Voting is under way in Miami-Dade County. Here is the Miami Herald’s recommendation in Miami Beach’s Group V City Commission race:
Ricky Arriola, the incumbent, faces three challengers in his reelection bid.
Arriola identifies the city’s three main concerns as: mobility, resiliency and public safety.
“I want to strengthen our local economies. I want to see less empty storefronts,” he told the Editorial Board. “And when I talk about resiliency, I’m also talking about our economy.”
He would like to see the city’s golf course turned not into a water-storage area, but a substantial green space — “our Central Park.” He wants North Beach development carried out under the master plan crafted by residents. He also supports the convention center hotel.
Three candidates are challenging Arriola, perhaps a perception that the incumbent is vulnerable. This race, and the other, might end up in a runoff. Raquel Pacheco is a former soldier and small business owner; Jonathan Welsh is a healthcare nonprofit marketer; and Stephen Cohen is a luxury real-estate investor.
All of them clearly care for Miami Beach and its future and have viable ideas on how to move the city forward. For example, Welsh suggests turning over the city’s unusual alleyways to artists to beautify and create community. Pacheco is pushing for neighborhood policing, as promised by the new chief.
Cohen says there is a lack of diversity among the voices who have city officials’ ear. He wants to improve how city departments engage with — and listen to — residents. Cohen is a supporter of controversial State Rep. Michael Grieco, whom he considers the best champion for the city.
Incumbent Arriola is considered a financial whiz on the dais, but from that same spot he is also known to have a short fuse and some public speakers have felt his sharpness.
“I speak my mind. I don’t suffer fools gladly. I got elected to move the city forward, not to be liked by everyone,” he said. Still, Arriola is extremely talented when it comes to wrestling the big-city budget.
Arriola’s experience and financial know-how are valuable commodities on the commission. For those reasons, the Miami Herald recommends RICKY ARRIOLA for the Miami Beach Commission Group V.
For more information about what’s on your ballot, go to votemiami.org, a partnership between the Miami Herald and Radical Partners.