences. They are here to protect the village. That’s why I decided to get involved. The city needs to review all the codes, and the processing takes too long to review, to get permits. Residents don’t like that. Also, I wanted to get involved because I want to keep this a village and not a city," Espinoza said.

• Noah Jacobs, 42, is an American History and Civics teacher at Kinloch Park Middle School. He is also the current mayor of the village.

"It’s important to make sure that all viewpoints are heard and represented. Residents should be treated equally and issues handled in such a way that everyone is treated in the same way. I also feel we need to work together with other communities but make sure that our needs are being met within the framework of the metropolitan area," Jacobs said.

• Jenny Johnson-Sardella, 38, is a partner with the law firm of Hunter Taubman Weiss, a commercial and securities litigation practice.

"I am seeking this election because I believe that I have the ability to help maintain the historic independence of our small village through creative fiscal strategies that find productive uses for our budget and strengthen our reserves," Johnson-Sardella said. 

• Fred Jonas, 63, is a psychiatrist. He has served on the Planning and Zoning Code Review Board and as president of the Biscayne Park Foundation.

"I want to see us survive and I want to see us prosper. I want us to be the best we can be," Jonas said.

• Roxanna Ross, 54, is a paralegal with the law firm of Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Alhadeff & Sitterson. She has served on the Public Works Advisory Committee, as chair of the Recreation Advisory Board, as the mayor and a commissioner.

"During the last four years we have worked together to bring about community engagement by way of the Martin Luther King Day of Service and Food and Tunes (produced by the BP Foundation); worked together to bring about improvements to our physical environment by mitigating areas prone to flooding, maintaining the urban forestry and introducing public art; worked together to develop a clearer budgeting process and expand voter access to polls; we have joined with other cities in the Clear Energy Coastal Corridor (a PACE District); we have built on relationships with peers in other cities, the county and Tallahassee, all placing the village on better footing to gain access to resources and developing trends. I am seeking re-election in order to continue working together to make the village of Biscayne Park a better place to be," Ross said.

The winners will be sworn in at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 during the commission meeting. The five commissioners will then vote for the new mayor and the four remaining commissioners will serve as vice mayor for six months each.

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