North Miami Beach: Supporters celebrate Vallejo’s win
North Miami Beach voters picked a new mayor in last Tuesday’s runoff elections, with activist George Vallejo defeating Mayor Myron Rosner — who raised nearly double the amount of his challenger. Voters also cast ballots in three council seats.
Here are the vote tallies for Tuesday’s North Miami Beach run-off elections for mayor and council.
George Vallejo 57.3%
Myron Rosner 42.7%
Phyllis Smith 58%
Hillel Hellinger 42%
Group 4 Beth Spiegel 56.6%
Hans Mardy 43.4%
Frantz Pierre 54.9%
Michael Casey 45.1%
Marlen Martell 56.2%
McKenzie Fleurimond 43.8%
BY Nadege Green
Myron Rosner lost his seat as North Miami Beach mayor Tuesday as the majority of voters picked his opponent, political newcomer and citizen activist George Vallejo, in the runoff
Vallejo, 44, surrounded by supporters inside the Julius Littman Performing Arts Auditorium, pumped his fist into the air as supporters cheered when the final results came in.
Vallejo captured 57 percent of the vote, securing the mayor’s seat.
Clutching his mother’s hand, Vallejo said, “I am just happy that the people saw the real me and believed in the message.
Mom Miriam Vallejo added, “I think he will do well. My son is honest and he has integrity.”
Rosner, who was elected as mayor in 2009, had previously served six years as a councilman. The incumbent mayor amassed a campaign war chest of $94, 605, nearly doubled the amount raised by Vallejo.
But that didn’t matter to voters at the polls.
“I don’t agree with some of the decisions that have been made by the current mayor,” said Julio Perez, who cast his ballot for Vallejo. “We have a strong Hispanic community in the city; it’s good to have a voice on the board now.”
From the beginning of his two-year term as mayor, Rosner has had to fend off complaints from critics who reported Rosner for alleged code violations on his home. The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust is investigating whether Rosner benefitted from his elected position and was able to obtain a permit for home improvements without seeking the required variance from the city council. The investigation is ongoing.
Rosner also drew criticism for a recent spree of complaints alleging code violations he filed against vocal citizen activists who spoke out against his administration.
“He abused his position as mayor,” said Stephanie Kienzle, a blogger who received a warning from the city’s code department after Rosner filed a complaint against her home. “The reign of terror is over.”
Rosner strongly denies any wrongdoing while in office.
“The accusations will eventually go away. I’m looking forward to them being cleared. As I said from day one I have done nothing wrong. I will continue to help to move this community forward,” said Rosner, a general contractor.
Councilwoman Barbara Kramer, the only candidate reelected in the general election earlier this month, said she stumped for Vallejo on the campaign trail because she felt the city needed someone “who was focused and who could bring integrity back to City Hall.”
“The people realized the quality of the candidate and they made their choice. The right choice,” she said.
In the general election, Vallejo received 40 percent of the vote, Rosner 38 — beating out former councilman Kenneth DeFillipo.
Vallejo, a branch manager at a mortgage company, said he wants to work on uniting the community and bringing more transparency back to city government.
“It’s a new day for the city of North Miami Beach,” Vallejo said.
Voters also picked a new face in one council race: Marlen Martell, an administrative assistant with Sunny Isles Beach and a former North Miami Beach employee, beat Councilman McKenzie Fleurimond, who was appointed to the seat in Group 7 last year.
North Miami Beach voters chose to keep three incumbents in the remaining races:
Councilwoman Phyllis Smith, a real estate agent, defeated pharmacist Hillel Hellinger in Group 3.
In Group 4, Councilwoman Beth Spiegel, an attorney held on to her seat, defeating Hans Mardy, an Everest University professor.
In Group 5, Councilman Frantz Pierre, a teacher at Oak Grove Elementary, defeated retired aerospace engineer Michael Casey.