With qualifying closing in just two weeks, three candidates have signed up so far to fill the two seats up for grabs on the Pinecrest council in the November election.
The incumbents, council members Joseph Corradino in Seat 4 and Jeff Cutler in Seat 2, will both be wrapping up their second consecutive terms, and therefore cannot run for reelection.
First-time political candidate Cherilyn Ball is the only candidate currently registered to run for the this seat. A resident of the area for 25 years, Ball says she “started a career in advocacy” when she first got involved with her children’s school.
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Ball says she’s been to Tallahassee to advocate for legislative agendas – including the successful class-size reduction amendment – and worked to get Evelyn Greer elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board in 2004. After a two-year stint in Greer’s office, Ball has been in the community working with cancer non-profit Relay for Life as well as sitting on the transportation and education committees for the village.
“Pinecrest is such an amazing community, and we get most things right. … I’m not unhappy about anything, I would just like to continue that momentum,” Ball said. “I think that between my legislative experience and advocacy across the board and boots-on-the ground community activism, I think that this would be a good fit.”
She says her priorities would be to get all residents hooked up to county water, to figure out if a fire department for Pinecrest is the right decision for the village, and transportation.
As for some for the capital improvement projects the village is considering – expanding the community center, the municipal chamber, and redeveloping two parks – Ball says the village might want to slow things down and survey the community “to really evaluate what the priorities are that are needs, as well as wants. I’m a big proponent of needs more than wants.”
Ball has raised $16,500 to date.
So far, Jeffrey “Doc” Solomon is running against Douglas Kraft for Seat 2.
Solomon has been a resident and chiropractor in the area for 30 years, where he pioneered mobile chiropractic services. His big career highlight, he says, includes being selected as the official chiropractor for Team USA in the 2006 Torino Olympics.
“My whole life has been about service to people. Making lives better, helping them heal as a medical professional. And I want to continue to do that with a role of leadership in our community,” he said.
Solomon has run for political office before, in 2010 and 2012, in failed bids to become a Democratic state representative. Village Council elections are non-partisan.
He has served as vice-chair of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, and currently sits on the Pinecrest planning board, to which he was appointed by incumbent Mayor Cindy Lerner.
Soloman said his political priority is “being vigilant in maintaining Pinecrest as the fantastic community it is.”
“We’ve got a great town. As I’ve been knocking door to door, it’s hard to come up with much that would make them happier,” he said. “Except for one thing. We have about 20 percent of our homes that do not have [county] water.”
Solomon says he’d also like to see the village go forward with its scheduled capital improvement projects, and bring a restaurant to Pinecrest Gardens.
He has raised $3,631 to date.
Kraft came to south Florida from Iowa via the U.S. Air Force and eventually became a paramedic and fire fighter in Pembroke Pines. Now retired, he bought a home in Pinecrest 12 years ago.
He has served on the Miami-Dade Special Olympics Committee and management team for the past five years. Two years ago, he was appointed by Cutler to the Pinecrest zoning board – which typically hears minor variance requests. He also sits on the Pinecrest Gardens committee.
Kraft says that his priorities would be “to continue to make sure that all residents have a safe place to live – make sure that their lives and properties are protected.”
That “means maintaining a great police and fire department,” Kraft says, but also getting all residents connected to county water and dealing with needed updates in stormwater infrastructure.
As for the question of whether or not Pinecrest should opt for its own fire department, Kraft says that “five people on the council shouldn’t make that decision,” and that he’d work to educate the village about its options so that residents could decide themselves in a referendum.
Kraft promises to be “conservative and smart with resident’s money [and] to treat people with dignity and respect.”
He also added: “I want to serve the residents of Pinecrest. I’m not using this as stepping stone to run as politician for the county or state.”
Kraft has raised $11,301 to date.
Qualifying ends at noon on Aug. 15, at which time all paperwork must have been filed and fees paid to the village clerk’s office, 12645 S. Dixie Hwy. The general election will be held on Nov. 4 and a run-off, if necessary, will be held Nov. 18. More information is available at pinecrest-fl.gov/elections.