Mar 19, 2024 - News

Surfside on track to oust mayor, allies in favor of old guard

People stand on line to vote during the General Election in Miami-Dade County at Surfside Town Hall on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 in Surfside.

Surfside residents stand in line to vote in 2020. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Out with the new, in with the old?

  • Surfside voters were on track Tuesday night to vote out Mayor Shlomo Danzinger and his allies on the commission to bring back the prior mayor and vice mayor.

Why it matters: After a chaotic election cycle that included the arrest of a teenage activist, residents threw their support behind former Mayor Charles Burkett and a slate of candidates that served in his previous administration.

  • Danzinger and his fellow first-term board members, Vice Mayor Jeff Rose and Commissioner Fred Landsman, were on pace to be voted out on Election Day, according to preliminary results.
  • Former Vice Mayor Tina Paul, incumbent Commissioner Nelly Velasquez, former Commissioner Ruben Coto and Gerardo Vildostegui were on their way to winning seats on the commission.

Catch up fast: The tiny town — which is eight blocks long — was thrust into the international spotlight after 98 residents died in the Champlain Towers condo collapse in 2021.

  • Since then, political disagreements have divided the seaside community near Miami Beach.
  • Residents staged a protest at town hall earlier this month in response to the arrest of an 18-year-old activist accused of pushing Rose. (The activist, Joshua Epstein, is the son of a former Surfside commissioner who has publicly criticized Rose and the administration.)
  • Days before the election, WPLG reported that the State Attorney's Office launched an investigation into Burkett's allegations that some registered voters didn't live in the town. (Rose called the police on a reporter trying to ask him questions about it.)
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