Historically Yours : Arthur I. Snyder – Aventura’s First Mayor

Miami's Community Newspapers

The most unforgettable person I ever met was Arthur I. Snyder. I first met him some twenty-five 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 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 the 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, “Ok, 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 first 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.”

Aventura acquired a large piece of land, on which they constructed a school, however a large piece of land at the end of the street remained unused. Our Mayor asked me to visit numerous cities and give my opinion as to the best possible use of the property. I asked a friend, Sidney to join me in visiting over 30 communities and we gave our report that the best use would be a beautiful theater, with adjoining parking. Our Mayor loved the idea and asked me to appear before our City Commission and present our report. I did so, however, several commissioners opposed a theater, so the matter was delayed. We then brought in several experts on the subject who totally agreed on a theater. Because of medical reports, Mayor Snyder decided not to run again for Mayor. With a few election changes in the Commission (including myself) the theater was unanimously approved. I shall never forget our opening of our superb theater. It has been a great success. I will always give credit to Mayor Snyder.

Arthur, who allegedly “never spoke form the heart,” gave me a gift that I treasure for helping his Mayoral Campaign and ongoing support – a Movado watch, inscribed, “BOB, DEEPEST AFFECTION, ARTHUR.” He passed away in 2004. I truly miss him.

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