Aventura - Sunny Isles

Three candidates running for Sunny Isles mayor

A city commissioner, a former vice-mayor and a health care management professional have all thrown their hat into the open race for mayor of Sunny Isles Beach.

Voters also will choose a new city commissioner for Seat 4 in the Nov. 4 election.

The last day for candidates to enter the election was Aug. 15.


Incumbent Mayor Norman S. Edelcup has reached the term limit for his position, clearing the path for three mayoral candidates including second-term commissioner George “Bud” Scholl, former Vice-Mayor Lewis Thaler and health care management professional Alex Amselem.

In Sunny Isles Beach, an individual can only hold the position of mayor or commissioner for two consecutive four-year terms.

If elected, Scholl said, he would advocate for development of buildings on the west side of Collins Avenue that conform to land development regulations. He would also like to create more pedestrian walkways to move traffic from Collins as well as aid condo owners.

“Condos are regulated by state law,” Scholl said. “I would like to form a department of condo advocacy to help liaison between the condos, city and the state.”

Thaler, 76, has previously served as a commissioner and vice mayor of Sunny Isles Beach.

“I was very instrumental in getting the Norman S. Edelcup [K-8] school up and running,” said Thaler of his work in acquiring land and financing for the project.

Thaler is a board member of several organizations including the Sunny Isles Beach Trust, Sunny Isles-Aventura Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Citizens of Sunny Isles Beach and the Florida International University North Council.

Amselem, 44, has previously served as the president of his condo association and is currently one of the board of directors.

“My father is a retired rabbi,” Amselem said. “I’ve always been raised in my family to give back and I want to make a difference in my community.”


Incumbent Commissioner Jeanette Gatto, 60, is running unopposed for Seat 2 and will be automatically elected for a second term. Seat 2 encompasses the north-central region of the city, which includes the area south of 178th Street and north of 172nd Street.

“I’m honored and it is going to make me work even harder,” Gatto said. “I would like to focus on quality of life. People feel it is difficult to navigate the city due to so much growth in the last four years. I would like to work on that.”


Incumbent Commissioner Isaac Aelion is running for a second term against retired biotech/pharmaceutical sales representative Roberto Rodriguez in the Seat 4 commissioner race. Seat 4 encompasses the south-central region of the city, which includes the area from 172nd Street south to Sunny Isles Boulevard.

Aelion, 63, was also involved in the decision making for the opening of the Edelcup school. He would also like to continue to enhance the city parks, beaches and other green spaces.

“I want to continue the betterment of our residents,” said Aelion, who also serves as vice-mayor.