Letter from the Gables Good Governance (GGG)

The following was distributed by email today:

To our fellow citizens of Coral Gables,

As many of us have heard, the City of Coral Gables has been going through a particularly difficult budgeting process; one with no painless solutions. While we may have different perspectives on how best to navigate the waters ahead, it is of utmost importance that we face this challenge together; to unite as a community of one. It is imperative that we engage in civil discussion. Focus should be placed on concrete facts and information, not misconstrued scare tactics and political agendas.

Such ideals have been particularly challenging to adopt with the hostile environment established by a few vocal citizens, whose threatening and disruptive tactics have done little to help resolve the real issues the city faces. Yes, they too have the right to voice their perspectives and we should listen to their concerns but, ultimatums and threats never yield helpful answers.

The following opinions come from members of our organization, Gables Good Government; They are your fellow neighbors and caring citizens of Coral Gables. Whether or not you agree with these viewpoints, we invite you to engage in this discussion to find real solutions to real problems; answers that will help make Coral Gables a better place for generations to come.

“On Tuesday, September 1, 2009, the Gables Good Government Committee hosted City Manager Pat Salerno and City Finance Director Don Nelson to brief our members on the ongoing budget process. The meeting was attended by over 50 community leaders followed by an hour of Q&A with Pat Salerno. Many in attendance, asked very educated, civil, probing questions and were pleased with the candid answers received by the administration. Most [attendees] are active on Coral Gables civic and city boards and respect the burden that our public officials have on their shoulders. We understand that Good Government starts with the people; this is why the GGG was formed, to assist our elected leaders in a civil and proactive manner.”

– Jorge Alvarez, GGG President

“ I have lived in Coral Gables for eight years. I chose to move to the Gables largely because of the professional City leadership and I continue to be extremely pleased with this decision. I find the City leaders to be accessible and forthcoming. I have served as a volunteer member of advisory boards, which is a positive mechanism to provide my input into city business. Let’s encourage a civil approach to helping our City to continue to be the best in Miami-Dade County. There are many of us out there that support Coral Gables and have great pride in it. We want to be heard. Even if we speak quietly. “

– Debbie Swain

“As a resident and business owner in the City of Coral Gables for over 10 years, I have always been extremely proud of living here. Coral Gables is celebrated for its history, beauty, excellent public safety and the integrity of our elected leadership. Our City, like many others across our nation, is facing serious financial hardships due to the economic crisis and the decrease in property values. Budgets have been cut to the bone and many commissioners had to make the hard decision of raising millage rates to fill deep gaps in order to maintain the level of services. It takes courage and leadership to make these very difficult decisions for our future while enduring the criticism and threats from groups that offer no true solutions to our budget woes. It is time to stop the madness, behave like responsible citizens, to roll up our sleeves, and to work with our leadership to develop sustainable and long-term solutions for the future of our City Beautiful.”

– Irela Bague

“As I read about the South Carolina Congressman interrupting the president’s speech, my mind flashed back to to the recent Coral Gables Budget hearing, wherein a loud minority has unilaterally become the de facto voice for all in our great city. The time has come for the majority of residents in Coral Gables to commence a full court press on this vocal minority. We, the majority, have allowed their rhetoric with little or no counterpoints, factors that have made that small minority act disrespectful and tyrannical. Similar to the embarrassing incident in our Congress, we have seen our elected officials criticized, ridiculed and embarrassed publicly just for fun. Even those in the minority who had some credibility for doing good in our community have diminished their own presence. To address our commission in a mocking, taunting and laughable mode and then turn to the audience for applause does not say much for anyone. What the minority does not understand is that, we, the majority, elected these officials to represent us, thus it is our right to demand respect for them, as they represent us. We do not object to differences, however, we do object to their being expressed in an uncivilized and disrespectful manner.”

– Enrique Lopez

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in financing development programs and projects

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