Tis the Season…For Negative and Misleading Campaigning

Here we go again. Coral Gables campaigns usually have a strong veneer of civility (Tony Newell was an exception at the most recent candidates’ forum). But that veneer seems to collapse in the last couple weeks of a race, when the gloves come off — or at least the mailers turn up.

So far I’ve gotten three very negative mailers and one that I think is intentionally very misleading. In all four cases, the mailers are attributed to independent groups.

The ultimate in negative campaigning, so far at least, has to be the hit mailer that just went out against Jeannett Slesnick. This mailer says it was paid for by “Families for Lower Taxes, 6301 N. Wickham Rd. STE 130, Melbourne, FL 32940″. A group by that same name was described as an agent of the Florida Justice Association, a group that represents state trial lawyers, in a 2014 campaign in Polk County. It’s very hard to see why upstate (or any) trial lawyers would be anti-Slesnick, or even care about her at all, so I have to wonder if it’s just a handy shell company that some political operative uses.

Details–and scans–below.




Two of the negative mailers are aimed at incumbent Mayor Jim Cason; both are factual although I think the anti-crime one is overdoing it. The attacks on Cason are from “CORAL GABLES DESERVES BETTER NOW!” No idea who they are, but their Chair and Treasurer is Ernesto Martinez, Jr. (This is also the only one of the three groups located in the Galbes. At least that’s something)

Anti-Cason Development Mailer


Anti-Cason Crime Mailer



Meanwhile, the Mayor’s supporters sent out a big glossy brochure that is so well designed to look like an official city communication extolling the Mayer (note the orange 90th anniversary logo top right) that it fooled me for a couple of minutes. I didn’t realize it wasn’t the real image. Not an accident, and not nice. The Cason mailer designed to look like a city publication was paid for by “Together for Our City Beautiful,” 1985 NW 88th Court, Suite 102, Doral, Florida 33172. I couldn’t find this group at the Division of Elections. Here are scans of as much of the outside of this brochure as I could fit on my scanner. There was more stuff, including Cason photos, on the inside.


Update: For more on the pro-Cason mailer see Poltical Cortadito, Coral Gables mayor’s PAC pays for slick, misleading piece.

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4 Responses to Tis the Season…For Negative and Misleading Campaigning

  1. Gonzalo Sanabria says:

    Hi Professor Froomkin….. I have read your take on all the Coral Gables races and agree on most of your observations but for a couple of them you reflected what most people in the audience saw and heard accurately.

    Couple of my own observations was that the audience really liked Rip Holme’s simplicity and sincerity and “off the cuff” remarks and he was the most at ease in injecting humor and his way of seeing things which actually raised his stature amongst his peers although we all know Rip lacks the resources or support and everybody discards him but I can tell you he will make a bigger dent in the votes he gets than people think

    The other awkward and telling quip came from Tony Newell in the middle of the forum when he said he went to a crime watch meeting and …….”Everybody in that Room Was at least 35 years older than me”…..hello?….what did u just say to a roomful of people older than you??….I purposefully canvassed the room with my eyes and saw people’s seeing Newell melt away any sympathy left after his opening statement.

    Fully agree that Murado was off when she said that making streets narrower would help with traffic and she did give the right answer about Cuban Consulate offices in the Gables but she forgot she was a candidate and flipped into a lawyerly mattter-of-fact statement that was not warm and fuzzy….a blown chance on both counts

    Mrs. Slesnick was a surprise too….as we all expected a polished speaker in command of the issues….she came off very weak, defensive and muted in her responses….to even say nothing about the pension questions….she hurt herself the most or at a par with Newell

    PJ Mitchell did great with a comfortable speaking voice and a reassuring tone and I do agree he was the most flawless of all six ….but unfortunately he is in a box behind Slesnick and Newell

    Ariel is a good public speaker and quick-reacting who comes across well but his platform is not in tune with the Gables doesn’t resonate with mostly well-to-do residents who don’t mind paying a little more for the quality of service in garbage pickups

    Winner? I would pick Sandra Murado in spite of the narrow street comments. She is the most affable and the most genuine with excellent credentials and an impeccable background…..sure….she blew some questions….who doesn’t….but look at the rest of the choices and Murado has zero negatives, no political agenda no conflicts and a resume no one can match.

    I know you will differ Professor and I cannot see why but I hope that can somehow agree we can be on the same page one of these days….and thanks for the blog and your insight….keep it up

    Gonzalo Sanabria

    • I’m not fully on board with the garbage proposal, as I’ll be explaining in a future post. But in fairness to Ariel Fernandez, I do think one should point out that he doesn’t plan to reduce garbage service at all.

      • Gonzalo Sanabria says:

        In all fairness I didn’t say Ariel would do without it either…as direct quote:
        Ariel is a good public speaker and quick-reacting who comes across well but his platform is not in tune with the Gables doesn’t resonate with mostly well-to-do residents who don’t mind paying a little more for the quality of service in garbage pickups”
        Certainly my point is that this garbage fee issue does not sway voters to Ariel’s side

        Thanks for response Dr. Froomkin

      • Hurricane says:

        What Ariel said at the first debate, and I’m paraphrasing a bit but not changing his position, is that we should eliminate the garbage fee and find the money ($8 million) elsewhere in the budget. That’s an unrealistic position to take. You could take the position to eliminate the garbage fee and raise the millage rate to make up for it. That would make everything tax deductible but would result in winners and losers, with some effectively paying less than the current garbage fee at the expense of others who would pay more.

        I say garbage, as important as it is to residents, is working well. So if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

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