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Given a choice of change, Golden Beach still reelects long-time Mayor Glenn Singer

Golden Beach has always attracted the rich and the famous, like Ricky Martin and Eric Clapton.

Property values in Golden Beach have nearly doubled in the last five years. The 344 estates are now worth over $1 billion.
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Property values in Golden Beach have nearly doubled in the last five years. The 344 estates are now worth over $1 billion.

The residents of Golden Beach had a choice on Tuesday between electing more of the same or something new. They chose more of the same.

Incumbent Mayor Glenn Singer won his first contested election in more than a decade, taking a landslide 86 percent of votes. Incumbent councilman Kenneth Bernstein, and 19-year council veteran Bernard Einstein were also reelected.

“I think the election went great,” Singer told the Miami Herald. “It gave everyone an opportunity to voice their opinions and I’m pleased with the outcome. Where we go from here is to continue my vision for Golden Beach.”

Singer, who has been Mayor since 2005, says the town will build a new town hall and civic center. He also hopes to lower the property tax rate within two years.

Singer’s challenger, Barbara Shaheen, ran on a platform of bringing change to the tiny but exceptionally wealthy coastal municipality in northeast Miami-Dade County. During her campaign, Shaheen called the town government a fiefdom, a reference to the fact that the majority of council members have served numerous terms due to the lack of term limits.

Shaheen took just 39 of the 276 total votes but said she was content with how things turned out.

“I did not get elected but I ran so residents would be informed,” Shaheen said. “Wow! I am hearing from quite a few [residents] today.”

Shaheen loudly criticized Singer’s administration for discriminating against older residents like herself, in favor of bringing in new development. She is currently in a lawsuit with the town over a dispute over a seawall.

The village has maintained Shaheen’s home is a health hazard. Shaheen says the legal action is part of a prolonged an effort to push her out of her longtime family home. The case has cost the city over $300,000 in legal fees.

Under Singer’s administration, property values have doubled in Golden Beach to more than $1 billion in taxable value. Singer says he is proud of the direction his administration has taken Golden Beach. Clearly, he says, so are most of the residents.

“When you have such a strong support group favoring what you’re doing it shows that you’re on the right track,” Singer said.

Sarah Blaskey covers local governments across Miami-Dade County. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s school of journalism and is the recent recipient of a Pulitzer Center grant for her work on shark fishing and human trafficking in Central America.