Bain, who served as the city’s mayor from 2003 to 2011 before having to give up his seat due to term limits, will run for office again but not for mayor. He will seek the Group II seat being vacated by none other than his wife Grace.
Grace Bain took the seat last summer when Espino resigned to run for School Board District 5 representative and, after being temporarily appointed by the council, ran unopposed in a special August election and thus took over the seat.
“The same thing I always tell anyone when they ask — to serve the people,” Billy Bain said when asked the reason for wanting to attempt to get back on the dais. “I wasn’t necessarily looking to be mayor again, I simply wanted another opportunity to get back up there and have my voice be heard because while I’m only one vote, I think there were a lot of people who were interested in hearing what I had to say for eight years. Being mayor is much more taxing on your time; thus my reason for seeking only a council seat. If elected, I’ll be honored to serve the people again.”
To date, no other resident has signed up to run for the Group II seat held by his wife.
“Billy and I talked, and while there is nothing legally keeping two spouses from serving on the same council, it would have been a real potential problem with the Sunshine laws,” said Grace Bain, referring to the state statute preventing council members from discussing council issues any place else but in a public forum. “There would have been a clear conflict there plus, to be honest, I have so many other things, between my Relay for Life activities and other charity fundraisers, to keep me busy. It was my pleasure and honor to serve the citizens of Miami Springs while I held the seat.”
Lob has held the Group III seat since 2009 and will be looking for a third consecutive term. As of Tuesday Jan. 29, nobody else had signed up for Group III, either.
At least two residents are expected to run for the Group IV seat previously held by Ator. One is Jaime Petralanda who ran unsuccessfully against Garcia in the mayor’s race in 2011.
“Now that I have gone through the process, I’m more prepared for the challenges ahead,” said Petralanda. “Why am I running again? Because I care greatly about this wonderful community that I belong to and want to help make it even better.”
Political newcomer Constantine Hernandez, an elementary school teacher at Melrose Elementary in Miami, has also indicated he will run for the Group IV seat, although neither he nor Petralanda have officially qualified to run.
“I am seeking to advance our beautiful city's current direction towards deliberate progress which will protect and enhance our quality of life and lead Miami Springs into a secure and prosperous tomorrow,” said Hernandez in an email.”Let me serve you as the new voice that will fiercely advocate for the progress of our city's current needs.”
The most crowded race would appear to be the Group I seat that Bob Best has occupied for the last eight years. Best is term-limited and Helen Lawrence, who lost to Espino in 2011, has qualified for the seat. Others expected to join the fray are Nester Suarez, Michael Windrem, and Arturo Rebade, although none of the three had qualified as of Tuesday.
“I am running for City Council because I care about the future of Miami Springs,” said Windrem. “Miami Springs is an extraordinary city that my family has enjoyed living in for almost 70 years. As a council member, I would like to be a part of preserving our quality of life for generations to come.”
Regardless of how all the races play out and the number of candidates that qualify betwen now and Feb. 15, there will be at least three new faces on council when the April 2 Miami Springs election is over.