Single community council race on Aug. 24 ballot

By Richard Yager

John Paul Arrien

Only one Kendall area community council race is on the Aug. 24 primary election ballot.

West Kendall Council 11 voters will choose only between incumbent council chair Patricia “Shannen” Davis and newcomer John P. Arrien for a Council 11 “At Large” seat. There are no contests for East Kendall Council 12.

Miguel A. Diaz, a newcomer in Sub Area 113, and incumbent Beatrice Suarez, representing Sub Area 115, are running unopposed. Diaz seeks the seat formerly filled by appointment of Nelson Diaz who resigned when moving from the district.

A seventh seat in District 11 was vacated by the resignation of former chair Domingo Castillo in 2009, and remains vacant for Sub Area 116. Council members Jeff Wander, Ileana Vazquez and Joseph Delaney hold seats not up for reelection this year.

In East Kendall, voters will renew automatically Council 12 seats for Peggy Brodeur, Alberto Santana and chair Elliott Zack, all unopposed in the primary. Steven A. Tallon withdrew an announced candidacy in Sub Area 122, leaving the seat vacant. The seat had been held by Carla Ascencio-Savola, now running for the Republican nomination for State Representative in District 115.

Three other Council 12 seats are held by Joe Valdes, Jose Garciga and Angela Vazquez.

The Davis-Arrien contest will appear on all District 11 ballots because the seat became designated as an “At Large” position by Commissioner Joe Martinez’s re-structuring resolution, approved by County Commissioners on June 6, 2006. That action came about when no candidate sought temporary appointment to the vacant post. Davis subsequently was appointed to serve out an existing term, then filed and was elected to a full four-year term in 2006 primary voting.

Council followers generally blame diminishing interest in council candidacies after meetings on all matters except zoning and land use were canceled by the commission as a budget-cutting measure as of Oct. 1, 2009.

About the candidates:


Community Council 11 Chair Patricia “Shannen” Davis “will seek to honor the land and home o w n e r s already here” if reelected to her At-Large seat in District 11. D a v i s , qualified as the only “At Large” candidate on July 17, 2005, subsequently was elected to represent the seat when unopposed in the Sept. 5, 2006 council election.

“We need to plan for a greener, cleaner and educated township,” she stated. “That means never having to go far to meet common needs. It doesn’t mean ugly redundant strip malls littering every 100 feet of empty space. It means holding developers accountable for their promises.

“Planning and promoting adherence to beautiful village and town models reflecting our own unique tropical tastes is a good idea. Making the most of innovative and efficient technology to support and maintain the ecosystem is important.

“If it were entirely up to me, we would spend more money and time bringing every home and every business up to the most environmentally conscientious standards for century 2100.”

Davis, 64, holds a master’s degree in social work from Barry University and is a state-certified addictions professional in Spectrum Programs for FIS Case Management, providing support and advocacy for allegations of child neglect related to substance abuse and mental health. She also facilitates anger management, domestic violence and DUI groups for Lifeline of Miami.

Mother of two sons, she has resided in the Forrest Lakes area of West Kendall since 1997 with her mother, Marlaine Galvin. Her oldest son, a University of Miami graduate, now lives in New York City and a younger son’s band is completing its second album on the Interscope Label. She often uses “Shannen” as a nickname.

Davis said she “wasn’t going to run again” but during recent months several items on the Council 11 zoning agenda convinced her “historical experience is needed for the council to make the right choice. During a June meeting, I realized running again was the right thing to do,” she concluded when decisions effected both land use and western development.


A technical information specialist with Baptist Health of South Florida, John Paul Arrien is running “At Large” for a seat on West Kendall Community Council 11.

“The reason why I am running is because I am someone who wants to get involved and serve my community,” Arrien said. “Furthermore, I was also encouraged by my neighbors, family and friends.

“With all the change that has happened over the years in West Kendall, our neighborhoods are being reshaped in ways that most of us could not have imagined 30 years ago. This change is exciting to me and I have an o p t i m i s t i c outlook and a great sense of pride for the community we live in. “With my MBA and real world l e a d e r s h i p experience, I am prepared t o address the issues and give back to our community.”

Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, Arrien, 37, has been a resident of West Kendall for the past 12 years, and married for the same period. He is the father of two.

An information technology professional, he received his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Florida International University and his master’s degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Employed by Baptist Health South Florida for the past nine and one-half years, he currently holds the position of Information Technology Corporate Manager.

Over the years, he has been a volunteer in activities for both Habitat for Humanity and the Hands on Miami non-profit organizations.

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