Homestead - South Dade

As the Homestead election nears, developers give thousands of dollars to candidates 

William Rea, Jeffrey Porter, Steven Losner, Larry Roth, Sean Fletcher and Dennis Maytan.
William Rea, Jeffrey Porter, Steven Losner, Larry Roth, Sean Fletcher and Dennis Maytan.

Homestead’s election is right around the corner with a candidate field that has been whittled down from 11 to six. Those six candidates are vying for three positions: mayor, Council Seat 2 and Council Seat 3.

In the late September primary election, Homestead voters decided that the mayor’s race will be between former mayor Jeffrey Porter, 59, and former city councilman Steven Losner, 58. Before the primary four candidates were facing off for the position.

Porter resigned as Homestead mayor in 2018 to run for Florida agriculture commissioner. After losing, he decided to rerun for mayor of Homestead. Losner served on the City Council from 2001-2007. He ran for mayor in 2011 against Steven Bateman and lost.

In addition to the mayoral race, there were three candidates running for each of the two council seats. One candidate was eliminated in each race.

For seat 2, Sean Fletcher, 47, and Dennis Ray Maytan Jr., 52, are on the ballot. Fletcher is the security manager for Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station and has worked for FPL for 22 years. Maytan is a former city Parks and Recreations director, who retired after 30 years working in the department.

For seat 3, voters will decide between incumbent Larry Roth, 55, and William “Bobby” Rea, 60. Roth was first elected to the council in 2015 and is seeking a second term. Rea was a police officer in the Homestead Police Department for 25 years.

The only female candidate, incumbent Patricia Fairclough, was automatically reelected after running unopposed for a third term for seat 6.

The general election will take place on Nov. 5. Early voting is at William F. “Bill” Dickinson Community Center, 1601 N. Krome Ave. Here are the voting times:

Oct. 31 — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Nov. 2 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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The latest campaign fundraising reports show property developers are a major source of donations. Homestead development has been in flux over the last decade with residential developments booming, and the population has doubled from about 33,000 in 2003 to more than 70,000 today.

Porter, who had already raised $20,550, received $10,950 in September, $4,000 of which came from Homestead Park Development and three similarly named businesses: HPDG 1, HPDG 2 and HPDG 3. All four business share the same address, and the three HPDG businesses have development plans that will soon come before the City Council.

The companies own property on which another business, Copart, wants to build vehicle storage.

Copart, which donated $1,000 to Porter, offers online sales and auctions of vehicles. The company has three locations in South Florida, one of which is in Homestead.

HPDG and Copart didn’t donate only to Porter. They have also collectively donated $5,000 each to Maytan and Roth.

In September, Maytan received $11,100 in contributions, while Roth received $5,000. To date, Maytan has received $26,075 in contributions and Roth has received $39,950.

HPDG and Copart aren’t the only developers in town donating to candidates.

Wayne Rosen, who was involved in developing Homestead’s Keys Gate community, donated $7,000 to Maytan’s campaign, as well as $4,000 to Porter, personally and through three of his companies.

Last month, Losner received $6,500 from residents and a nursing home. He had previously raised $28,550.

Fletcher and Rea didn’t receive as many contributions in the latest report. Fletcher, who previously had raised $12,750, didn’t receive any new donations. Rea got $500 from Electro-PAC, a PAC run by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 359. Rea’s donations now total $10,865.

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Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.