Recommended: Robert Burr’s CORAL GABLES BULLETIN on the Candidates and the Election

I reproduce this excellent and lively description of the candidates, with some of his personal views.  Worth reading, indeed.  Thanks Rob.

Gables Voters: Tuesday Is Election Day
If you’re tired of hearing about local elections and politics, delete this message now. Do not read further.If you don’t give a hoot about voting in your city, please delete this message now.

If you could care less what I think about the candidates for mayor and commissioner, please delete this message now and get on with your life.

If you’re still reading this message, I’l going to give you my recommendations for candidates in the coming election on Tuesday, April 12.

First, by virtue of having your attention, I want to thank you for being an active member of our community and taking an active interest in our governance. Coral Gables is blessed with an informed and engaged base of registered voters. This is the strength of our community and our greatest asset.

I spend a great deal of time promoting Coral Gables. I know this city inside out and I care deeply about our quality of life. I’m not a casual observer. The good news is I understand what makes this one of the best little cities in the world. The bad news is I am painfully aware of our flaws and have concrete ideas of how to fix them.

When I’ve been critical of leadership in this city, I’ve spoken out. This has cost me dearly in terms of retribution, but my contributions have helped to expose some of our worst problems and bring in new leadership to clean up the mess. I’ve been a victim of personal vendettas paid for by your tax dollars. It’s shameful and wasteful, but it hasn’t shaken me one bit.

Our new city manager inherited a mighty mess. It will take him years to turn around the administration, but he’s already make great strides in the right direction.

If you agree with me that citizens of Coral Gables deserve first-class leadership and professionalism, I’m here to tell you that there are still vestiges of mediocre governance and less than stellar talent gumming up the works in Coral Gables. It’s time we turned the page on these disappointing days of unremarkable and uninspired direction.

Thanks to term limits, we voters have ensured that life-long incumbencies are a thing of the past in Coral Gables. Bravo. Good people are coming forward, willing and eager to serve their community to the best of their ability. This is encouraging. This new atmosphere is enabling qualified people to come forward.

The Mayor’s Race
Thanks to voters, the mayors office was returned to a two year term recently after a close election in the recent past which onerously gave the current mayor the only four year term in the city’s history.

Don Slesnick smiles a lot, he talks a lot and he cuts a mean ribbon at store openings in Coral Gables. He’s a likable fellow who’s greatest talent is giving generously of his time to city affairs. Unfortunately, he’s a poor leader, has never inspired anyone, ignores obvious problems and loves to take credit for the accomplishments of others. There is no foresight, no ability to solve problems before they get out of hand, no proactive insight. I’m tired of watching our city deal with serious problems in crisis mode while Don grins ear to ear like smiley-faced goofball Alfred E. Neuman pretending nothing is amiss. That’s not leadership. The Miami Herald is right. Don should have stuck to his promise to step down for good. For his own good. For all our own good.

Jim Cason is not well known in Coral Gables, but I can tell you this. He’s certainly over-qualified to be the mayor of Coral Gables. With nearly four decades in the diplomatic service, he’s learned as an ambassador to jump right in and tackle the tough issues with diplomatic professionalism. He can systematically analyse and deal with serious issues, build consensus and deliver positive results. Jim will make a fine mayor for our city, and he’ll proactively serve as our ambassador to the world, something that would make our city founder George Merrick very proud. He’s retired, so he’ll devote nearly 100% of his time to bringing Coral Gables back to it’s sterling status of greatness that has faded steadily in the past decade. I have faith in Jim Cason.

Tom Korge is a good man. I proud that Tom has risen to the occasion and taken tough stances on the issues most important to Gables citizens. He’s well informed, he has good ideas and he’s well spoken. He would certainly be a great improvement over our current mayor. Before Tom entered the race, he asked if Don Slesnick was going to run. Don promised no. Tom took him for his word. Enough said. Tom is not the most exciting man I’ve ever met, but his heart is in the right place and he’s well qualified. He’s spent a lot of time on the inside dealing with the city’s most important issues over the past decade. I like Tom Korge. I admire him for coming forward to help get this city back on track and fix the glaring problems.

Group Five Commission Seat
With only two candidates in the race, the choices here are easy to digest.

Richard Namon is a very smart man. He reads city budgets and understands them better than anyone I know. He’s no-nonsense and he’s down-to-earth. I’m glad to know him as a friend and glad he’s seen the need to become engaged in our city and to lend his considerable talents to solving problems. Like many of us, he’s frustrated at what he sees as lackluster leadership consistently ignoring obvious problems. He believes in putting the needs and priorities of people first. I’d like to see Richard become more engaged in many of our outstanding civic and charitable organizations to get a firm understanding of all aspects of our community. If elected, he will serve us proudly.

Bill Kerdyk is my friend. I like him a lot. He’s been a good commissioner who consistently votes for fiscal responsibility, quality of life issues, proactive programs that make great sense for our city. Bill is now running for his last four year term, but he’s the exception to the reason we need term limits. Bill will do well to adopt some of his competitor’s ideas of how to radically circumvent the looming financial crisis in our city’s future.

Group Four Commission Seat
When Chip Withers, after 20 years on the commission, wisely decided not to run again, this seat attracted a robust crop of potential candidates to what should be an uplifting campaign for positive change. Unfortunately it spawned a disappointing series of mud-slinging and negative campaigning that only serves to feed the dominate attributes of ignorance and apathy among the Coral Gables electorate. Personally, I’m not going to judge candidates based on something they did or did not do years ago, with whom they associate or where they were born. I know most of these candidates fairly well based on their recent contributions to Coral Gables, their dedication to serving their community and the abilities I’ve seen them express in these regards.

Brad Rosenblatt is my friend. I like Brad. He’s dedicated to making Coral Gables a better place. I believe his positive contributions to the city outweigh some mistakes he’s made along the way. He’s young, ambitious, smart and has a good perspective on the importance of a thriving downtown, the key to Coral Gables success. Brad has a bright future in Coral Gables and I’m proud of his initiative to share his talents with his fellow citizens. He’s accessible, he’s forthright, and he’s genuinely dedicated to positive change.

Frank Quesada is a good man. He’s well versed in issues of importance to the citizens of Coral Gables, he’s thoughtful and considerate, polite and honorable. I believe he’s going to be a significant contributor to the betterment of Coral Gables for years to come. I commend him for stepping forward to give his time to our city. He’s young. I hope to see him continue his involvement in the community for many years. If elected, he will serve with dignity and grace.

Gonzalo Sanabria is my friend and he’s on a mission. Like most of us, he dedicated most of his time in the past to his family and his business. Thankfully, he had an awakening of the importance of being involved in city affairs and realized the serious problems in our city that need immediate attention. He analysed the obvious flaws of leadership that were causing Coral Gables to flounder and fail in critical areas. He spoke out. Bravo. I thank Mr. Sanabria for standing up and dedicating much of his time to making Coral Gables a better place to live and work. I believe as a commissioner, he would take his job very seriously and work hard to achieve his stated goals.

Richard Martin is a friend of mine. Like others, he had occasion to become aware of serious flaws in the way our city was being run and he stood up to say he thinks he can contribute to our collective betterment. He takes a common sense approach to tough problems. Richard offers solutions that are reasonable and sound on most issues.

Jackson Rip Holmes is a friend of mine. Has the best interests of Coral Gables in mind. He’s been consistently cheerleading for the betterment of business in downtown for many years. He’s largely misunderstood and often dismissed but there is no doubt about his dedication to Coral Gables business issues.

Rene Alvarez is not well known to me. He entered the race late and apparently does not have have a large budget for communicating with voters. He is politically active in volunteering and participating in local politics. Bravo. He’s well connected to county politicians, judges, senators and governors. Keep your eye on Rene Alvarez. The Miami Herald recommends him. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting him and getting to know him better.

Now, voter, the job is yours
You alone will decide who will lead Coral Gables forward in the coming difficult years.

I commend you for taking the time to read my recommendations and further challenge you to stay informed, get involved and find a way to make a positive difference in our community.

Robert Adams Burr

Robert A. Burr

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George Merrick first published his Gables Bulletin in 1922 to keep residents informed of special events and items of importance in his city.This Coral Gables Bulletin notice is directed to registered voters in Coral Gables.

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Coral Gables Bulletin is published by Robert Adams Burr
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PO Box 144353 Coral Gables, FL USA 33114-4353
phone: 305-443-7973


About Stephen E. McGaughey
Resident of the City of Coral Gables

One Response to Recommended: Robert Burr’s CORAL GABLES BULLETIN on the Candidates and the Election

  1. Just Sayin' says:

    It’s a nice recap, but I think I missed the “recommendations.”

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