Following one of the most bruising election seasons in the citys short history, Dorals new mayor said he would encourage unity among the council and the city as a whole during his Wednesday swearing-in ceremony at City Hall.
This night is to enjoy all together, said Luigi Boria, an entrepreneur and ordained minister who won election Tuesday to become the citys second mayor. He succeeds Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, who is term-limited out.
We live in a democracy, this is a very beautiful democracy. I believe in this democracy, said Boria, the first Venezuela-born mayor to lead a South Florida city. This city has a place for everybody.
Boria won with just under 55 percent of the vote in a runoff election Tuesday, besting former school board member Frank Bolaños.
Former councilman Pete Cabrera was also vying for the mayor seat during the Nov. 6 general election but didnt garner enough votes to qualify for the runoff.
Two council seats races were also decided with run-offs: Sandra Ruiz beat Elena Ortega-Tauler in the Seat 1 race with just over 55 percent of the vote. Christi Fraga beat Robert Van Name to gain Seat 3, also with just over 55 percent of votes cast.
Both women, along with Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera, who beat Clemente Vera during the Nov. 6 general election for Seat 2, took their oaths during the ceremony and had their family and supporters present when giving their acceptance speeches.
The newly elected women will join Councilwoman Ana Maria Rodriquez on the dais, creating an all-female council, a first in the relatively young city.
I understand we are creating history because this is one of the first councils that will be run by women and a man, said Rodriguez-Aguilera in her speech. Now that we got elected I truly want to work in a unified council to do the best for the city of Doral and I know that we will.
The new council has inherited nearly $23 million in surplus, the addition of parks in a city that had none when it incorporated in 2003 and a location that is a hub for several local and international businesses.
Building and improving parks, adding art and cultural events and venues and improving roadways to alleviate traffic issues remain among the hot issues in Doral.
Boria promised to sit down with his opponents to discuss ways to tackle the citys issues.
Everybody needs to be included in this city, no matter what their religion or way of thinking, Boria said.
Bolaños, who did not attend the ceremony, did send Boria a congratulatory text message after attempts to call him failed Wednesday.
The text was written in Spanish and translated to: I want to congratulate you, your family and volunteers. I hope it will all be for the good for our beloved community.
During the campaign Bolaños, who was endorsed by Bermudez, had criticized Cabreras endorsement of Boria, claiming that he had promised him hed have his endorsement if the mayoral race ended in a runoff.
Bolaños, said he believes Cabrera picked Boria to get back at the City Manager Yvonne Soler-McKinley and Police Chief Ricardo Gomez, who have had well-publicized rifts with him the past and that the two struck a deal to ensure Cabreras endorsement.
Boria strongly denied making a promise to Cabrera to seal his support. He said the mayor does not have authority to fire the city manager or police chief.
He revisited the issue following his victory Tuesday night and said he has no plans on firing any city employees.
Cabrera denies he spoke to Bolaños about firing anyone.
"Those are all lies," Cabrera said following the ceremony, adding he believes his endorsement of Boria helped to win him the election. "I feel he has the greatest capacity to carry the vision that I have, which is to get rid of the divisiveness in city hall and move forward with out positive future."
In sign of unity Boria invited Cabrera and Bermudez, who have clashed publicly in the past, to stand by him during one point of his acceptance speech.
The pair shook hands in front of the packed room.
Love is what is going to unify us, said Boria.
The council is scheduled to meet for its first regular council meeting on Dec. 12.