The most unforgettable person I ever met was Arthur I. Snyder. I first met him some twenty years ago when we were part of a tennis group at Turnberry. With Aventura’s creation in 1996, Arthur ran for Mayor, asking me to be his campaign manager. A former judge, Arthur had previously served as a three-time North Miami Beach Mayor. After consideration, I accepted his request. Thereafter, I invited close friends to meet Arthur at my apartment. When asked his Mayoral intention, Arthur stated, “I will build a Taj Mahal for a City Hall.” I sat there stunned. Taking Arthur aside, I said, “I will resign as your campaign manager if you ever say that again. No one will vote for you if you intend to build a Taj Mahal.” Arthur responded, “O.K., I won’t say it again but I will build a Taj Mahal.” In reality, we have a superb City Hall (Government Center), and also with great thanks to our City Manager Eric Soroka for completing the project on time and within budget. As the Mayoral campaign progressed, Arthur’s opponent dropped out of the race. I then asked Mayor Snyder a burning question, “You hardly knew me. Why did you ask me to be your campaign manager?” Arthur smiled, stating, “I studied every person and concluded that with your background, you were the only one who could beat me.” “But,” I told him, “I had no intention of running.” His response, “I couldn’t take that chance. I needed you on my side.” He then asked me to write his inaugural speech. From my heart, I wrote what I thought was an excellent speech. Arthur rejected it, stating, “I never speak from the heart, always from the brain.” Despite being opposites in many respects, we soon became close, trusted friends. As Mayor, Arthur truly led our city to become “The City of Excellence.”
Arthur, who, allegedly “never spoke from the heart,” gave me a gift that I treasure for helping his Mayoral campaign – a Movado watch, inscribed, “BOB, DEEPEST AFFECTION, ARTHUR.” He passed away in 2004. I truly miss him.
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