District 11 runoff to decide who will replace Martinez

Atwo-man contest for M i a m i – D a d e Commission chair Joe Martinez’s soon-tobe- vacated District 11 seat is the only one at stake for Kendall voters in county commission races on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Once rumored to be a candidate for the Broward Sheriff’s post (since denied), Martinez has not yet announced his intentions when he steps down from a 12-year term as commissioner of District 11 which represents several of West Dade’s major unincorporated areas including Country Walk, The Hammocks, Kendale Lakes, Bent Tree, and Lakes of the Meadow.

That commission seat is contested by former state legislator Juan C. Zapata, 45, and Miami-Dade police detective Manny Machado, 37, neither receiving more than 50 percent of the total votes cast in the August primary while eliminating Javier Munoz, 29.

Machado, a 12-year law enforcement veteran, is on leave from the department while running for office following. Zapata who once served as West Kendall Community Council 11 chair was term-limited after serving eight years as a State Representative for District 119 that covers a large portion of West Kendall.

The only other seat affecting Kendall voting currently is held by Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez, who is unopposed on Nov. 6.

Suarez, 53, was elected to the District 7 seat on May 24, 2011. He represents several municipalities from Miami to Pinecrest, including precincts in East Kendall areas.

Boundary lines for commission seats were changed throughout the county after reapportionment to equalize populations in each of the 13 districts. The new plan was adopted on Dec. 19, 2011.

Catalina Lopez, spokesperson for the Elections Division, advised voters interested in district revision to consult a map of revised boundaries, located online at http://www.miamidade.gov/redistricting.

“Voters should check their registration cards carefully, especially to see if the boundary changes could have affected location of a voting precinct,” she added.

Lopez also noted that the Miami-Dade School Board redrew the nine member district boundaries to reflect population changes that have occurred since the 2000 Census. Boundaries approved Nov. 22, 2011 are available on a new district map at http://redistricting.dadeschools.net/.

Martinez began serving as commission chair for a two-year term on Nov. 16, 2010, interrupted only by his unsuccessful bid for the county mayor’s post when defeated in the August primary by Carlos A. Gimenez.

Martinez began his public service career in 1984 as an officer in the Miami-Dade Police Department, including service in the Kendall District. He worked his way through the ranks as a detective with the General Investigations Unit from 1988 to 1992, and subsequently was promoted to police sergeant, master sergeant and lieutenant.

During his 17-year police career, he received more than 70 awards and commendations, including two prestigious Gold Medals of Valor, the Silver Medal of Valor, an Exceptional Service Award, and Lifesaving Award.

A native of Miami, Martinez holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Studies in Public Administration from Barry University. Married to Ana Martinez, the couple has five children.

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