Three of seven seats on the Bay Harbor Islands town council are up for grabs on April 21.
Both Mayor Robert Yaffe and Councilman Isaac Salver will be defending their seats on the dais against challengers Kenneth Eskin, Doris Marano and Elizabeth Trioche, three involved members of the community. The third seat was created when Solange Rousselot resigned in January and will be for a one-year partial term.
Five candidates, including Eskin, ran to fill Rousselot’s seat at a February special election where the council voted to appoint a replacement. After voting four times, the council did not reach the majority vote required and the seat remained vacant.
In Bay Harbor Islands, council members serve four-year terms, but there are no term limits. The town charter calls for elections to be at-large, which means the top two vote getters will be elected for four-year terms and the third successful candidate will win the one-year term. Vice Mayor Jordan Leonard and council members Stephanie Bruder, Joshua Fuller and Kelly Reid are not up for reelection.
After the election, the seven-member council chooses a mayor and vice mayor from within.
Bay Harbor Islands residents can cast their votes at Town Hall, 9665 Bay Harbor Terr.
The League of Women Voters will host a candidates forum 7 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall.
Eskin ran for Rousselot’s seat in February, and vowed to run again in April after it remained vacant.
A former owner of an apparel sales organization, Eskin is now retired and says he wants to devote his time to civic engagement.
“I never had the time because of work and now I have time,” said Eskin, who is a presence at town meetings. “I don’t believe in doing things part way.”
Eskin, who served as the president of the West Island Homeowners Association for four years, sees historical preservation as the most contentious issue in Bay Harbor Islands.
He believes in historic preservation, but thinks designation should be at the jurisdiction of the property owner. Applying for designation in a condo association should take the same percentage of approval as the condo requires to be sold, he says.
“If they want to vote for historical preservation, then that is their business,” Eskin said. “This is America. We believe in property rights.”
A 22-year resident, Marano has a reason for running that is straight-forward.
“I want a change,” she said, adding later that she believes in term limits.
Marano, who works as a legal assistant, is primarily concerned about the construction throughout the two islands. If elected, she wants to see no construction on Saturdays and notifications to residents about demolitions.
She says traffic congestion is intensifying along with development and wants to find solutions.
“There are a lot of issues with traffic congestion,” Marano said. “More people moving into the area and make it worse as well as the people moving to surrounding areas.”
Over the last decade, Marano has been appointed to several town committees, which include Design and Review Committee, Parks and Recreation and currently Environmental. She is proud of creating handbooks for the town while on the Environmental and Parks and Recreation Committee, which once chaired.
Salver has served on the council for 16 years in several different capacities, including two terms as mayor and one as vice mayor.
“I decided to run again because I think that between my experience professionally and politically I still have a lot to offer the residents of Bay Harbor Islands,” Salver said. “There are lot of complicated incredibly expensive projects and I think it is important to maintain continuity and have leadership accustomed to making decisions that deal with millions and millions of tax payer money.”
A resident of 22 years, Salver is involved in public service through several local organizations. He is currently the treasurer of the Children’s Trust Board, which he has served on for seven years, and is on the Miami-Dade League of Cities, of which he president in 2005.
His campaign focuses on regulating the development in Bay Harbor Islands.
“I’m really focusing on making sure that we follow through on building a proper and lead certified community where the parking garage stands now and also making sure the bridge project is completed within the budget,” Salver said, referring to the renovations to Broad Causeway bridges.
Trioche was drawn to Bay Harbor Islands more than four years ago because of its quality of life, and decided to run for election to ensure that the town maintain this.
“There are certain aspects of Bay Harbor that have made it special,” Trioche said.
She is a director of account management for a Fort Lauderdale billing company, and is the only candidate with children attending Bay Harbor Islands schools. Trioche also volunteers her time with families of special needs children to find the right doctors and services.
Like other candidates, Trioche is concerned about the issues raised from development.
“We have a number of business that are coming down and we have a number of buildings that are going up,” Trioche said. “It is very important that we maintain green spaces, provide services for seniors and teenagers to maintain quality of life that we have.”
Yaffe joined the dais 20 years ago and served as mayor for the past two years, which he was appointed to by his colleagues.
“I think I worked well with my fellow council people over the years to make good progress and maintain the quality of life in Bay Harbor,” said Yaffe, who has also previously been elected the vice mayor.
Of his recent years on the council, Yaffe said in an interview that he is most proud of the completion of the Officer Scott Winters Park on 98th Street in March, the approval of construction of a new community center and the conversion of the town to the SunPass system.
He says he is running because he wants to see through the completion of the community center and the Broad Causeway bridge rehabilitation project.
Yaffe also currently is a delegate of the Miami-Dade League of Cities and a member of the Miami-Dade Board of Rules and Appeals.
About the candidates
▪ Age: 69
▪ Occupation: Former president and owner of Miss Alyssa Sales, an apparel sales company.
▪ Education: Sullivan County Community College
▪ Years lived in Bay Harbor Islands: 35
▪ Public service: Former president of STE, an apparel salesman organization
▪ Age: 62
▪ Occupation: Legal assistant and former art gallery owner
▪ Years lived in Bay Harbor Islands: 22
▪ Education: High school
▪ Public service: Former committeewoman on town Design and Review board, chair of Parks and Recreation Board and currently on the Environmental Committee
▪ Age: 56
▪ Occupation: Certified Public Accountant with Salver & Slaver LLP.
▪ Years lived in Bay Harbor Islands: 22
▪ Education: Bachelor degree in finance from Florida State University, MBA in Accounting from Hofstra University in New York.
▪ Public service: Treasurer of the Children’s Trust Board, which he has served on for seven years; delegate of the Miami-Dade League of Cities, of which he was president in 2005; and member of the Audit Budget and Advisory Committee for Miami-Dade
▪ Age: 32
▪ Occupation: Director of account management for a medical billing company in Fort Lauderdale
▪ Years lived in Bay Harbor: 4½
▪ Education: Associates in accounting from Miami-Dade College
▪ Public service: Offers help and services to local families with children who have special needs
▪ Age: 57
▪ Occupation: Attorney at Robert H. Yaffe, P.A.
▪ Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science and Hispanic studies from Vassar College; JD from University of Miami School of Law
▪ Years lived in Bay Harbor Islands: 27
▪ Public service: Delegate of the Miami-Dade League of Cities and member of the Miami-Dade Board of Rules and Appeals