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The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

Miami, Miami Beach races head to runoffs on Miami-Dade election night

Commission seats filled in Miami, Miami Beach, Homestead, Hialeah and Surfside.
An “I Voted!” sticker provided by the Miami-Dade County Elections Department. Via the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.


City of Miami elections for city commissioner were held on Nov. 7. Two of the races are heading for runoffs, after no candidate received a majority of the vote.

In District 1, Alex Diaz de la Portilla received the most votes (1571). He will face Miguel Angel Gabela in the runoff, who received 1,237 votes.

Diaz de la Portilla was recently charged with: money laundering, campaign contribution in excess of legal limits, criminal conspiracy, bribery, failure to report a gift, unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, and official misconduct, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Diaz de la Portilla held the District 1 seat before he was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In District 2, Sabina Covo received the most votes, with 2,782 votes. She will face Damian Pardo in the runoff, who received 1,872 votes.

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In a statement on Instagra, Covo said, “I’m so grateful to have our communities strong support, finishing with a commanding first place lead in today’s election and laying the path for victory in two weeks. With a nearly 15-point lead, we won across the board tonight – growing our 10-point lead from February’s election by 5 points.”

Finally, Manolo Reyes won his District 4 seat outright. He won with 3,736 votes in this area of the northeastern corner of Miami.

“I’m feeling good”, Reyes told the Miami Herald. “We hope to see positive changes in our community going forward.”

— Daniil Mclaughlin, Reilly Mark and Barbara Leon

Miami Beach

Miami Beach’s mayoral election will go into a runoff between Michael Gongora and Steven Meiner after neither of the candidates achieved more than 50% of the vote. The two leading candidates secured about 28% and 30% of the votes, respectively, in the November 7 election, gathering 13,600 voters between all four candidates.

Gongora (D), 53, has been elected thrice as a Miami Beach City Commissioner in 2006, 2009, and 2017. Meiner (NOP), 52, was elected to the Miami Beach City Commission in 2019 and serves as the current Miami Beach Vice Mayor.

Their former opponents, Mike Grieco (D) and Bill Roedy (IND), got about 20% and 21% of the vote, respectively.

Both runoff candidates have placed a strong emphasis on safety as concerns continue to grow over rising crime rates in Miami Beach. CBS News asked about their attitudes on the topic.

“I’m the Miami Beach Police endorsed candidate. I’m working with them to put more police out on the streets to increase the police budget and make sure we do everything so that everybody feels safe here in Miami Beach,” said Gongora.

“Number one is police visibility and we have a new police chief working closely with him. That is the number one deterrent. But we also have a municipal prosecution team here in Miami Beach,’ said Meiner.

— Panni Peschke, Michael Perez, Marcus Martinez and Sofia Figueroa


On Nov 7, 2023, Surfside Florida elected a new mayor. Robert Krouse, former president of Surfside Beach Pier Committe, who won with 567 votes beating out Cindy Keating, who received 136 votes, and David Pellegrino who received 472 votes.

Krouse is new to the mayoral role in Surfside, but he has many ideas, having previously worked in local government.

He hopes to make the town revenue grow by taking advantage of the pier.

There will be three new members in the town council. Out of seven people, including two incumbents, Shawn Fallon, Harry Kohlmann and Skip Walls have won the three seats in the town council beating out incumbents Micheal Drake and Paul Holder.

— Andres Montes de Oca, Camila Gomez, Amy Garcia


On Nov. 7, Monica Nicole Perez won re-election for Hialeah councilmember for Group 1 and Angelic Pacheco had a surprising win for Group 4.

Perez is a teacher who won the seat in 2019 and currently serves as the council president. She won this election with a 63.35% vote; her opponent, Elias D. Montes de Oca had a 36.65% vote. Only about 8,000 people voted. Montes de Oca works at a paralegal firm that specializes in immigration. Perez was projected to win before the election occurred, so the win wasn’t very surprising.

Pacheco is a nurse and small business owner who previously ran for the city council but lost in a runoff, but she won the election yesterday for Hialeah Councilmember – Group 4. She won the election with a 52.33% vote just barely beating her opponent Vivian Casáls-Muñoz. This was extremely unexpected since her opponent has a background in politics, first running in 2006 and being a long-time real estate owner.

Jomar Lezama, Sasha Chernikov, Mateo Zamora


Homestead City Council Seats were filled by two reelected incumbents and two newcomers Tuesday night.  

Seat 1, representing the northwest district, was fought over by Thomas B. Davis, Amy Spadaro, and James Wyatt, with close competition between Davis and Wyatt. Davis, one of the two newcomers and a former lawyer and military officer, took the win however, with 38.4% of the votes, and will be representing the northwest district. 

For Seat 2, representing the Keys Gate district, there was no doubt about who it was going to be filled. Incumbent Sean L. Fletcher, who represented the district in 2019, won by a landslide, with 62.9% of the votes, against first time runner, Ana San Roman. 

Clemente Canabal is the new commissioner of Seat 6, after a tight race with Toshiba Mitchell. Clemente and Toshiba, both active members of the Homestead community, were both hoping to become first-time commissioners.  Canabal received 1,614 votes, while Toshiba received 1,510.

Council member Larry Roth defeated former police captain William “Bobby Rea” to win re-election to Seat 3 on the Homestead Council.

This will be the second time Roth will be re-elected for seat 3 since his original election date in November 2015. He has served a total of 8 years.

Roth won with a 52% share of 3,093 total votes.

— Valentina Palanda,Francesca Verdazco, Mercedes Halliburton

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