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Rosenfield, Cohen elected to the Bal Harbour council

BAL HARBOUR
Rosenfield, Cohen elected to the Bal Harbour council
A newcomer and an incumbent win spots on the village council. The council meets Monday to discuss appointing a third position to replace former councilman Joel Jacobi.

Special to The Miami Herald
A fresh face will take her place on Bal Harbour’s village council, while incumbent Jean Rosenfield retained her seat at Tuesday’s village elections.

Newcomer Patricia Cohen won the District 3 seat with 227 votes, beating Barbara Grossman who had 138.

Cohen, who owns a landscaping company, will replace Councilman Jaime Sanz, who did not run for reelection.

Rosenfield, a public school teacher, kept her District 1 seat after defeating Dr. Abraham G. Gotman, an obstetrician and gynecologist, who is Bal Harbour Citizen’s Coalition member.

Cohen said she is excited to serve on the council.

”I am very happy. I can’t wait to attend the first meeting,” said Cohen, who resides in the Harbour House.

Cohen’s eligibility as a candidate has come under scrutiny because of what she says was a mistakenly filed homestead exemption on her Surfside property.

A Bal Harbour resident raised concerns to village officials after she said she ran across Cohen’s homestead exemption while researching Surfside real estate.

Cohen said she mistakenly filed for the homestead exemption, but insisted her condo in Bal Harbour is her current residence. She said she had lived at the Surfside address while Harbour House was undergoing renovations — one of many residents required to leave the building until work was completed. She returned permanently to Harbour House in October 2007, she told the council in a meeting last month.

After reviewing the documents, the council agreed Cohen was eligible.

”I am legally approved to be a councilwoman. Anyone can bring any allegations that they want,” Cohen said in a phone interview after the elections results were tallied. “The citizens have elected me. I have every qualification that matters required.”

Under Bal Harbour ‘s charter, candidates for the village council must reside in the village for at least one year before filing to run for office.

Rosenfield, who serves as assistant mayor, defeated Gotman 235 votes to 169.

”I am very happy I won. I want to thank all of the people who voted for me,” she said. “I hope to be able to serve all of the people of Bal Harbour.”

Rosenfield has served four years on the council.

Both Rosenfield and Cohen will serve a four-year term. The new council will be inducted at 10 a.m. April 20.

Also joining the council is Joni D. Blachar, who won the District 5 seat unopposed when she did not draw any challengers by the end of the qualifying period March 7. She will replace Mayor Howard Berlin, who did not seek reelection.

The council will also appoint another member to replace former councilman Joel Jacobi at 7 p.m. at a special council meeting Monday Jacobi announced his resignation last month during a trial challenging his residency during the 2007 election. His resignation took effect April 1.

The village has been accepting résumés from those interested in serving on the council. The application period ended Friday. The appointee would serve until the end of the Jacobi’s term in 2011.

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