Category Archives: Miami

Coral Gables Falls Prey to Dark Money

The guy supported by the mysterious group that seems to have falsified return addresses on the false and misleading mailers they sent voters, well that guy, Jorge Fors Jr., won the Coral Gables Commission run-off by 173 votes in a race with 26% turnout.

There are four groups you could blame for this:

First, low-information voters who got bamboozled (not all of Fors’s supporters of course, but enough to swing the result). I don’t in fact blame them. Not having to be well informed is a luxury of prosperity and good times. Pity it tends to be self-limiting….

Second, the Florida legislature, which has written campaign rules that it designed to be abused. Filing deadlines are arranged so that dark money groups don’t have to file much or anything in the way of disclosure until after the election, so we can’t tell who is paying for hit jobs on candidates. Even when disclosures are filed, the rules (intentionally) leave open ways to obfuscate the source of funds. I sure do blame them.

And third, of course, whoever it was who paid for and designed the hit mailers on Cabrera that I am sure swing more than 87 votes.

Last, but far from least, I blame the worthies of the Coral Gables establishment who don’t want to have their elections fall at the same time as any other race. That depresses turnout and keeps the election nice and clubby, just they way they want it. I blame the current Mayor, who chaired the most recent Charter Revision Committee, and rejected suggestions to move the date, even though being on the county ballot would save the City significant money. Supporters of the off-year-election status quo argued (1) that if the City were on the county ballot, our election would appear right at the end, and there would be ballot fatigue — but I bet votes cast would still be well over 26%! And they also argued, but very very quietly, (2) that if we had City elections on the main ballot then — horror of horrors! — more students would vote. And we can’t have that riff-raff deciding elections, now can we?

We should run Coral Gables City elections like we do for judges: have the non-partisan races on the day of the primary, and any run-off on the day of the general election. Leaving races to off years as we do not only wastes taxpayer money paying for the election machinery (twice in this case), it also suppresses the vote. But again, in the eyes of our city worthies, that’s a feature not a bug.

But one guy you shouldn’t blame is Ralph Cabrera. He worked hard; indeed he came by my neighborhood at least twice. He didn’t go low in this race. He should look in the mirror in the morning and feel good about that.

Posted in Coral Gables | 1 Comment

Coral Gables Commission Run-Off: Please Vote Cabrera

We have a run-off on Tuesday April 23rd (i.e., tomorrow if you are reading this Monday night) between the two top vote getters in Group 4.  Sadly, the incumbent Mayor beat Jeannett Slesnick by 123 votes — even fewer than last time.

I wrote previously about why you should vote for Ralph Cabrera, and there’s more where that came from. If you live in Coral Gables it’s important you take a few minutes and vote in this run-off. We really Do Not want some unknown party to buy this election for Jorge Fors. 

Since the election there have been two more sleazy mailers from a shadowy source making false charges against Cabrera. The sordid business is documented, and speculated about, at Political Cortadito’s Secretly funded PAC attacks Ralph Cabrera with mystery mailers, lies.

It’s weird and sad that dark money has come to a small city like Coral Gables, but these are the times we live in. Please don’t let the bad guys win this.

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Watch Out for Hurricane Sheldon

AOC teams up with the Intercept, Naomi Klein, and illustrator Molly Crabapple to imagine a happy future in which the Green New Deal helps save the planet.  Well, most of the planet.  Pity about Miami.  (See video at 6:02.)

Posted in 99%, Weather With a Name | Leave a comment

Traffic Simulator

Check out the Traffic Simulator.

Being from Miami, first thing I did is set the slider to simulate less-polite drivers under “lane-changing behavior”. Chaos ensues.

Next up, traffic cones everywhere.  Pretty soon it will look just like local roads!

Posted in Internet, Miami | 1 Comment

Let’s Hope They’re Not On the Move

‘Thousands’ of poisonous Bufo toads are ‘besieging’ Palm Beach gardens, a neighborhood a bit over two hours drive north of me. CBS 5 has the details (warning: audio pops up immediately).

Bufo toads secrete a ‘milky substance’ from their heads that is highly toxic to people — and especially likely to get into your pets. (No word yet if these are the type whose poison has psychoactive properties. I just imagine spring breakers rubbing toads on their bodies and getting run over…)

We’ve had floods, tornadoes, now frogs. Biblical plagues anyone?

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Thoughts on the Upcoming 2019 Coral Gables Elections

On April 9 Coral Gables will have an election for Mayor and for one of the Commission seats. Coral Gables uses a City Manager system, so the Mayor is only a bit more than first-among-equals, with a substantial ceremonial role. Oddly, Commissioners get a four-year term, but the Mayor only gets a two-year term.

Coral Gables Mayor

The Mayoral race pits incumbent Raul Valdes-Fauli against challenger and former Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick. Slesnick lost by 187 votes the last time they went head-to-head.

I think this is a pretty easy call.

Continue reading

Posted in Coral Gables | 4 Comments