River Cities

Miami Springs voters to elect a new mayor, two contested council seats

Miami Springs City Hall on Westward Drive.
Miami Springs City Hall on Westward Drive. For the Miami Herald

Residents of Miami Springs will cast ballots this week for a new mayor and city council.

Three candidates are running for mayor, who sits on the council and votes.

▪ Councilman Billy Bain, a local businessman; former Councilman Eric Elza, retired; and Donna Hernandez, a school administrator.

Current Mayor Zavier Garcia is not seeking reelection.

Five candidates are vying for two open council seats; two incumbents are running unopposed.

▪ Group I: Incumbent Bob Best, a landscaper, is running unopposed.

▪ Group II: Constantino Hernandez, a school administrator; Martin Marquez, an architect; Maria Mitchell, a former county official.

▪ Group III: Kathie Marquez, an office manager; Mara Zapata, a college administrator.

▪ Group IV: Incumbent Jaime Petralanda, a schoolteacher, is running unopposed.

Martin and Kathie Marquez are married to each other — and are both running for council in different seats. They hope to make history in Florida by becoming the first known spouses to serve at the same time on the same council or commission.

Each candidate has previously held or run for a council seat, except for Mitchell, Zapata, Hernandez and Kathie Marquez.

Absent from this year's elections are former mayoral candidates Fred Suco and Jennifer Ator. Suco, a local tavern owner, filed a lawsuit against the city after losing to Garcia in the 2015 election. Ator, an attorney and former councilwoman, lost her bid for mayor to Garcia by a landslide in 2013.

The three-square-mile bedroom community rests just north of Miami International Airport and has 14,316 residents, according to the 2013 Census.

Nearly 35 percent of the city’s residents turned out to cast ballots in the 2013 election, county records show.

Miami Springs election

▪ When: Tuesday, April 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

▪ Polling place: Miami Springs Golf Course, 650 Curtiss Pkwy.

City officials have announced that early voting will take place at City Hall, 201 Westward Dr., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.