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.
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.
GablesStage has a terrific production on of Bruce Graham’s ‘White Guy on the Bus’. It has many moments of brutal truth about race relations, and some nicely abrupt surprises that I don’t want to ruin.
At the start of the play we meet suburbanites Ray (Christopher is getting ready to defend his thesis. But he’s worried that he might run into a buzz-saw of political correctness, although the topic doesn’t sound terriblly controversial to my perhaps jaded ear and he certainly sounds well-prepared. Molly, whom Ray and Rox find a bit naive, teaches in a ‘nice’ school and starts the play as the least-defined character, perhaps because we’re seeing things more from Ray’s and Rox’s perspective, and they’ve known Matthew since he was four.
There’s a key fifth character, Black bus-rider Shatique (Rita Joe), to whom Ray is the ‘white guy on the bus’. Ray strikes up a conversation. Shatique is spending all day working and studying to become a nurse; she sees her son only once a week because he lives with her mother in a safer neighborhood. Shatique is understandably puzzled as to why a white guy in a suit and tie is on a bus — and especially this bus. And that turns out to be a good question.
The play starts out a bit preachy-sounding, but that is as much misdirection as prelude. Everyone is going to have their balloons punctured by the end. Or worse.
Michael Leeds (more commonly found directing at the Island City Stage) directed, making this a rare GablesStage production not directed by Joseph Adler — who no doubt has his hands full trying to get GablesStage relocated to a rehabbed Coconut Grove Playhouse. Leeds gets great performances out of all his cast, particularly Wahl, Joe, and Matthews.
GablesStage always has great sets (blame Lyle Baskin). This one, which allows for seamless (indeed overlapping) transitions between scenes works particularly well to serve the plot twists in the play.
That this play shines light in dark places can’t be denied. But if it has a moral other than ‘race relations are ugly, life is complicated, brutal, and a lot of things suck’ it was kind of lost on me. Do any of the characters get what they originally wanted? Maybe, but to the extent some do it is certainly safe to say that not one gets anything they want — or later decides to want — in any way they possibly could have wanted. This is not uplifting theater, and the only truck it has with easy answers is to stomp on them very hard. This play doesn’t sugarcoat. But is a really good production of a smart play — one that notably does not suffer from the second act letdown that can infect the kind of small cast plays that find their way to the little stage in the Biltmore.
If you like good theater, go see it and support what has to be one of the best regional theaters in the country. The run is until Sept. 9, and there are student tickets for some shows.
It seems FPL cleaned up the downed power lines yesterday, but has revised its estimate to turn on all the power in the area to Tuesday. We’ll see if Coral Gables goes through with its threat to impose fines.
I was out for a brief drive to the library today (Comcast still hasn’t fixed the internet, and the library has wifi) and saw a lot of electricity trucks working in the area. Hard to know, but maybe that letter from the Commission had an effect; or maybe it’s just our turn.