Two incumbents retain council seats and newcomer wins, too

Government By Alexandra Herrera and Linda Trischitta Wednesday, November 16, 2022

     Miami Lakes voters returned incumbent councilmen Carlos O. Alvarez and Josh Dieguez to the dais on election night and chose Ray Garcia, who lost the last election but campaigned hard to win over residents this time.

     On Nov. 28, the councilmen will be sworn in at town hall at 6 p.m. After the ceremony, a special call meeting will begin at 7 p.m. for the council to choose the new vice mayor.

     Garcia, 49, a health insurance licensed agent, won 63.5% of the vote, defeating retired U.S. Marine Corps. Col. William Perez, 58, (29.3%) and attorney Ian Medina, 29, (7.2%).

     Garcia will replace Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rodriguez on Seat 2. Rodriguez is an attorney who has said he wants to spend more time with his family. He declined to seek reelection after serving one term.

     “I’m thankful for the residents’ support,” Garcia said, adding that he looks forward to meeting with town staff and to establishing a working relationship with them. 

     For Seat 4, Dieguez, 33, an attorney, was reelected with 63% of the vote to beat law firm case manager Miguel Comesana III, 29 (who won 36.8%).

     “I just want to thank [voters] for putting their trust in me,” Dieguez said. 

     It was a double-victory night for Dieguez. He was not in favor of the $19.5 million bond proposal to improve Optimist Park which was defeated by voters.

     Dieguez admitted the time has come to deal with the park and said he knows it needs repairs. 

     And for Seat 6, Alvarez, 45, a charter high school principal, was reelected in another runaway race. 

     His 66.4% of the vote was double the 33.6% of ballots collected by Angelo Garcia, 60, a safety technician.

     Alvarez was one of the park plan’s top supporters.

     Though voters agreed with Angelo Garcia who was against the bond issue because it would have meant higher property taxes, that difference evidently not enough to unseat Alvarez.

     Alvarez’s denial of the 2020 election that put President Joe Biden in the White House was also not enough for voters to reject him.  

     “I want to thank all of the Miami Lakers,” Alvarez said. “The election results prove I’m a trusted leader on the council.”

     He says he will continue to be passionate about public safety initiatives; education; parks and recreation and improving infrastructure.  

     All three candidates have turned their focus to Optimist Park, the town’s largest athletic facility. 

     The council and town staff will need to work on how they will fund repairs to fragile light poles, inadequate drainage, poor field design and parking problems. 

     Alvarez and Dieguez said they planned to work with newly elected School Board member Roberto Alonso to see how the district could contribute to those costs. 

     All three council members said that was their focus going into January. 

     Election results will be certified within two weeks after the election, said Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo, who is also supervisor of elections in Miami Lakes.

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