Coral Gables Commission Group V Election: Six Candidates in Search of a Plurality

There are six candidates for Coral Gables Commission Group V, so it will not take many votes to get a win in what has recently been a low-turnout election. There is no run-off (there should be). We’re fortunate to have so many candidates who mean well, and want to devote a substantial amount of their time to helping run the city.

Forget the so-called crime issue. The important questions are development and infrastructure. Personally, I am sort of middle-of-the-road on the development question. I am not against a substantial amount of development so long as the City manages it properly: demands parking, anticipates and resolves traffic bottlenecks, keeps spillovers away from residential areas, and generally beefs up City infrastructure to anticipate the new demands from all these new homes, offices, and businesses. Elections, however, don’t do nuance well.

One candidate stands out for his pro-development stance: Tony Newell (see Tony Newell is Not a Libertarian). If that’s what you want and can overlook the anger management moment from the second debate, I suppose that he’s your candidate. But he isn’t mine.

I’ve again decided not to vote for perennial candidate and convicted felon Jackson Holmes even though I’ll admit he does grow on you a bit over time.

I’ve also decided that I will not be voting for Ariel Fernandez (see Ariel Fernandez – a Grass Roots Candidate With a Past).

That leaves three candidates to pick from: PJ Mitchell, Sandra Murado, or Jeannett Slesnick.

Two candidates stand out for their anti-development stances: Jeannett Slesnick Jeannett Slesnick: the Big Name in the Race) and PJ Mitchell (see PJ Mitchell — Sincere and (Too?) Frugal).

Sandra Murado is the wild card. She’s tough, smart, and a diverse group of voters seem to like her enough to recommend her. But she’s also hard to figure out. (See Sandra Murado’s Confusing Candidacy.)

Slesnick seems committed to process values and brings a long knowledge of the city; Mitchell’s selling point is that he comes off as a really sincere person.

The negatives on Slesnick are (to some) her husband’s Mayoralty, to others her campaign warchest, and to yet others her age. None of these are good arguments. A better argument against her is that she hasn’t been an impressive public speaker and seems to be running as much on her experience as any particular program or vision; balanced against that is her demonstrated ability to put the development issue on the agenda.

PJ Mitchell is an outsider candidate. He also presents as one of the more conservative candidates; part of that might be his soft, slightly southern, accent, but part of it seems to be an instinctual aversion to spending.

All three of them make a credible case for our votes.

Who are you voting for, and why?

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7 Responses to Coral Gables Commission Group V Election: Six Candidates in Search of a Plurality

  1. Gonzalo Sanabria says:

    today is the voter’s day of judgement Professor and the odds have been narrowed down by the steadfast-door-knocking campaigns of a few of these Group V candidates.

    Here’s my take on you last three finalists and the ones you excluded

    Sandra Murado has been gaining ground and popularity every day as she lacks the funding support but her “persona” is welcomed by people she has met or answered the door to talk to her. Her candidacy has the most accelerated momentum of any of the six and ; had she started even a couple of weeks earlier she would win and she may still win since its a fractured vote (hard decision for anyone with two young children, head of a household and running a busy immigration practice)

    Slesnick has been around for a great deal of time in the Gables on the fringes and very active in a number of committees and groups that kept her recognizable; not to speak about her ad exposure as a realtor and broker in mainly the Gables. I don’t peg her as an extension of the past and her late entry in the race jilted the odds of Tony Newell’s chances dramatically and it shocked al lot of people who had heard she wasn’t running for health and other reasons. She is the frontrunner according to the polls but it all boils down to just who and how many of these polled folks really represent today’s reality.

    PJ Mitchell has done a great job of staying above the fray of the attack-mode and has a suave and soothing speaking mode that enthuses you into believing that he a credible and qualified candidate. and he is . He has a future in the Gables

    Ariel Fernandez should not be ashamed of his past and he did commit a big mistake in hiding his work history with the despicable Rep David Rivera. When young staffers have a job they are not culprits or co-conspirators until something pops that link them to wrongdoing. Ariel is well versed and does well in spontaneity and his second mistake is picking on issues (garbage fee) that have no resonance in Gables versus maybe other communities in Dade County so that was another fatal blow

    Enough has been said about Newell and his off-color quips and anger bursts that unfortunately for him and his backers will knock him off and tag him

    Rip Holmes is certainly a likable individual and he will garner a lot more votes than ever before. As he runs he is “fine-tuning” his demeanor and polishing his humorous and natural personality. Kudos for Rip and his courage to be engaged

    My vote is certainly for Sandra Murado as I have thoroughly enjoyed her fresh entry, dynamic personality and quick grasp and she is a force to be reckoned with henceforth in Coral Gables as now her name is known, her energy is boundless and her resume and ethical commitments laudable and needed to keep Gables on the right track of greatness.

  2. Pete Nemerovski says:

    I’ve found it difficult to get up to speed on this election–I’ve found very little in the Herald and no endorsements there–so I appreciate the coverage on this blog. I’m on board with Cabrera for Mayor. Your endorsement of Quesada is not nearly as helpful, since you can’t say what was so troubling about Lopez’s email, although the fact that he won’t let you share it raises a red flag with me. My wife is voting for Lopez. I guess Quesada is going to win no matter what so it doesn’t really matter.

    I know you’re down on Ariel Fernandez, but I like his focus on making the city more pedestrian-friendly. As a runner, I don’t understand why the sidewalks don’t go all the way to the street. It’s like the city wants me to sprain my ankle getting from the sidewalk to the street and then to the sidewalk on the other side. (First-world problems, I know.)

    I don’t know if you’ve written about the garbage fees (another first-world problem). It’s not a huge deal to me, but this is the first place I’ve lived where I have to pay for that separately. Maybe Fernandez (and others?) are just pandering on that issue and basically trying to buy votes.

    I guess I’m leaning toward Murado. If you end up making a case for one of your three “finalists,” I will definitely read it and probably go along, as you know a lot more about this stuff than I do.

    • I wrote about the garbage fee in my piece on Ariel Fernandez. I think it’s a good idea in principle, but only if we raise taxes to pay for it; I don’t think we should take that much of tax revenue, $8 million or more, and just rebate it to taxpayers, it would starve the city of revenue it needs to build and maintain its infrastructure. Yet rebate is in effect what Fernandez wants to do. I don’t think that is responsible at all.

  3. Gonzalo Sanabria says:

    Cason by 15 points
    Quesada won handily
    Slesnick captured the bulk of the absentee ballots to win it all with just 31% but that was the magic number we all had in our minds and Jeannette just reached it
    Murado made huge strides with just 90 days and no funding support and she’ll be a force to be reckoned with as she grows her foundation and exposure in line for the next opportunity

    In all, except for the dirty tactics of Cason’s opponents, it was a rather clean race with great candidates

    Congratulations to those that ran a clean and honorable campaign and Kudos to the three winners

    • In all, except for the dirty tactics of Cason’s opponents, it was a rather clean race with great candidates

      This is an odd comment given that the mailers against Slesnick which I documented at Right and Wrong Way to Go Negative surely must qualify as “dirty tactics” in anyone’s book, but you don’t mention them. (And then there are the questions raised about Cason’s tactics too – the brochure, the photos, the sidewalks; I guess we’ll learn more about that last one from the resolution of the Cabrera complaint?)

  4. Gonzalo Sanabria says:

    I’m corrected Prof Froomkin …agree negative mailers on Slesnick but we never got any in our mailbox so it wasn’t duly noted

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