Two incumbents are running for reelection to the Homestead City Council, and each has a challenger on the Nov. 7 ballot. Both are seeking their third term. Voters will also choose a vice mayor.
Jimmie Williams, a pastor who was first elected in 2009, is again running for Seat No. 4 in southwest Homestead. He is opposed by Jenifer Bailey, who runs a Homestead preschool.
Incumbent Elvis Maldonado is running for Seat No. 5. His opponent is Maycol Enriquez, a school district administrator.
Two other incumbents, Mayor Jeffrey Porter and Seat No. 1 Councilman Stephen Shelley, were reelected when no one filed to run against them.
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Maldonado and Shelley are also running for the position of vice mayor.
SEAT NO. 4
Bailey was the top vote-getter in the October primary election, with 43 percent of the vote to Williams’ 29 percent. Two candidates with smaller vote totals were eliminated from the race.
Williams, 38, the incumbent, is a senior pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Miami Gardens. He was also the person behind the city’s successful request for state money to establish a sickle-cell disease clinic in Homestead this year. Williams has sickle-cell disease.
Williams was accused of having several conflicts of interest while serving on the city council, including getting special considerations from a car dealer doing business with the city and receiving a six-figure loan from a local developer to open a fish restaurant that failed. The county ethics commission later cleared Williams.
Williams declined to comment for this story.
Bailey, also 38, is director of Smart Start of Homestead, a church-based preschool, where she has worked for 10 years.
Bailey said she is very “pleased with the direction the current city council has taken with the downtown area’s revitalization.” She wants to find ways to minimize traffic problems, bring in more entertainment venues, and preserve Homestead’s small-town character. Bailey said she’d also like to implement more permanent summer activities for children and create more summer camps at affordable rates.
SEAT NO. 5
Maldonado, 44, who like Williams was first elected to the city council in 2009, owns a computer technology company. He also has worked as an outreach counselor with Aspira South Charter School, Homestead Middle School and Homestead Senior High School.
Last year, the Herald reported that Maldonado used a city-issued vehicle for personal use. The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics investigated, then concluded that because the city had no policies or procedures in place for use of the car, it could not prove whether Maldonado violated any ethics laws.
Maldonado declined the Herald’s requests for an interview.
His opponent is Enriquez, 44, an administrator for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Enriquez also has served on the board at the South-Dade Venture Community Development District, a group that manages roads and infrastructure within the Waterstone District of Homestead.
Enriquez said he believes the city’s infrastructure needs to be prioritized on the city budget, and that he is “not supportive of building a booming downtown.”
“I think it’s a waste of time, thinking that our downtown is going to be a tourist attraction somehow, kind of like South Beach,” he said. “It’s really a fantasy and not making for a better community.”