Miami Beach

Three residents compete for two council seats in Bay Harbor Islands

Bay Harbor Islands’ website,
Bay Harbor Islands’ website,

Two incumbents and one challenger are competing for two seats on the Bay Harbor Islands town council.

Stephanie Bruder, the current vice mayor, newcomer Rogerio Santana and Councilwoman Kelly Reid all agree the biggest issues facing the municipality in the Tuesday election are construction, speeding and traffic. Each, however, has a different way of attacking the concerns.

Bruder, who is completing her third four-year term, noted she is currently the liaison to Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center. The first thing she plans on doing, if reelected, is taking a look at the population of the school.

“This is [ZIP Code] 33154, and we have to make sure that the people who are supposed to be here, are the ones actually coming to the school and not from other areas,” she said. “The school is overcrowded, and there needs to be a decrease in population for traffic reasons. We need to look at that.”

Bruder also wants to regulate traffic by adding flashing lights to stop signs and adding speed bumps to roads.

“We need to find a way to slow them down,” she said. “At nighttime you can’t see. This is a walking community, and that’s something we’re going to start looking into.”

Similarly, Santana, who’s running for council for the first time, wants to improve safety in the town.

“The main reason I wanted to run was to do something for the pedestrian safety on the island,” he said. “There are no sidewalks. A lot of kids walk, and there are speeding cars. I want to promote pedestrian safety.”

The Brazil native moved to Bay Harbor Islands two years ago, and said he immediately felt obligated to give back to the town, especially the younger generation.

“I got more involved and realized there is a lot more to be done like after school programs for kids. Even though the island is safe, I want kids to not walk all over the island,” he said. “That’s one thing I’m going to be working hard to accomplish.”

Bruder said she agreed to campaign with Santana because of his enthusiasm.

“When I met him, he was very gung-ho,” she said. “He is his own person, and I think he will be a great asset to a council with his great ideas.”

For her part, Reid, who is completing her first four-year term, said improving safety and traffic can be best accomplished by continuing to limit the hours of construction from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I called for a special meeting for a procurement process in January because we have a lot of construction and development going on right now, and parents and adults are concerned about safety and speeding,” she said. “Many of our kids walk to school, and there shouldn’t be construction trucks backing up on them. Safety on the streets is very important to me.”

Along with regulating construction, Reid said she wants to reduce traffic congestion by limiting the hours the local drawbridge operates.

“The main question on everyone’s mind is ‘How can we get a hold of traffic congestion?’” she said. “We think the bridge lift can back up traffic, so I’m looking into other cities to see what they have done, and I think a solution would be to limit lifting.”

In addition, Reid said she wants all city employees to be more responsive to residents.

“Many residents agree that the town needs to be maintained, and the staff needs to go out there and deal with issues,” she said.

Bay Harbor Islands election

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bay Harbor Island Town Hall, 9665 Bay Harbor Terr.