Say this for the folks in Virginia Gardens: Evidently, they really like their politicians.
Last week, without too much fanfare, the biennial municipal elections took place in Virginia Gardens. And if the term “status quo” means anything, then apply it to the town of Virginia Gardens.
Not that it was any shock, but Mayor Spencer Deno IV, going unchallenged, won his sixth consecutive term in office (there are no term limits in VG), while Jorge Arce, Debra Conover and Elizabeth Taylor-Martinez, whose three seats were up for re-election as well, also went unchallenged and will be right back in their same seats at this Thursday’s regular council meeting conducting business as usual.
There was an election, though, and while very few people did actually go to the polls at VG Village Hall on Sept. 10 — 120 ballots out of the 1,347 registered voters were cast — there was still something at stake. There was the question of who would finish first, second and third, with the first-place finisher getting a four-year term and the title of council president. Second place resulted in a four-year term, while third would get just two years.
When it was over, Arce edged Taylor-Martinez by 18 votes, 75 to 57, for first place, while Conover received 30 votes and will have to run again for her seat in two years along with Steve Petterson and Richard Block, who each got four-year terms two years ago.
Considering there has been virtually no turnover in the last eight years, it almost doesn’t matter who gets two years or four years — 2013 marked the fourth straight time, along with 2011, 2009 and 2007, that there were no challengers for any of the seats.
Asked if he has enjoyed his 10 years at his mayor’s post, Deno, a lifelong VG resident whose family name and Virginia Gardens have gone hand-in-hand did not hesitate.
“It’s been great,” said Deno, a 1991 graduate of Miami Springs High School. “I was born and raised here and the Deno name has been a part of Virginia Gardens for a very long time and I’m proud to have played a part in the progress of this village over the last 10 years and I look forward to the continued progression of VG.”