Miami Lakes Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano is considering whether to run for mayor.
She was nominated to fill a vacant council seat by incumbent Mayor Manny Cid in 2017 and ran unopposed in 2018.
They are both facing reelection in November and neither one has an opponent, at least so far.
“The last thing I heard was that she’s supporting me,” Cid said on Feb. 25.
Several residents urged Ruano to challenge Cid after he appeared on a Spanish radio host’s podcast.
Cid and Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez met on Feb. 12 with Enrique Santos of TU 94.9 at Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill in Hialeah.
Over beers and a heaping platter of nachos (photo below, courtesy of YouTube), the two elected officials discussed the two closed bridges that span Interstate 75 at Northwest 154th Street and Northwest 170th Street, which Hernandez wants opened.
Residents who live on the west side of the Interstate want access to the town when driving their kids to area schools or getting to the Palmetto Expressway.
Miami Lakers fear an increase in traffic and say that the town shouldn’t suffer because of a lack of infrastructure in Hialeah.
The nacho summit displeased some people who posted comments on Facebook on the Miami Lakes Residents page.
“The residents in the town are begging for a change,” said Ruano, an accountant. “I am constantly receiving phone calls, emails and texts, posts asking me to please consider running for mayor.”
Ruano, shown above in a town council photo, declined to comment on the podcast that can be seen on YouTube.
Cid’s critics said the meeting should have been in a town hall format and open to the public.
They also faulted him for having the meeting while the town is suing Hialeah, Miami-Dade County and developers Lennar Corporation and its contractors for work done on the east side of the Northwest 170th Street bridge without obtaining town permits.
Lennar Corporation built the homes on the west side of Interstate 75 where more than 2,000 residents want to be able to commute east. That lawsuit is ongoing.
The town offered to open the Northwest 170th Street bridge just for firefighters and police, but Miami-Dade County’s attorney turned it down on behalf of the commission, according to emails obtained by The Miami Laker.
Hialeah did not reply to the town’s proposal.
Cid said the county commission may still vote on the idea, and the emails were public records and so the topic could be discussed openly.
One Facebook commenter didn’t see anything wrong with the podcast, and neither did Cid. He said he only reads the I Love Miami Lakes Facebook page and was unaware of the criticism.
As “the most accessible mayor in Florida,” Cid said he would “meet with anyone who wants to talk about it.”
During the podcast, Cid insisted several times that opening the bridge at Northwest 154th Street was not going to happen, that the park at the west end of it was nearing completion and that the town has a say in what will happen at Northwest 170th Street too.
Cid suggested an exit be built from Northwest 170th Street onto Interstate 75.
Hernandez said if the bridges were to open, one concession could be that commercial vehicle traffic would not increase.
He said he didn’t need Northwest 170th Street to open for emergency vehicles because the city has its own fire and police departments.
Hernandez also said that opening the bridges would alleviate traffic on both sides.
Cid said he has heard only praise for meeting with the Hialeah leader and for representing the town and its position on the bridges controversy.
“Residents believe that people with different opinions should sit down with each other and talk,” Cid said. “In the era of the internet, it’s become too easy for people to get into silos and only talk with people they agree with.”
If Ruano is going to challenge Cid, she has time to decide. The qualifying period begins July 27.