Homestead - South Dade

Homestead officials defer setting special election date based on resident petition

The Homestead City Council met Wednesday and discussed their concerns about the legality of a resident petition certified by the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections that calls for a charter amendment special election.

The main item

Council members said they were hesitant to set a date for a special election sought by a number of residents because they were concerned with the petition process.

“We’ve come a long way in restoring public trust,” Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough said. “Issues like this come back and create a cloud of controversy over this city and this council because they are perceived perceptions of impropriety.”

On June 5, the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections certified a petition of electors to amend the city charter in a special election, which required at least 10 percent of all registered voters in Homestead to sign.

The proposed amendments would include language to prohibit discrimination against current and former members of the military, increase the prohibition on holding city-related jobs from one to three years after leaving a city council seat, and adjust the calculation of council member term limits to exclude two-year terms of office.

Council members had issues with how the petition was passed around, since an audience member acknowledge she had signed it without understanding the document and wished to withdraw her signature.

The council asked audience members if anyone had come to give a public comment on behalf of the petition, but no one approached the dais.

“I don’t think the community has been properly educated on what are the implications for this petition,” Fairclough said. “And if it’s that important to change the charter, why haven’t they gone out to the people to answer questions that we cannot answer.”

Former Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell addressed the council, advising them to ignore the petition because she had personally called some names on the list of petitioners and many wanted to withdraw their signatures.

The council deferred setting a date while giving residents until July 7 to withdraw their names from the list, if they wish to do so.

Other business

▪  Council members approved extending a partnership with the National Park Service to continue offering the Homestead National Parks trolley for the next five years. The trolley takes residents from downtown Homestead to Everglades and Biscayne national parks with free admission.

The next meeting

▪ When: 5 p.m. July 15

▪ Where: 1601 N. Krome Ave.