Florida is going to be awash with presidential candidates, ads and debates over the next 10 days, as the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries near their March 15 date.
But for many voters in South Florida, there will be other issues and candidates on the ballot unrelated to the presidential primary election or party affiliation. This is a voters’ guide on those races and ballot questions in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.
Early voting is available at specific polling locations until Saturday, March 12, in Monroe County and Sunday, March 13, in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Check your supervisor of election websites to find available precincts and their hours of operation, which vary from county to county and day to day:
Registered Republican and Democratic voters will see a litany of names on the ballot, but many candidates have already dropped out of the race. Republican candidates Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump remain in the race. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are still campaigning.
Developers Alex Mantecon and Guillermo Vadell want to build the Riverside Wharf, a privately financed $30 million complex of four restaurants and a fish market on the Miami River. Their project is planned on private and city land, and would fetch the city a minimum of $195,000 annually over the span of a 30-year lease with two 10-year options. They need a simple majority of voters to support the project.
Miami Beach leaders are asking voters to support a proposal to lease public land to a developer planning a $400 million, 800-room convention center hotel on the corner of Convention Center Drive and 17th Street. The city is currently renovating the convention center. If 60 percent of voters approve the proposal, an affiliate of Portman Holdings would pay the city close to $900 million in lease payments over 99 years, according to city figures. A second ballot question asks if the city should dedicate income from the hotel lease to mass transit, pre-K to 12 education, storm-water projects and burying utility lines underground.
Voters will decide whether to reelect Mayor Daniel Dietch, or replace him with Victor May or Vice Mayor Eli Tourgeman. There are also four open seats on the town commission. Commissioners Michael Karukin and Barry Cohen are running for reelection. Jaymy Bengio, Daniel Gielchinsky and Tina Paul are also in the race.
Incumbent Councilman Marlon Luis is seeking reelection to the town council as the District 4 representative. John Toole is challenging him.
Three candidates are campaigning for a chair on the town commission, which has two open at-large seats. Mayor Richard “Dick” Maggiore, Irene Kirdahy and Don Taggart are still in the race. Commissioner Troy Link’s name will appear on the ballot, but he is no longer seeking reelection. Voters will also decide whether to change the town charter to allow for the permanent hiring of a town manager.
Voters will decide whether to keep Scot Sasser as mayor or elect James A. Pady. They will also choose either Yann Brandt or Alfred “Buz” Oldaker as the town’s District 2, Seat 4 commissioner. Commissioner Mark Brown ran unopposed for the District 1 seat.
Three candidates are running for one at-large city commission seat made available when Shari McCartney resigned in October. The candidates are interim commissioner Michael E. Carn, former mayor Layne Dallett Walls and Scott Herman.
Voters in the city have choices to make in two commission races. Commissioner Jay Schwartz is seeking reelection to the District 2 seat and is challenged by former commissioner Jack McCluskey. Mark O’Loughlin is also in the race. In District 3, Vice Mayor Iris Siple is seeking reelection in a race against Ryann Greenberg and Chris Ziadie.
All voters in Monroe County will see a ballot question about whether the school district should continue to be allowed to levy a “flexible” property tax to help fund operational expenses, such as teachers, nurses and classroom materials instead of capital projects. Voters have twice renewed the tax.
Two ballot questions are placed before voters about the purchase of the workforce housing Peary Court project at 541 White St. The city wants to acquire the project for $55 million and issue revenue bonds to finance the purchase.
This article has been updated to clarify the amount of money the city of Miami Beach expects to receive in lease payments through the development of a convention center hotel.