New Council and voters talk on tough topics as huge voter turnout makes for a tight race election night

Mike Davey won the mayoral seat Tuesday night with 55 percent of the vote, and the top three winning council members were Ed London, Ignacio J. Segurola and Luis Lauredo. They will join Allison McCormick, Brett Moss and Katie Petros on the dais after a tight race that ended with high voter turnout.

Fifteen minutes before the polls closed on a hot election night, campaign signs that had covered the landscaping around the Community Center were being packed into golf carts by volunteers. Candidates chatting casually among the crowds as last-minute voters scurried into the gymnasium to join the serpentine lines where over 100 residents still waited to cast their vote.

“I don’t like to lose in Parcheesi,” said mayoral candidate Luis “Lucho” de la Cruz in the final hour. “No one likes to lose, but if it’s not me, Key Biscayne will be fine with Mike and that’s a good thing.”

With that conciliatory comment, and a subsequent message sent directly to Davey after all the votes were tallied, de la Cruz conceded the race to Mayor-elect Davey.

“Lucho just sent me a really nice text,” said Davey at a crowded Milanezza celebration party. “I appreciate everything he did and at the end of the day we are still friends. We are all about making sure this community is at its best.”

Ignacio J. Segurola, a fellow victor also savoring the win at the crowded Argentinian restaurant, said all the candidates were able to do the council’s intense work ahead.

“Everyone was extremely qualified and extremely involved in the community,” said Segurola. “Now we are basically starting by jumping into the deep end of the pool. We have our work cut out for us.”

Topping that list of concerns for both candidates and voters is how to organize against the surprise announcement that the Ultra Music Festival plans to relocate from Miami to Virginia Key.

“Ultra has now been bumped up to number one,” said Davey. “We have to figure out how we are going to build teams and reach out to other communities that are going to be affected by this because this impacts not just Key Biscayne. There are many who need to have their voices heard by the City of Miami when they come to a decision on November 15.”

Sea level rise and related beach erosion challenges is another hot button issue. New councilman, Ed London, said no one knows for sure how imminent the danger is, but building higher and bringing in experts should be an immediate starting point.

“We have to do what is practical and what is feasible,” said London. “New homes should be built at base flood elevation; that’s the cheapest and easiest thing. I’m not a hydrologist or a coastal engineer, but I will do my best to be able to ask questions of those people we hire.”

Outgoing Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay had specific advice for the new council class:

“We have to think of the big picture. We have priorities and we have goals, and we also have to realize that some of these projects are bigger than us, but we need to move forward and think of the long term impacts. We will always be challenged short term, but we need to think of our day to day challenges and also where we want to be in 20 years.”

Vanessa Sanz de Acedo, a community activist, said she believes the council has demonstrated their ability to address complex issues and asks the new arrivals to continue to keep an attentive ear. “I think, in general, our Village Council has always been on top of issues like sea level rise, park usage, and keeping our beaches clean. We are in constant communication and I hope they continue to listen to the residents.”

First-time voter Daniel Slodarz, 21, and his friend Enrique Falla, 20, who has been voting since turning 18, both said they voted against the offshore oil drilling amendment in hopes of protecting hometown beaches. They had their own requests for the new community leaders.

“Make us proud” said Slodarz. Falla agreed with that sentiment, then added: “Oh and another thing, can you be a little more lenient about not allowing golf carts to drive more than two blocks on Crandon?”