The Coastal Star

Highland Beach: Two candidates contend for one commission seat

Highland Beach voters will go to the polls on March 12 to elect a commissioner for a three-year term.

Evalyn David

Personal: 69; bachelor’s and LLM (master of law) in taxation from NYU Law School; J.D. from Seton Hall Law School; full-time Highland Beach resident for eight years. Married, two grown children.

Professional: Retired; practiced law for 25 years with the Hannoch Weisman firm as well as having her own practice.

Political experience: None.

Positions on issues: Wants to see more transparency and fiscal responsibility in town government; concerned with buried utility lines in a town that floods; wants lighted crosswalks on streets with high traffic volume; wants more oversight on rainwater runoff costs and what she believes is a misguided plan to fund a park.

Quote: “I don’t believe spending $100,000 on holiday ornaments is a wise decision. This town has in excess of $13 million of debt and I don’t believe adding $45 million in bond issues for more proposed spending makes a lot of sense. Also if you’re in a flood zone with saltwater flooding, it’s not considered a great idea to bury your utility lines. This is a three-mile-long beach town with 3,600 registered voters and swells to about 8,000 people during the season. A planned park will mean $5,000 benches, $2,000 garbage cans and $10,000 water fountains. They want to put in 10-foot-wide sidewalks, which shouldn’t be that wide. They want to put in monuments and statues. That’s not what a beach town is all about.”

Elyse Riesa

(Incumbent)

Personal: 66; graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in education and got her master’s degree from George Washington University in government program management; 12-year resident of Highland Beach; married, two grown children.

Professional: Retired; was managing director and global vice president for AT&T (1972-2001); vice president of sales and development for Cable-Organizer (2001-2007); CEO of Value Tech Supply (2007-2012).

Political experience: Member of the Town Commission for two years; was a member of the Beaches and Shores Advisory Board from 2011-2015. Member of the Planning Board.

Positions on issues: Wants to preserve Highland Beach’s quality of life; advocates beach cleanup efforts; supports code enforcement; wants to maintain low tax base; opposes $45 million referendum proposals that address drainage, town beautification and underground utilities as too expensive.

Quote:  “As your elected commissioner, I am uniquely positioned to create a better environment for our community. I am dedicated to serving our residents by enhancing the quality of life in Highland Beach.”

Candidate profiles compiled by Steven J. Smith

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