MIAMI - Juan Zapata and Manny Machado are going head to head to win the District 11 commission seat in Miami-Dade County, which has been held by outgoing Commissioner Joe Martinez for the past 12 years.
District 11 includes the cities of Westchester and Kendall as well as much of unincorporated West Miami-Dade.
Both candidates told Local 10's Glenna Milberg that they wanted to keep the urban development boundary intact.
"I believe in agriculture and farming. That's a valuable source of revenue," said Machado.
Zapata, a former state legislator, said the county government needs a change in direction.
"We need to do better planning on how we develop this county," said Zapata.
Machado, a police detective with 12 years in law enforcement under his belt, said he is concerned with inefficiency in the county.
"We can always work on reducing the mismanagement that there is," said Machado.
Both candidates said they would have voted no on building Marlins Park with public money.
Zapata, who first ran for the commission seat 12 years ago, said the baseball stadium is just one example in a slew of spending mistakes.
"If you look historically, the county has made poor deals with Parrot Jungle, the baseball stadium, Arsht Center. We keep making bad deals that end up costing taxpayers money not just now but years and years into the future. We need to stop making bad deals and start building infrastructure," said Zapata.
The biggest apparent difference between the candidates is their approaches to managing the county's $7-billion budget and the labor costs that consume it.
"I didn't have any problem paying into the retirement," said Machado.
Machado said he advocates a more holistic approach to union negotiations, but Zapata wants a whole sea change.
"I think what's happened with the way we compensate employees in the county is that we don't demand a lot of productivity yet we're very generous with compensation packages," Zapata said.
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