Having followed a number of municipal elections in the City of Coral Gables, it is frequent that many, if not nearly a majority of the candidates’ assert their support for sustaining quality of life in the city as a central feature of their platforms.

The term quality of life is both vague and undefined–perfect for a political campaign. It is defined by the potential voter who conveys and translates “quality of life” into their own immediate concerns as a resident and voter.

In fact, quality of life has absolutely no measurable content. It can mean more development, less development or overdevelopment, more or less public security, more or less traffic, more or less racial sensitive and integration, and more or less government transparency.

Quality of life may be code words for a Coral Gables as insular, provincial, separate, well-off. over-permitted city, unsympathetic to critical social, economic and health matters of our times.

Best to ignore political slogans like “quality of life.”

Ordinary citizens will largely be left out in the 2021 legislative process | Florida Phoenix

With the Florida Legislature convening next week, regular citizens trying to participate in the legislative process will face tough hurdles under COVID-19 protocols set by the House and Senate chambers. For Floridians who want to engage in the process of creating laws and providing testimony, access in general will be limited and residents with disabilities will face even more difficulties during the pandemic. What’s more, the two chambers in the Legislature are inconsistent in their COVID protocols. In a Thursday briefing, a frustrated group of Florida advocates found little help in expanding public access, following a letter to several lawmakers.

Ordinary citizens will largely be left out in the 2021 legislative process | Florida Phoenix

Thinking about VOTER SUPPRESSION in CORAL GABLES and similar Municipalities

Voter participation in many municipalities is weak and the voting systems lead to voter suppression. There is an insufficient 25% voter participation in local government elections. Coral Gables is a clear example low voter turnout that could be easily fixed. South Miami recency moved the dates of its elections with the approval of the voters.

Many municipal government elections for key positions of commissioners and mayors in Coral Gables are elected by a total vote of 20% to 25% register voters, essentially because the elections are held on off-year national and state election years when the public is not paying attention. The winners may accumulate no more than one-half of actual voters, which is only 10% to 15% of the registered voters.

A great example is the forthcoming election in Coral Gables for mayor and commissioners on April 13, 2021. Be assured that only about 25% of registered voters will even know and care about the election. We know that active participants are driven by their commercial or personal interests in the coming election–donors, attorneys, contractors, builders and developers, large real estate investors, architects, local activists and land owners.

It has been proven that changing the date of the election to national and state voting dates in November will easily double voter participation to 50%.

Let’s make Coral Gables a strong, active democracy, but none of the candidates are interested.

THE FUTURE OF MIRACLE MILE ZONING: Statement for Coral Gables Commission Workshop, February 24, 2021

I lend my voice to this who favor keeping Miracle Mile at its present scale and to absolutely restrict building scale and height.  I favor three stories, not seven stories.

The overgrowth and overdevelopment of many business areas of Coral Gables is still going on and moving ahead, especially along Hwy 1 and Ponce.  

The current scale of Miracle Mile conveys a friendly, traditional, lasting historical image of the city.  We are very late in considering the conservation of Miracle Mile.

Preservation is so important that we should favor strong measures of inflexible height limitations and the provision of incentives, subsidies and other conditions to protect the Miracle Mile environment.   Money from the overbuilt areas of the city should go to protecting Miracle Mile.  Residents helped pay for the Miracle Mile streetscape, which has not been that successful.

A new way of thinking about development is needed.  Many candidates for the Commission Groups 1, 2 and 3 refer to SMART DEVELOPMENT— a vague term at least.  SMART DEVELOPMENT, in practice, has  meant overbuilding, overdevelopment, traffic congestion and pollution.  That’s what we have now. 

I wish the term “smart development” meant limited, controlled development which maintains the traditional culture of Coral Gables and not producing a mountains of overbuilt areas.   We know that money and land interests push the end of Miracle Mile, but this should be resisted before it is too late.

I am not that optimistic.  But I applaud commissioners and candidates who envision a SLOWER, SCALED DOWN DEVELOPMENT— not a city of McMansions and giant apartment buildings, parking building  and malls.

Stephen E. McGaughey


Billions of dollars for Medicaid expansion dangled in front of holdout states, including FL | Florida Phoenix

“Even though states still pay 10 percent [for the new patients], they would still come out ahead,” said Robin Rudowitz, the co-director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured. “I think that changes the math.” An analysis by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that states would gain substantially under the Democratic proposal: Florida could receive $3.5 billion. North Carolina would be in line for $2.4 billion. Georgia could bring in $1.9 billion. Tennessee could collect $1.7 billion. Wisconsin could gain $1.3 billion. Missouri could receive $1.7 billion. Kansas could bring in $330 million. Texas stands to gain the most, with a potential of bringing in nearly $6 billion. The extra money would end after two years.

Billions of dollars for Medicaid expansion dangled in front of holdout states, including FL | Florida Phoenix

Billions of dollars for Medicaid expansion dangled in front of holdout states, including FL | Florida Phoenix [2]

U.S. House Democrats are trying again to entice a dozen holdout states—many of them in the South—to expand Medicaid coverage with the prospect of billions of dollars in federal cash. The new offer, included in a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that House Democrats are pushing through committees this week, could help provide health coverage to more than 2 million Americans. They are falling between the cracks in government programs in the midst of the pandemic and economic downturn. Most are childless adults who earn some money but still fall below the federal poverty level. In the vast majority of states, people in that situation could qualify for Medicaid, a public program that provides health insurance to low-income people and people with disabilities. But in 14 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid, they are still ineligible for that program. Meanwhile, they are still too poor to get subsidized private coverage through insurance exchanges.

Billions of dollars for Medicaid expansion dangled in front of holdout states, including FL | Florida Phoenix