For a time it seemed as if Matti Bower was destined to be a political bridesmaid but never a bride. She ran for the Miami Beach City Commission in 1995 and lost to Martin Shapiro. (Had she won, she would have been the first Hispanic to sit on the commission.) She ran again in 1997 but was edged out by Simon Cruz. Having lost twice, most folks would have winced at the thought of subjecting themselves to another campaign. But Bower, who was born in Havana, isn't like most people. A Miami Beach activist for nearly 30 years, her record of public service dates all the way back to her early days as the founder of the Fisher-Feinberg Elementary School PTA. And so last fall, when Shapiro launched a losing bid for the mayor's office, Bower didn't hesitate to run for his open seat. This time she won.