Lago Elected Unopposed, Commission Candidates Set For April 11th Election

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]

On Friday, February 24th at noon, the qualifying period for the Coral Gables Municipal Election officially closed.

Group I

Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago was elected without opposition for a second two-year term.

The Mayor’s name will not appear on the ballot.

Six candidates will seek to fill the two Commission vacancies.

Group IV

Ivette Arango O’Doski

Melissa Castro

Jackson Rip Holmes

Sean Patrick McGrover

Group V

Alexander Luis Bucelo

Ariel Fernandez


The Coral Gables Municipal Election will take place on April 11th.

Early voting will take place April 1st, April 2nd and April 8th.

The last day to request a Vote By Mail Ballot is April 1st. You may request a ballot by visiting the Miami-Dade Elections Department website by clicking here.


36 thoughts on “Lago Elected Unopposed, Commission Candidates Set For April 11th Election

  1. Dear MC, my bet is you work for Lago or Bucello.My bet is you work for one of them, have business dealings with them or are a developer. Bucelo is the worst candidate who is in Lago’s pocket. A few years of these 2 sell-outs and we will look like Brickell.

  2. I like Lago snd the work he has done and I’m voting for BUCELO definitely. After looking at both candidates backgrounds I really think BUCELO is the ONLY candidate I would vote for.

  3. It is crystal clear to me now that Lago and Bucelo only have their and the developers interests in mind. I did vote for Lago in the past election but boy have I seen where his alliance really stands. He is a skilled talker pretending to be all for the residents, but he really is a master at getting his muppet commissioners to vote for the developers and then he pretends he is against them. Bucelo has zero chance to get my vote and I am definitely voting for Ariel Fernandez. Too bad we do not have more candidates like him. ZERO developer contributions , a Belen graduate, and his real service to the community speaks for itself. However, it has been said before, if there are no good or workable candidates that can fundraise, we will continue to get more of the same candidates that are beholden to developers and other interests.

  4. D Register – Glad people are noticing and speaking up. I’m disappointed by the list of names endorsing Lago and Bucelo. The question is why? Judge people by the company they keep.

  5. I write you, the Coral Gables City Commission, as a lifelong conservative Republican appalled by our GOP Governor’s and Legislature’s unconstitutional efforts to in effect repeal the First Amendment’s protection of our freedom of the press and speech. The hugely useful lead article in today’s Miami Herald reports the peril.

    As a citizen of this State for 47 years and as a resident of this town for 42 years I am hereby strenuously and urgently calling upon the Commission to pass a Resolution opposing HB 991.

    If this Bill is passed then Florida will rightly be known as “the State where freedom goes to die.”

    For decades I litigated in courts, spoke and debated on hundreds of college campuses, and was interviewed on hundreds of national and international news broadcasts about the full scope and meaning of the First Amendment. My email address is [email protected] for good reason.

    The Florida prison inmates to whom I taught Civics for years have a firmer grasp, obviously now, on the sacred protections of the First Amendment than do the sponsors of this foolish, Big Government Bill.

    If you want my help drafting this Resolution please let me know.

    Jack Thompson

  6. I predict Lago reads these comments (or has someone read them for him and deliver them to him each day so he can say he doesn’t read “the blog(s) he used to funding ) and he will respond on his voting record. His voting record does indeed indicate he does not vote for developers, but his campaign coffers do. Now why do you think that is? He votes LAST. After he knows an item will pass, he votes in opposition. Been happening for years and no one noticed.

  7. To Rip Torn:
    I’m not surprised you would sell fake property (waterfront in Nebraska).

  8. To puppet candidates :

    Thanks for the input . Then it’s Fernández, ánd either Castro or McGrover…. ????

  9. We are in serious trouble with Lago and his cronies ‘
    Fernandez must win as he is the one who is pro-residents . Big developers are having a field day and the Mayor and his cronies smiling … wonder why ? We pay their salaries and they seem to forget that. If I wanted to live in a zip code overdeveloped with high rise buildings I would live in Brickell.

    I will vote for Fernández and any other pro-resident candidate (?) and encourage my friends to do the same.

  10. We are in serious trouble with Lago and his cronies ‘
    Fernandez must win as he is the one who is pro-residents . Big developers are having a field day and the Mayor and his cronies smiling … wonder why ? We pay their salaries and they seem to forget that. If I wanted to live in a zip code overdeveloped with high rise buildings I would live in Brickell.

    I will vote for Fernández and any other pro-resident candidate (?) and encourage my friends to do the same.

    Is there any other candidate who will be on our side ?

  11. Dear puppet award:

    If you think Rip would have beaten Lago I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.

    Are you kidding?

  12. The week’s puppet award goes to Jackson Rip Holmes. He gets the puppet award, because he dropped out of the race against Vince Lago and allowed Vince Lago to become the Mayor. Did someone at City Hall pulled Jackson Rip Holmes’ strings? Did Mr. Holmes have a price on his strings?

  13. On Mayor Lago’s bragging about his re-election:

    He says he is “humbled” by this. Really? When has he has he displayed humility about anything?

    He says it is an endorsement of all he has done. No it isn’t. It is simply proof that he bought a second term with a massively corrupting war chest that emptied the field.

  14. Tired of Concrete and Traffic
    Commissioner Anderson has not lived up to her campaign promise. One of her promises was no big developments and she continues to vote for big developments when they come before the commission. I supported Commissioner Anderson but will not vote for her again.
    I am not sure what happens to candidates that state they will be against big development then elected they vote for big development or projects that just are not right for the Gables.
    Have to say that Commissioner Slesnick stood her ground on many big development projects and it is too bad that the voters did not support her for Mayor and she lost by a small number of votes when she should have won by a large amount. There are individuals that say she voted for a project but look at the minutes and what Commissioner Slesnick actually voted yes on and what she voted no.
    Yes, we need Ariel on the commission but just having Ariel isn’t going to be enough to stop Lago from his agenda – his not the residents.
    Here is a few of Bucelo contributors
    Brent Reynolds – famous for the Paseo de la Riviera and Gables Station
    Sid Perkins – Construction Contractor
    Hpaper LLC – Construction Company
    Louis Wolfson III – Real Estate Developer
    John Marquez and Juan Maroso – Real Estate Developers
    Eric Zichella – Lobbyist
    Hammer Construction – Construction Company
    Ponce CAT 151 LLC – Real Estate
    Ponce CAT 57 LLC – Real Estate
    Galloway Road Partners LLC – Real Estate
    Rebuild Florida PAC
    T.A. Gables Development LLC – Real Estate Developers
    1008 E Ponce LLC – Real Estate Brokers
    Agave Holdings LLC – Real Estate
    Agave Ponce LLC – Real Estate Developers
    I can go on and on through the financial reports on the City site for this election. So, I suggest that you take a look. You have attorneys, engineers, etc. that are all involved in the developments that are taking place in our city. Yes, you have other individuals not involved in the developments but they are not the majority or the big money.
    Also look at Ivette Arango O’Doski reports and all the donations that are coming from outside our city – a lot from Tallahassee, developers, attorneys that represent developers, contractors, real estate agents, architects, etc.
    These two are Lago chosen commissioners so that he will have at least 4 votes on the commission for all the large developments that are coming through for up zoning, etc.
    If we do not support candidates that are against big development, then we only have ourselves to blame.

  15. Dear Friends and Voters:

    I am against development.


    I discovered that Mayor Lago was ganging up against ARIEL FERNANDEZ, THE ONE ANTI-DEVELOPMENT CANDIDATE WITH A STRONG CHANCE OF WINNING, in part using my candidacy against him, Mr Lago, to get people to the Polls, to also vote against Ariel Fernandez.

    I switched to running for Commissioner Group IV to thwart that.

    Citizens United allows developers to make unlimited donations to City Candidates, and developers contribute 4 times more money than all Coral Gables voters combined.


    We are living in a nightmare in which Coral Gables is no longer a democracy, but instead a DEVELOPER-OCRACY.

    Our best way of fighting this is to do what Miami Beach and Key Biscayne have done. We need to amend our City Charter to require voter approval for all major development projects. Let’s work together on this.

    I am not accepting money from developers. Please vote for me, City Commissioners, Group IV.

    Sincerely, and PLEASE feel free to call me,

    Jackson Rip Holmes

  16. Not happy with Lago again? Then DO NOT VOTE FOR BUCELO. He is not only in Lago’s pocket, but the pocket of the developers. VOTE NO FOR BUCELO or support the destruction of CG landscape.

  17. Rip Holmes did us dirty when he switched up from running for Mayor to running for Commissioner.

    Two more years of listening to Lago talk to hear his own voice. Imagine how much shorter the meetings would be if he would not drone on.

    Two more years of Lago fooling you that he cares about your interests.

    Two more years of favors to his friends and campaign contributors.

    Two more years of not having enough money to fund the capital budget but finding money for special projects like watching trash pits and transportation studies that have already been completed.

    Two more years. UNLESS you vote for two people who will not allow him to act like a strong Mayor form of government. We are not a strong Mayor form of government. FIVE EQUAL VOTES on that dais and somehow he has managed to optically diminish the value of the 4 other Commissioners.

  18. @Sally B. – thanks for the info. Is there a clearinghouse of some sort for the CG elections (other than the CG website)?

  19. @Vickie Lago and others – is this information [campaign for its written positions…] published in one place? Or perhaps you’ve already invested the “rear plumage” and can facilitate [via reply] for the rest of us? The CG website doesn’t provide detail other than candidates and finances Relying on paid campaign propaganda/endorsements would be preferable by candidates but not by responsible voters. Ballotpedia only covers candidates in jurisdictions greater than 100k population, Coral Gables is about 50k so it’s not covered in this source. BTW – you can get elections/ballots info for any jurisdiction above 100k @ or MOXY in the app stores.

  20. Please publish which developers are funding each candidate. As far as I can see, the only commissioner who has lived up to her campaign promises is Anderson. I will definitely not vote for any candidates backed by big developer money. But the staff is a problem, too. Based on who gets permits and who is forced to wait for years and get hassled at every turn, and which developers get whatever they want, the staff is somehow benefiting from the construction companies/developers they are supposed to be supervising. It cannot be coincidence.

  21. Questions come to mind as to why incumbents choose to support candidates. How do they work with those elected without their support? Do they do it to be able to control their votes? Are they looking for “rubber stampers” to be able to have unanimous votes? Our voters need to decide whether they want two more years of uncontrolled development. Does anyone believe that developers support candidates because they like them?
    Do they do it to secure their votes when needed?
    With all the philanthropic causes available to support, why do they throw their mega dollars into political campaigns? Our voters need to decide who they would like to represent them, those beholden to the developers? Or those who listen to them and want what is best for all of us? Following the money in the candidates coffers should help us decide.
    Please follow the money before completing the ballots!!

  22. It is very disappointing that nobody could muster the courage or the money to run against Mayor Lago. I was not planning on voting for him again, as I made it plainly clear in response to several of the numerous emails I got bombarded with from his campaign. Another four years of uber development in the City Beautiful await. Let’s continue destroying the essence of what’s made Coral Gables the great city it is…

  23. Here’s your chance to hear from the candidates themselves on the issues. All “City Beautiful” residents are invited to attend the PTSA-sponsored Virtual Candidate Forum ahead of the April municipal elections in Coral Gables. The forum will be held via zoom on Thursday, March 2nd from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. The is sponsored by several local PTA’s from schools in our city. Find out all the details, including how to register and submit questions at Spread the word with your friends and neighbors. Hope you can join us!

  24. Cesar
    You should do is go to the Coral Gables website and look at the financial filings for each candidate to see where there support is coming from. If your opposed to all the recent and continued approval of big development then this reports will open your eyes as to who the developers are supporting. Also follow the contributions from all the lobbyist from out of town, PAC’s, etc.
    The two candidates that Lago are supporting have so much developer money and outside lobbyist it isn’t funny. Contributions coming from outside of our city and what influence will these individuals/companies/PAC’s have on the development and request for up zoning.

  25. Cesar, Gables Good Government Committee is having a Meet the Candidates Evening on March 13th at the Coral Gables Museum from 5:30 until 7:45. You will have the opportunity to ask questions of each of the candidates at that time. Both have accepted our invitation.

    Sally B.
    GGG Board of Directors

  26. If I had a way to do so, I would not vote for any incumbents as they get elected based on promises, then once in office, they kneel to developers and the City Manager.

    Next election, I will campaign against them

  27. Dear Cesar, you can easily discover the differences among the candidates by asking each campaign for its written positions in their campaign materials on various issues.

    Is this a serious question? Get off your rear plumage and gather the info from the candidates!

  28. I just received the card in the mail where Mayor Lago endorses Bucelo as well as the survey from the American Strategies Group. What are the key reasons for this endorsement? What differentiates Fernandez v Bucelo? Where can I and other Coral Gables voters find details on each candidate to make an informed decision?

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