The race for the District 3 seat in Palmetto Bay will be crowded, with two newcomers – Larissa Siegel Lara and Henry Clifford – recently announcing their candidacies.
Incumbent Joan Lindsay confirmed Tuesday that she would not be seeking reelection, saying she wanted to get out of municipal politics to do some traveling.
Security consultant James Archie Shedd announced his candidacy back in May. Like Siegel Lara and Clifford, he’s a first-time Palmetto Bay political candidate, although unlike them, he has run for office before, in a failed bid to become Miami-Dade property appraiser in 2008. He told the Miami Herald in May that his platform included increasing police presence, keeping council civil, and responsible development. His campaign website now also includes government transparency and adequate fire rescue response times as political priorities.
While Siegel Lara and Clifford are themselves first-time candidates, their candidacies may reflect old fault lines in the village.
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Siegel Lara said she’d decided to run after her friend and neighbor, mayoral candidate Peter England, suggested it. As for Clifford, he announced his candidacy at incumbent Mayor Shelley Stanczyk’s reelection campaign kickoff party in mid-July.
Stanczyk and England faced each other for the mayor’s seat back in 2010 in an acrimonious campaign. Stanczyk won by just 81 votes.
Siegel Lara, an industrial engineer, says she wants to get things done, bring civility back to village hall, and ensure government accountability.
“I started attending the council meeting and I saw the tone and the attitudes and it was very surprising to me,” Siegel Lara said. “So what I’m interested in doing is being part of what sets up a future for us.
“I don’t think that there’s any long-term indication of where we’re headed. I see our parks under utilized. I think our resources as a whole are under utilized. I don’t think that government is leading the development of our community.”
As for Clifford, a retired fire rescue lieutenant, he says he’s been involved in village politics “or neighborhood protection, as they say around here,” for about 35 years, as long as he’s lived in the area. He’s helped others run for office – including current and former council members, as well as state representative James “Jim” Brodie – and sat on six village committees.
Clifford would have been happy to stay behind the scenes, he says, but with Lindsay deciding not too run, there weren’t any candidates he was willing to back.
According to Clifford, “our city since day one has been deficient in long-term planning,” and he wants to reinstate the village committee once in charge of visioning for the future.
And while Clifford says he’s chiefly concerned with village residents getting to preserve “the quiet enjoyment of their homes,” he also says he wants to speed along development in the village’s commercial area.
“We’ve not done much in that area for about ten years now … Nobody has come along and built anything. We need do something to encourage – in the business area, not in the (neighborhoods), necessarily – development. We need first-class businesses, restaurants, theaters.”
Both Siegel Lara and Shedd have each raised a little over $6,000 to date. Clifford, who announced his candidacy last, has not yet filed campaign reports.
Those interested in running for a seat on council in Palmetto Bay – either for the mayor’s seat, or for a seat in District 1 and 3 – must file all paperwork and pay all fees to the village clerk at 9705 E Hibiscus St. by noon Aug. 15.
The election will be held Nov. 4, and a runoff, if necessary, will be held Nov. 25. Additional information is available at http://www.palmettobay-fl.gov/content/election-2014.