Interested in seeing your eligible political candidates in action? Then block off this Friday, March 22 on your calendar.
Now becoming a tradition before every municipal election, the Candidates Forum will take place beginning at 7 p.m. in the Rebeca Sosa Theater at the Miami Springs Community Center, 1401 Westward Drive.
Co-sponsored by the Miami Springs Woman’s Club and the Miami Springs Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, the event will feature all nine candidates for the upcoming April 2 election in a forum where they will answer questions on all of the hot-button topics in the community.
As they did two years ago, Gazette columnist Buzz Fleischmann will serve as the official moderator and Eric Richey will be the timer.
All nine candidates — former mayor Billy Bain and incumbent councilman George Lob are running unopposed in Groups II and III, respectively, and will not participate — will be in attendance. The candidates will be organized and sit next to each other according to which group they are running in and in alphabetical order in that group.
The candidates for mayor are incumbent Zavier Garcia and Councilwoman Jennifer Ator. There are five candidates for Group I: Alexander Anthony, Miguel Becerra, Helen Lawrence, Nestor Suarez and Michael Windrem; and two candidates for Group IV: Constantino Hernandez and Jaime Petralanda.
The candidates will begin the evening with a 30-second opening statement, with Richey hitting the bell as soon as their time is up. Up next will be a period of random questions. A fish bowl containing numbers will be prepared with accompanying questions and a panelist will pull the question at random from the fish bowl when a candidate is called.
The questions themselves will be prepared by that group of panelists whose identity will not be revealed until the actual event on Friday.
“We’re just trying to avoid a scenario where people know in advance who the panelists are and perhaps create undo pressure to reveal questions early,” said Chamber president and former Miami Springs city manager Jim Borgmann. “We’re looking forward to what certainly should be a very informative evening for the citizens of Miami Springs and are very privileged to team up with the Miami Springs Woman’s Club to put on this terrific and very important event for the community.”
Once called upon, each candidate will have 90 seconds to answer the questions, which could be on a wide variety of topics and range everywhere from the city’s pending annexation deal with Virginia Gardens, Medley and Doral, to the status and possible expensive upcoming ventures surrounding the refurbishing of the pool, and the golf course.
If you can’t make it on Friday, you still will be able to see it as Comcast will have its equipment set up to telecast the event and rebroadcast it on Channel 77 next week beginning on Tuesday, March 26.
A complete story on the forum will appear in next week’s issue of the Gazette, which will be mailed to all residents and businesses in Miami Springs. In addition, the Gazette will also have a special separate political section with profiles of all nine candidates and their position on various issues affecting the city, as well as additional information on the upcoming municipal election.