There are three municipal posts up for election in Doral, including the job of mayor.
Incumbent Luigi Boria is being challenged by former mayor Juan Carlos Bermúdez, the first to hold that position in the young city, as well as council member Sandra Ruiz, who has been a vocal opponent of some of Mr. Boria’s policies and initiatives.
All three candidates possess the political experience required for the job and the requisite familiarity with Doral’s problems — chief among them the nightmarish traffic congestion, which becomes most frustrating during morning and evening rush hours.
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Mr. Boria can boast of some successes, such as lowering taxes and promoting residential and commercial real-estate development. But his tenure has also been marred by ethical controversies, like his association with a real-estate firm in which his sons were shareholders and a fine for violating campaign funding regulations involving his own race in 2012. His nasty fight with former City Manager Joe Carollo, who happened to be Mr. Boria’s own appointee, brought embarrassment to the city.
After he was fired, Mr. Carollo filed a lawsuit alleging corruption against Mr. Boria that is still pending in court.
Mr. Boria managed to move on with new hires for city manager and municipal police chief. But that didn’t put an end to the simmering discontent on the part of many Doral residents who believe he favors commercial interests over the concerns of average citizens. And during meetings with the Editorial Boards of both the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, Mr. Boria frequently interrupted rival candidates a la Donald Trump with unmerited accusations.
Ms. Ruiz knows Doral and its problems as well as anyone. She has the right cultural sensitivity to serve a community that is 80 percent Hispanic. But an unseemly verbal confrontation with Doral police in September — brought on by a quarrel between her son and a girlfriend — raises serious questions about her temperament. She accused the police of taking part in a politically inspired plot against her and used intemperate language against them.
Mr. Bermúdez promoted Doral’s urban growth during his two terms, from 2003 to 2012. His tenure was marred by serious controversies, including the costly construction of City Hall and a park named in his honor (today wisely renamed Doral Central Park). But during his time in office Doral was recognized by CNN in 2009 as one of the 100 best cities to live and start a business.
All three candidates for the mayoral post are capable, but voters who want leadership and stability in the office should place their bets on Mr. Bermúdez. He has the right temperament and the most impressive track record.
For mayor of Doral, the Herald recommends JUAN CARLOS BERMÚDEZ.
City Council Seat 1
Voters can’t complain about a lack of choices in this race. Six candidates are vying for the seat currently held by Sandra Ruiz, a candidate for mayor. All six believe solving the traffic congestion mess should be a priority, along with controlling urban growth and improving zoning laws.
The candidates are:
▪ Jackeline Alers, 49, a dance and fitness company owner. She is also a former scholarship development director and an event management firm consultant.
▪ Jackelin Guiza, 47, owner of a consulting firm and a member for the Venezuelan Forum. At community events, she has advocated against bullying and domestic violence.
▪ Claudia Mariaca, 42, an alternate School Board member and officer of a financial consulting company.
▪ Enza Mongiovi-Vera, 51, co-owner of a home-building services company with her husband. She helped run her husband's unsuccessful campaign for the Doral council in 2012.
▪ Adriana Moyano, 43, a marketing company owner who has lived in Doral 12 years.
▪ Carlos Pereira, 42, a former sex-shop manager in Broward who unsuccessfully ran for the Legislature in 2014. He previously worked as a comedian for AméricaTeVé and has been a ventriloquist in his native Venezuela and in South Florida.
Our choice in this race is Ms. Mariaca, because of her community activity, her knowledge of the issues and concerns in Doral and her desire to improve transparency in government. Last year, she proposed an ordinance — later passed by the council — to improve the involvement of residents in the zoning process.
For Doral City Council Seat 1, the Herald recommends CLAUDIA MARIACA.
City Council Seat 3
Incumbent Christi Fraga is running for another term against Digna Cabral, 39, a research analyst in a medical department at the University of Miami, and David Hernández, 40, a CPA who has lived in Doral for four years and has been an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College and FIU.
Ms. Fraga, 29, who owns a small business in Doral and has served on the council since 2012, has been key in establishing new trolley routes in the city. Her priorities include improved traffic control.
She has not feared being a lone voice of dissent on the council. Ms. Fraga was the only member who voted against spending $2.5 million on the Miss Universe pageant and argued against giving Donald Trump the symbolic keys to the city.
Ms. Fraga has the experience, knowledge and proper problem-solving skills to do the job that’s required on the council. For Doral City Council Seat 3, the Herald recommends CHRISTI FRAGA.