Miami Beach’s November ballot will be full of familiar faces.
On Tuesday, Miami Beach City Commissioner Ricky Arriola filed to run for re-election. He joins Mayor Dan Gelber and former Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez in seeking another term. Former state Rep. David Richardson has also thrown his name into the race for the fourth commission seat on the November ballot after incumbent John Elizabeth Alemán decided not to run again.
There are seven seats on the City Commission, including the mayor’s, but only four are up for election this year. The deadline to file election paperwork isn’t until September, but candidates can start raising money after they file.
Arriola, who was first elected in November 2015, is the founder and CEO of Inktel Holdings Corp., a call center outsourcing company. He has also served as chairman of the board of the Adrienne Arsht Center and was previously appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities by President Barack Obama.
“I think the next four to five years are critical for our city for decades to come and I think if we do things right we’re really going to elevate the city to another level,” Arriola said. “We’re really doing a lot of good things but a lot more still needs to be done and I want to be a part of it.”
Arriola listed the implementation of the $439 million general obligation bond program to fund parks, infrastructure and public safety projects, the city’s ongoing efforts to protect against the impacts of sea level rise, and the redevelopment of North Beach as some of his priorities for the next four years. The commissioner has been a vocal proponent of the general obligation bond program and the convention center hotel, both of which voters approved last November, as well as plans to redevelop North Beach, including the Town Center area along 71st Street.
Arriola is currently running unopposed, but his colleagues face competition.
Rosen Gonzalez has three opponents: Michael Barrineau, a real estate broker and member of the city’s planning board; Steven Meiner, a lawyer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and Rafael Velasquez, a real estate broker.
Gelber currently has one challenger, a Beach resident who works in property management named Konstantinos Gus Manessis.
Richardson faces a new challenger. Adrian Gonzalez, the owner of the South Beach Cuban restaurant David’s Café, filed to run against the former state representative last month. Blake Young, the owner of an industrial sales contracting company, is also running in that race.
Gonzalez, who ran unsuccessfully against Commissioner Michael Góngora in 2017, said that if elected he would focus on improving quality of life for residents, the city’s resiliency efforts and “bringing back transparency and accountability” to City Hall. Gonzalez said that he’d advocate for “taking the handcuffs off the police officers” in order to improve public safety.
Miami Beach commission seats are not based on geographic areas, so candidates can pick their seat. Commissioners are limited to two four-year terms.