Before my talk with her I had no idea at all what to make of Coral Gables Commission Group V Candidate Sandra Murado. Murado has been a lawyer for 22 years. She has worked at the state attorney’s office, then as a divorce lawyer, and now has an immigration law practice.
She’s seemed, and to some degree remains, the most confusing candidate in the Group V race. On the one hand – no wait, we’re going to need a lot of hands here, let’s try that again.
Item: I put some serious stock in word of mouth. Murado is getting some good word of mouth. I’ve had more people spontaneously tell me that they were impressed by her than any other candidate. OK, that makes her score about four, but that’s still two more than anyone else.
Item: I like some of her friends. Daisy Baez is one of the people who came told me how great Murado is. Murado also has an endorsement from SAVE, which is a big plus.
Item: I do NOT like some of her friends. Reportedly she was recruited to run by Mayor Jim Cason, and shares his campaign consultant. As I’ve said before, I think Cason’s support of (or if you go with some stories, domination by) the old City Manager was a big problem. And continuing to support Salerno after he was caught misleading the Commission is just totally unacceptable to me. Ms. Murado was noncommittal when I put this point to her, refusing to take one side or the other. That really worries me.
Item: She’s been a strong advocate for a good cause, fighting the proposal for Somerset, the mega-charter school proposed for the University Baptist Church site.
Item: She’s a poster person (see page 18) for the James Madison Institute – a really really far right political group that thinks it is a think tank. The James Madison Institute lauded her for helping to “rein in excessive growth in government spending” by fighting to limit pensions as a way to limit the City’s unfunded liabilities – an issue that will likely endear her to many voters.
Item: Local gadfly George Volsky is talking her up – a very bad sign on its own, and further evidence of the Cason connection since Volsky is totally in the tank for Cason. Murado reprints a cranky Volsky column prominently on her campaign web site, one trashing Ariel Fernandez and Jeannett Slesnick.
Item: Murado is very articulate, seems smart. I like that.
Item: Murado’s lawyerlyness trips her up sometime. More than once in the two candidates’ events she’s given legally correct but politically tone-deaf answers to questions.
I put my standard list of questions to Murado a couple of days ago.