Six candidates are vying for three at-large council seats in this year’s Miami Shores Village election.
Election Day is April 14. The three candidates with the most votes will win. Only a tie could force a run-off.
Running for council are two incumbents: Hunt Davis, first elected in 2007, then lost for re-election in 2009, was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2010, and won a four-year term in 2011; and Ivonne Ledesma, first elected in 2013.
Former mayor and current Councilman Jim McCoy is not running for another term.
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Davis announced his candidacy on Feb 6, four days after the qualifying period began.
His platform is built on “three pillars of greatness” that he believes need to be continued in Miami Shores. The pillars include maintaining Miami Shores Police Department services, the public works department village beautification project, and the efforts to improve the community’s facilities.
“We need something to tie it together and that is our budget,” Davis said. “There’s no greater responsibility than to promote our revenues and expenditures to make sure our community is getting its money’s worth. Our community deserves the best [and] we should continue to work on that.”
Davis’ main reason for running is to oversee the projects he helped initiate over the last five years: the bike safety improvement project, community center renovation, and ongoing efforts to take back the rights from Tallahassee to govern Miami Shores vacation rentals.
Ledesma, an advocate of women’s rights and environmental sustainability, will seek re-election to bring a more accountable and inclusive government into Miami Shores.
During her first term, she’s introduced live streaming and video archives to Village Council meetings, promoted the creation of a downtown revitalization board and brought three nonbinding resolutions including the controversial LGBT marriage equality issue to a vote.
She initially won election in 2013 using an unusual strategy — part of a three-member team that campaigned as a slate. She was elected along with Vice Mayor Jesse Walters. Pastor Jonas Georges, the third team member, did not win a seat.
Joining the race this year are four political newcomers: Sean Brady, Alice Burch, MacAdam Glinn and Steve Zelkowitz.
They all want redevelopment of Miami Shores downtown district, which stretches across Northeast Second Avenue from 94th to 101st streets.
Miami Shores native Brady, owner and manager of IT consulting company Bayon Technology group, was chosen to serve as a member of the Greater Miami Shores Chamber of Commerce in January. Now he’s interested in continuing his public-service career as a council member. His focus: developing how Miami Shores communicates with its residents by increasing the use of the village website and social media.
Burch is the former two-time chairwoman of the Miami Shores Community Alliance and a long-time governing board member at Doctors Charter School. Her campaign is built upon her 20-year career as a community advocate.
“I have a one-time window in which to devote my time to being on council and this is it,” said Burch, 62. “I don’t want to be council when I’m much older. I have so many experiences in working with the Village Council that I think that now is my time to have a voice in what happens in Miami Shores governance.”
Glinn works for Skanska USA Building as senior vice president and national aviation director. He believes he has a unique perspective having served as a legislative assistant for then-state Sen. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (now a U.S. congresswoman) and press secretary for former Congressman Peter Deutsch of Broward County.
“I think that that knowledge could bring knowledge to the counsel,” Glinn said. “The other folks that are running don’t have that expertise and I think that would bring value. It would be great if we did start drawing down federal appropriations in addition to my interests in securing state dollars.”
Zelkowitz recently was unanimously reelected to the Shores planning and zoning board and wants to bring his expertise as a 25-year real estate, zoning and land-use attorney to the council. Known for his strides in community redevelopment, Zelkowitz’s focus is downtown revitalization along Northeast Second Avenue
“We need to develop a stronger commercial tax base in our downtown,” Zelkowitz said. “Our downtown has fallen by the wayside through the recession and the last real estate cycle and now it’s time to have that redeveloped.”
Miami Shores residents can meet the candidates in a forum 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 31. The Q & A “Meet the Candidates” event will be hosted by the Miami Shores Property Association at the Miami Shores Community Center, 9617 Park Dr.