Jim Araiza is a 43-year resident of Palmetto Bay and a community activist who is running for the District 2 seat on the Village Council.
His stated mission is to increase village government transparency and accountability, seek sound budgetary processes and fair council policies, and to promote active resident participation in the community.
“I grew up in Palmetto Bay,” Araiza said. “Much of my success and well-being was fostered by this community and its residents. Serving on our council is an opportunity to give back — to share my expertise in business and my passion for civic and community affairs.”
Araiza graduated from Christopher Columbus High School, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from St. Thomas University and did post-graduate work as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
In his early 20s Araiza became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), one of the youngest candidates to earn the CFP credentials. He then became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at a time when there were only a handful of CFP/CPA’s in the country.
He has been married 19 years to Jana Sheeder, who also grew up in the area and attended Palmetto High School. Jana is the president of SailAway Yacht Charter Consultants and is widely known for her volunteer work for the Humane Society, SPCA and numerous pet rescue organizations.
Araiza said that, if elected, he has clear-cut goals to pursue in the months ahead.
“My primary focus is to promote active resident participation in our community,” Araiza said. “To do so, we need to return to an unwavering commitment to delivering excellence, from honoring the public’s right to information, to fair policies, to respecting the diverse viewpoints of engaged residents and business owners.”
He owned his own business, James J Araiza PA, Certified Public Accountants, and is on the board of directors of Optical Management Advisors and SailAway Yacht Charter Consultants Inc. He also is an active member of the Palmetto Bay Business Association (PBBA).
A believer in community service, Araiza has been a board member of South Florida Hearts United (Pediatric Care Foundation), Dade County Sports Foundation Inc. (Athletic Programs for Underprivileged Youth), a special events volunteer for Miami-Dade Police Department Animal Services Unit (now the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department), a volunteer financial consultant for the Miami-Dade Rescue Railroad, and Sanctuary Animal Refuge, a volunteer for the Village of Palmetto Bay Special Events Committee, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens (special events), and Adopt-a-Pet.
He also is the managing editor of Eye on Palmetto Bay Community Blog (2009 to present). As an advocate for the environment, Araiza has rallied residents to support Everglades restoration projects.
Araiza said that he wants to make a difference for residents and the community and knows what it takes to achieve that goal.
“Interference by a small, vocal minority has led to wasteful spending, costly litigation, and a divided village,” Araiza said. “As your councilman, I will not bow to emotional pressure and coercion. I will use my executive business expertise and proven leadership skills to restore an open, responsive government. Together, with your help, we can reclaim the sense of pride and community spirit that once distinguished Palmetto Bay as the best place to live, work and play.” For more information visit his website at www.jimaraiza2012.com.
— Gary Alan Ruse