Congressional candidates square off at KFHA forum

Congressional candidates square off at KFHA forum

Pictured after the debate are (l-r) KFHA-PAC chair Marvin P. Stein, candidate Lorenzo Palomares- Starbuck, KFHA’s Libby Perez and Michael Rosenberg, and candidate Ed MacDougall.

With three of five announced U.S House District 26 Republican candidates absent, Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall and attorney Lorenzo “Larry” Palomares-Starbuck had the floor to themselves during a third pre- Aug. 26 primary election forum, hosted on July 31 by the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA).

Their 90-minute interchange of ideas and issues took place before more than 100 who had hoped to hear former Miami-Dade District 10 (Kendall) Commissioner Joe Martinez and Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, as well as former State Rep. David Rivera who had not formally withdrawn his name from the race at that time.

One week later, MacDougall who has gained extensive support in Kendall for his positions on limiting expressway expansion and opposing FPL power lines on US1 drew the endorsement of the KFHA’s Political Action Committee.

Meanwhile, Kendall voters got a firsthand look at a common schism between GOP viewpoints whenever the sharply rightwing views of Palomares-Starbuck contrasted with those of MacDougall who described his position as “more middle road.”

For example, asked if he would support a current GOP move to impeach President Barack Obama, Palomares-Starbuck flatly declared, “I’d love to draw up the Articles of Impeachment myself” while MacDougall opted “for a careful study of all that’s involved” before committing to a position.

Founder of a southwest Miami-Dade real estate and insurance firm before becoming Cutler Bay’s mayor, MacDougall in his opening remarks stressed “returning integri-ty to your representation,” an inference against Curbelo who MacDougall has challenged for not disclosing private income.

Palomares-Starbuck, a resident of Kendall since 1979, began by emphasizing his familiarity with community issues as well as his Kendall roots that include three grown children and grandchildren, “all part of three generations still making their homes in Kendall.”

The first local issue raised by longtime KFHAmember Miles Moss asked if the candidates would help Kendale Lakes neighbors require the Bureau of Indian Affairs to hold a public hearing if the Miccosukee Tribe attempts again to put the golf course property into trust as Tribal Land. “It’s a complex question,” MacDougall said, noting the tribe purchased the declining golf club with property rights within zoning restrictions for its redevelopment, adding, however, that “the people must have the right to come to the table” regarding any change of zoning or land use regulations.

“It’s really more of a business decision between the Micosukees and the government regarding future development,” Palomares- Starbuck answered, later indicating he would support KFHA’s stand that “the people have a right to be heard.”

Both skirted specific stands on deportation of Central American children, MacDougall stating that “every case is different” and he had “no specific answer” to solve both humanitarian and legal issues. Palomares- Starbuck said, “We do not need any special laws to accommodate people,” maintaining that existing immigration statutes should be properly observed.

In varying answers to bettering the economy, Palomares-Starbuck said it was “time to return to basic economic principles in the areas of real estate, construction and mortgage financing without depending on credit ratings as a determinant of risk.”

MacDougall has campaigned heavily on removing special interests or lobbying influences on “enriching themselves” at the expense of economic hardships, commenting he would “jump start our economy from the terrible policies of the Obama Administration.”

Both candidates echoed GOP policy by opposing Common Core and criticizing the Affordable Care Act, which MacDougall termed “an impending disaster.” Palomares- Starbuck predicted the ACA “will eventually bankrupt the economy.”

MacDougall wound up with a pledge to “create new private sector jobs, not government jobs subsidized by taxpayers” and “working to cut red tape and unnecessary regulations imposed on conducting the nation’s business.”

Palomares-Starbuck said his candidacy was based on his strong economic and business experience as both a former public corporation CEO and as director of financial and banking institutions, emphasizing he would return homeowner insurance costs to affordability.

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