Student runs for the position of Aventura Commissioner

Courtesy of Joshua Mandall

Michelle Marchante/Staff Writer

Joshua Mandall, 20, a junior studying political science, has a lot on his plate this year juggling school, extracurricular activities, an internship and being one of the youngest candidates to ever be on Aventura’s Nov. 8 ballot.

Mandall is competing for the position of Commissioner, Seat 5, against Gladys Mezrahi, 53, the owner of Indigo Events, a local events and public relations company.

Aventura’s City Commission is comprised of seven part-time nonpartisan commissioner seats that run a four-year term each.

Seat 5 became available after Commissioner Enbar Cohen, who was up for re-election, resigned in August to pursue a career in Jackson Memorial Hospital’s legal department.

Even though his interest in politics started at a young age, Mandall’s first real experience with it was back in 2010 when he campaigned for Democrat Joe Garcia’s congressional campaign.

“I saw that politics wasn’t just black and white,” Mandall said.

His experience volunteering in the Garcia campaign, he said, showed him that leaders come from the people and that politics isn’t just saying you want to get elected, but rather wanting to make a difference and act as a vessel for the people.

“I think about the actual effect [politics] have on the people and its immediate effect to the people around it,” Mandall said. “Whatever Aventura does, North Miami Beach, Hallandale, Sunny Isle and all of those cities kind of feel that effect, whether positive or negative.”

Mandall spent a year gathering information and thinking about running but it wasn’t until late July, he said, that he felt ready to run and provide a voice for the new generation.

“I feel like there isn’t an exact proportional representation in the generational gaps,” he said.

This “generational gap,” Mandall said, is one of the factors that inspired him to run, as he thinks the new generation needs to get more involved in their local politics rather than just the national.

While Mandall realizes people may be doubtful of his capabilities to be a commissioner because of his age, he doesn’t think age should be an issue when it comes to politics.

As a student studying political science, Mandall feels he can bring new ideas that recent research has brought to life– with the ability to study the ideas and philosophies of philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle– and apply it in a “more dynamic way” all while capturing the interest of the youth.

Mandall is also a member of FIU’s Jewish student organization, Hillel, and is interning for The David Project, a national pro-Israel organization that focuses on building dialogue and relationships with people on school campuses.

The work he’s done for this organization on the FIU campus, Mandall said, has given him valuable experience on how to effectively communicate, create dialogue and build relationships successfully, skills he could utilize as a commissioner.

If elected, Mandall will join a commission made up of realtors, lawyers, a former principal and an event planner. Mandall has a variety of proposals he would like to bring up, including some that would tackle what he calls Aventura’s two biggest issues: education and the environment.

Aventura is currently serviced by Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School and North Miami Beach Senior High school but the city is undergoing a discussion on whether or not they should build a new high school for Aventura students. According to Mandall, this discussion has been going on for the past two elections.

He proposes that the city redistricts Alonzo & Tracy Mourning High School to provide a third expedite option to Aventura students.

Besides giving students and parents an alternative school location, Mandall is interested in finding ways to partner up with the Miami-Dade School Board and get funding for more S.T.E.M. related education for students at the K-8 level.

On the environmental side, Aventura is a coastal city, Mandall said, which is why he wants to create an advisory climate board to examine, identify and create possible solutions for areas of the city more susceptible to negative effects from storms or other environmental issues.

If elected, Mandall also wants to propose body cams for police officers, introduce the city to emergency call boxes and create a green initiative tax incentive for small businesses to go more green.

The election is on Nov. 8 and whoever wins the seat will be inducted into the commission on Nov. 10.

“It’s never too early to start doing what you love,” Mandall said. “[T]o start doing what you believe in…”

About the Author

Michelle Marchante
Michelle Marchante is the 2018-2019 Editor-in-Chief of PantherNOW. Majoring in broadcast journalism, she lives and breathes web, print, radio and TV news 24/7. You can connect with her on Twitter @TweetMichelleM

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