City of South Miami Commission Candidates came together to face off at the latest in a series of candidate forums on Jan. 17 at the Gibson-Bethel Community Center.
Sponsored by long-time community activist Levy Kelly, about 30 concerned citizens attended and asked questions of the two mayoral candidates, and the Group-1 and Group-IV Commission candidates.
One question posed by the audience was, “What are the top concerns expressed by residents when you are out knocking on doors?” Most candidates noted that the top issues they hear about are Sunset Place and Madison Square development, construction of a new City Hall, more parks, and police matters.
“And right here in this neighborhood, I can tell you, everyone I speak with says that any development at Madison Square which would be less than two stories is a total waste of time,” said Candidate Group-I Gary Robinson.
Opposing candidate Velma Palmer did not agree, stating that of the residents with whom she speaks, most want the total opposite – no more than two stories. And so the discussion went, with views and statements on a wide range of issues facing the residents of South Miami.
The voters will have a chance to decide who they believe will best serve their city on Election Day, Feb. 13, among the following candidates:
- Running for Mayor are: Philip Stoddard and Horace Feliu.
- Running for Commissioner Group I are: Sandra DiMare-Vivar (not present), Luis Gil, Donald Jackson, Velma Palmer, and Gary Robinson.
- Running for Commissioner Group IV are: William Lapane, Mark Lago, and Walter Harris.
Forum host Kelly is a retiree of the National Park Service, a former member of the City of South Miami CRA Board, and a well know figure in the community.
Citizens are invited to attend two more upcoming candidate forums: on Jan. 22 at the Historic St, John’s AME Church sponsored by the Concerned Clergy; and on Jan. 29 the Elk.s Club, hosted by the Neighbors Association.