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Miami city commission candidates debate in upper eastside

Miami City Commissioner candidates

Miami City Commissioner candidates

Miami city commission candidates debate in upper eastside

Jacqui Colyer, Rev. Richard P. Dunn II, Keon Hardemon (standing) and Dr. Robert Malone, Jr. 

By Derek Joy

Point. Counter point. Back and forth they went for some two hours in the Legion Park Auditorium.

Four candidates vying for the city of Miami’s District 5 seat currently held by term limited Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones debated the issues at a forum hosted by the Belle Meade Homeowners Association in Miami’s Upper Eastside.

Social Services Administrator Jacqui Colyer, the Rev. Richard P. Dunn II, pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church, Assistant Miami Dade Public Defender Keon Hardemon and Dr. Robert Malone, Jr., an educator, took turns ad-dressing the group and fielding questions on relevant issues.

The debate, moderated by Biscayne Times Editor Jim Mullin, focused on issues of concern to the predominantly white population in the communities of Miami’s Upper Eastside neighborhoods, which were recently added to District 5 in the re-districting process.

“I want to say one thing,” said Colyer, the last to enter the race, and the first name on the ballot arranged in alphabetical order.  “We’re all here together.  We’re better together. And I will work with all communities.

“I bring the character traits my mother instilled in me,” said Hardemon, whose mother, April Hardemon is a city of Miami Police Officer.  “Integrity, hard work, perseverance and not be a follower.

“I want to help this city become a world class city.  We should not be afraid to walk our children on the streets.  When the people leave is when the city perishes.  The bottom line is when you elect a commissioner that person should be able to understand business and law.  I understand both.”

Another point of intrigue is that three – Dunn, Hardemon and Malone – of the four candidates are Miami natives.  Colyer is a South Carolina native.  Whether or not that is a factor among voters remains to be seen.

What also remains to be seen is the role that the newly added White constituents on the Upper Eastside, where Malone enjoys support, will make in the Nov. 5, election.

“I’ve been involved in the community from the start, right in the thick of it.  I‘ve been here trying to inspire our youth to achieve success,” said Malone, who noted how the bungled dealings on the part of the city of Miami in helping finance Marlins Park and in misleading the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission on the financial status of the city.

“Let’s tell the truth, be honest.  People want to buy you off.  They want a guaranteed vote on the city commission.  It is a tragedy what’s been going on the city commission for the last 25 years.  You need a commissioner who is going to tell you the truth, be honest with you.”


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