The Coral Gables Mayor’s race was the last part of the Chamber of Commerce’s candidates’ event held last Tuesday. You can see it on YouTube – it starts at about the 1:51 mark and runs about an hour.
By accident or design the Chamber structured the event in a very unfair way, making challenger Ralph Cabrera answer every question first. This is very unfair for two reasons. First, the second responder, here incumbent Mayor James Cason, gets more time to think about his answer. Second, under the ground rules of the Chamber – no rebuttals – the second responder gets to reply to the first responder, but the first responder never gets a chance to reply to anything the second responder says – no matter how tendentious or inaccurate. By running the event in this manner the Chamber did a real disservice to the community.
I don’t think I learned a great deal from the event. Cason was in better form than his lethargic performance in the earlier debate. (See Coral Gables Election 2015: Candidates for Mayor Debate.) Cabrera was just coming off bronchitis, and he sounded a bit hoarse, but perhaps that kept him a bit more subdued and calmer, which in his case tends to be good. Overall the battle seemed fairly even, which given the lopsided ground rules has to count as a win for Cabrera.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not neutral on this one. I think James Cason does not deserve your vote due to his support of the former City Manger even after that manger was caught hiding traffic accident data from the Commission. That sort of behavior subverts democracy, and anyone who supports the subversion of democracy ought not to hold public office. If you disagree, you may discount my assessment accordingly.
So, what nuggets did we glean? Probably the biggest one is that Cason hopes to have the Commission lower the millage a bit for the fifth straight year, a triumph of appearance over substance, since the cuts are small and the tax bills go up anyway.
We learned that Cabrera is firmly committed to making the city safe for bicyclists in part because he himself is a “competitive cyclist”.
Cason wants more red light cameras in the Gables. (Personally, I’m not a fan; these seem to mostly make money for the red light camera people.)
We learned that Cason loves the Agave project, and the Cabrera has “strong concerns” about it on traffic and scale grounds. But we knew both those things.
We heard again about Cason having attended 5100 events representing our city (one of which I gather was a city-financed junket to China). Figure four years, six days a week not counting the Sabbath, that makes for just over four per day. Does that leave time for much else?
Like I said, overall, much of the same.
I am appalled at the format used by the Chamber in the Mayoral forum on 3.31.15 I will not classify it as a “debate” because it was so clearly orchestrated in favor of the incumbent and was grossly inequitable to his opponent Funny, Cason did not even have to ask for a question to be repeated or clarified and had quotes and information ready at the fingertips…almost as if he had been privvy to them. Well, he and the Chamber ‘s President have stomped grapes together among other things. This organization no longer holds any credibility to me.
I am further stunned as to how some of Cason’s staunch supporters are in complete denial with respect to the Mayor’s actions regarding his former employee (and bestie) the disgraced city manager whom was forced to resign. Even after it was factual and evident the city manager lied to the Commission and the public CASON STILL SUPPORTED HIM!!
RALPH WAS RIGHT and has earned not only vote but my trust and confidence.
The format of the debate needs to change to alternate who answers first.
I attended the first mayorial debate where most of the questions came from the public. Mayor Cason had prepared notes on all the logical topics and was able to quickly go to them as each question was asked, the same as at the Chamber debate. I believe Commissioner Cabrera has a similar notebook. Nothing sinister about that.
Cason takes credit for things he didn’t actually do and blasts the former Commission who actually did make substantial structural changes to pensions and significant renovation of historic infrastructure. His arrogance is only exceeded by his poor command of the facts. I know the facts as I lived these events on the dais from 2001-13. Ungracious and angry don’t belong in office.
Maria, ungracious and angry don’t belong in office? Than why are you backing Cabrera. How that “man” treated you at times on the commission dais was unconscionable. Do you really hate Mayor Cason & the former city manager that bad that you would tolerate a misogynistic like Cabrera. Do you think that little of yourself?