The qualifying period for the Miami Springs municipal election, set for April 2, has ended and there were several changes just before the 5 p.m. deadline last Friday, Feb. 15. There are 11 qualified candidates for mayor and council, but only nine will be on the ballot come Election Day.
Former mayor Billy Bain, running for his wife Grace’s Group II council seat, and incumbent Group III Councilman George Lob have drawn no opposition and will earn two-year terms on the first Tuesday in April. Neither Bain nor Lob will appear on the ballot.
Of the nine names on the ballot, five are running for the seat being vacated by Councilman Bob Best, who is term-limited after eight years on council. It was thought there could be as many as six candidates for Best’s seat, but Arturo Rabade, who was in the process of qualifying, withdrew his name on Friday.
Two new candidates for the Group I seat, Alexander Anthony and Miguel Becerra, qualified just before the deadline. They join Helen Lawrence, Nestor Suarez and Michael Windrem in the race to replace Best. There are no longer runoffs in Miami Springs, so the highest vote-getter among the five will be elected.
There is not nearly that kind of competition for Jennifer Ator’s Group IV council seat, as former mayoral candidate Jaime Petralanda and newcomer Constantine Hernandez will square off. One of the two will replace Ator, who stepped down after two terms to run for mayor.
Ator and Mayor Zavier Garcia, seeking a second term as mayor after serving as a councilman from 2005-09, figure to wage a heated battle for the top elected position in Miami Springs. Ator would be the first female mayor in the 86-year history of Miami Springs.
Miami Springs is a strong city manager form of government, with council members receiving a $6,000 yearly salary and the mayor receiving $7,000. Every two years, the mayor and council groups I, II, II and IV run for two-year terms with a maximum of eight consecutive years allowed.