“But he will work to lower the electric bill,” said the wife.
John Carder, who hosted a meet and greet event at his home for Bateman Thursday night, said he has been in talks with the suspended mayor to start a project that would allow Homestead’s power plant to use sustainable energy, eventually cutting costs to residents. Carder is one of the two principals of Future Energies International, a Miami firm that uses renewable and alternative power-producing technology.
At the meet and greet, about 10 people sat in a semi-circle around Bateman and discussed city issues.
“I am telling you the taxpayers are begging for more police officers,” said Bateman. “That department’s morale is really low.”
Adding more cops to the force seems to be one of the few issues on which all four candidates for Homestead mayor agree.
Running against Bateman: former Councilman Jeff Porter; the Rev. Joseph Sewell; and Mark Bell, who is the husband of County Commissioner Lynda Bell.
At a recent mayoral candidates’ debate, Porter said Bateman has brought “turbulent times” to Homestead.
“If Mr. Bateman were to win the election, Gov, Scott would remove him from office the very next day,” Porter said.
Indeed, the office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that is exactly what it plans to do.
“Floridians deserve to be represented by people who are 100 percent committed to serving them,” Scott said in an emailed statement to the Herald. “The mayor needs to focus on his family during this legal battle and let someone else step up to serve the people of Florida.”
And yet, Bateman supporters were not backing off.
“Just because you are suspended that doesn’t end it for you,” said Meno, 42. “Once all the facts are out, he will be re-instated. All this has been a politically driven sabotage.”
Added Chris Carder: “I really do believe we are witch hunting here. If the citizens of Homestead give him enough votes, it is only fair that the governor lets Homestead citizens make their own decisions.”
The two candidates with the highest number of votes will advance to the general election Nov. 5, unless one receives greater than 50 percent, in which case that person becomes mayor.