Commission Discusses Little Gables Annexation, Showing One Side’s Motives: Politics Over People

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]

Coral Gables Commissioners are elected to represent resident interests on the dais. A lot has been said about some members of the Commission by Gables Insider subscribers over the years.

However, at the August 23rd City Commission meeting, one member of the Commission made it a point to choose the side of an outside Fire Union, over that of the residents he was elected to represent.

The discussion item was the potential annexation of Little Gables. A topic that was not very controversial until Jorge L. Fors, Jr.’s campaign made it an issue with the purpose of dividing the previously united neighbors of North Gables. In his campaign, the issue of annexation was vilified and large amounts of false information was propagated in order to scare voters into supporting Fors’ candidacy for the Coral Gables Commission.

Just over three years later, Fors has resigned his seat on the Coral Gables Commission effective November 22, 2022, in order to run for another office.

Now, candidate Fors has once embraced annexation in order to divide voters in the district he seeks to represent.

The discussion began very cordially and was conversational. Many residents of Coral Gables and of Little Gables spoke in favor of annexation. A couple rose to speak against.

Threats By The Miami-Dade Fire Fighter’s Union

The president of the Miami-Dade Firefighter’s Union (Local 1403), William McAllister, IV, addressed the Commission. He opted for a less civil approach and began attacking the City of Coral Gables and the Commission for seeking to annex Little Gables.

Miami-Dade Firefighter’s Union (Local 1403), William McAllister, IV

McAllister began with a direct attack at Coral Gables Mayor, Vince Lago, “Mr. Mayor, I ask this question rhetorically, is public safety a priority for you? I am not sure if it is.” “If public safety were your priority, we wouldn’t be here right now.” He inferred that the timing of this discussion was a symbol of Lago’s disinterest in public safety due to the funeral for a Miami-Dade fallen officer taking place at the same time.

The fact was, the Commission meeting had been pushed back a day to accommodate Fors’ campaign and election the day before.

McAllister continued to say public safety was not a priority for the City, clearly demonstrated by a dumpster fire the prior weekend, which he described as a high-rise fire Coral Gables had been unable to handle.

Public comments had been kept to two minutes for all prior speakers, at two minutes and thirty seconds the Mayor asked McAllister to wrap up his comments, yet Commissioner Fors interjected in order to allow McAllister, who represents a union with a public interest and endorsed him in his Miami-Dade County election, to continue his comments.

Lago pointed out the renovations of Coral Gables fire stations, the construction of the public safety building and the upcoming construction of a new fire station on Sunset. He asked McAllister to stay on topic and not make attacks personal to ensure a positive dialogue.

McAllister continued by addressing comments that had been made by Little Gables residents. They mentioned how there were at least two residents who had died recently waiting for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue response and another had to be driven to the hospital by a neighbor due to lack of response by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. McAllister said the reason for their deaths was “technical issues for the response-time issues,” while stating that Coral Gables Fire assuming response in the area would be a degradation of service to Little Gables and would dilute response in the Gables.

Coral Gables has, for long, had among the best response times in the County for both Police (2 minutes) and Fire (under 5 minutes).

McAllister then asked Lago to “reconsider” his priorities and “focus less on building new stations and buying pretty trucks.”

Vice Mayor Michael Mena addressed McAllister’s comments. “The comments you just made are the most disgraceful comments that I have had here since I was elected in 2017. For you to come here for the first time and openly question what the Mayor of the City prioritizes public safety, I don’t even know where to start with that.” Mena continued, “if you are going to come here and question people’s motives, you should at least be honest about what your motives are. For you to come here and pretend you are here altruistically on behalf of these residents of this neighborhood, because you have this concern for public safety, with all due respect, everybody knows why you are here. And it ain’t about their safety, its about money. Put up our public safety numbers against whoever you want, whenever we hear from residents we hear that whenever they call police and fire, they get the support they need. And I know this mutual aid game you like to play, and by the way, the last thing we should be honest about. Whatever my vote was last time, the City of Coral Gables approved annexation. It then went to the County. The County is the one that tanked annexation, and at the forefront of that was the fire union.”

Fire And Police Chief Contradict Fire Union

Although Coral Gables Fire Chief, Marcos de la Rosa, skipped this important meeting to attend a conference and was not present to answer the Commission’s questions. Deputy Chief Gilberto “Gil” Hernandez was present to answer on his behalf.

Mena asked the Chief, “Can you point to an example, recently, of a Coral Gables high-rise fire where the response time from the City of Coral Gables or a mutual aid agreement?”

In contradiction to McAllister’s allegations, Chief Hernandez stated that the mutual aid agreement with Miami-Dade County is usually called upon by Miami-Dade County more often than by Coral Gables. “Its possible that we may provide more mutual aid to Miami-Dade than they do to us,” he added.

As you will recall, Coral Gables Fire and Police were both present at the Surfside building collapse the night of the collapse, as they have been at numerous other county incidents and events to provide assistance to the County departments.

Lago stated, “I had a meeting with this gentleman…he said ‘we will let you annex Little Gables, High Pines and Ponce Davis. We will get out of the way, but let us absorb your entire fire department.’ I laughed. I laughed.” McAlister interrupted Lago and said, “you are lying.”

Lago continued, “I am going to take it a step further, I am going to give you the names of people who you called to send an intimidating message to me.” He explained that McAllister had said to “send a message to the Mayor, he can either have an easy re-election or he can have a tough re-election. And its very simple if he backs away from annexation. You told that to the Mayor of Miami, you told that to the Mayor of West Miami, and you told that to another individual who is in this room here.”

Gables Insider has independently confirmed these conversations. A week before the meeting, we reached out to McAllister to speak with him about his threats towards Lago. He did not return phone calls, rather sent a lengthy email with scripted messaging on why annexation was bad in his opinion, but not once denying his threats.

The Commission called upon Police Chief Edward J. Hudak, Jr. who stated that “from the City of Coral Gables Police Department perspective, as I have said before on several other attempts through the 34 years I have been here, we need to square off the boundaries of the City as far as our paroling standpoints. As far as mutual aid; which is affected differently on the Police side than it is on the Fire side, the mutual aid in this case has become weaponized and that’s a problem for me.”

Fors Comes To Bat For The Union That Endorsed Him

Fors then interjected. “Time out, time out, time out.” Lago recognized Anderson who had asked to speak first. Fors did not allow for her to speak.

He entered to assist McAllister on his point, “is it an indication, if we have to call mutual aid, because there is a fire or dumpster fire in a building and all our units are there. Is that an indication that we do not have enough personnel if all our personnel are there?”

Chief Hernandez answered, “this is a unique incident. High-rise fires do not happen often. If it does happen, we need resources from mutual aid to back-fill or support our department. That is the only instance that we would need mutual aid.” As a thirty year veteran of Coral Gables Fire, Chief Hernandez was asked “would you say that we provide more mutual aid to Miami-Dade County than they do to us?” “Yes, my belief is that we provide more mutual aid to them for EMS type calls.”

Fors, who has consistently approved high-rise developments in Coral Gables with disregard for the need of additional police or fire personnel, pressed on the potential for a high-rise fire limiting the department’s ability to respond to calls in Little Gables. The fact is, most projects approved by Fors as Commissioner would have a larger impact than numerous EMS call in Little Gables combined.

Fors then doubled down, “I want to stay away from this anecdotal questioning. Like ‘who provides more mutual aid?’ We need to be more clear that the public safety factor must be considered very carefully, along with the other ones.”

This contradicts the Coral Gables Fire Union itself, which has complained to Gables Insider about Fors’ “disinterest in public safety” when it has come to new developments within City limits.

Mena explained that this had been a main discussion item when annexation was previously discussed in 2017. As staff’s presentation shows, the number of officers, fire fighters, revenue changes for staff hiring and the like were discussed in detail.

The facts are that the City always intended to add Police and Fire personnel, which would be paid for from revenues from the new properties that would become part of the City of Coral Gables.


Annexation was discussed by Miami-Dade County in 2017, when the City of Coral Gables was considering the potential annexation of High Pines, Ponce Davis and Little Gables. The process was moving along until Fors, who had been elected weeks before, attended the Miami-Dade Subcommittee discussing annexation and said that he represented the City and was there to say that Coral Gables was against annexation. The City had spent numerous time and resources and most Gables residents were in favor of the annexation. With his performance, Fors, who did not have the authority to speak on the Commission or City’s behalf ensured the process ended. At the time, members of the Commission were rumored to be considering a vote to censure Fors for his actions in defiance of the Commission’s authority. However, the support for the motion was not there as Fors had one colleague who was represented by the same campaign consultant, and another member of the Commission did not want to take action.

What’s Next

The Commission eventually decided to move forward with the discussion and give a green light to staff to proceed with the process. They also requested that a sunshine meeting be scheduled in the near future to discuss the details.


37 thoughts on “Commission Discusses Little Gables Annexation, Showing One Side’s Motives: Politics Over People

  1. Someone asked what benefit the annexation of Little Gables brings to Coral Gables??? How about huge future tax dollars for our City! The real estate on SW 8 street is prime commercial. Developers will be chomping at the bit. Property there is with worth much more than a mere “residential” neighborhood like High Pines. A handful of homes worth 3 and 4 million vs multi million dollar developments. Oh please, I am surprised you had to ask.

  2. What makes Gables residents assume that the residents from Little Gables are poor? It’s not that they can’t pay our ridiculous garbage fees due to all of our illegal dumping. It’s why would they want to? They have a great efficient system. Their streets are clean sans trash pits! Let’s all pay $700 plus and those that can’t pay $900.00 but let’s all throw our trash in the street. Oh yeah… that’ll blow over just dandy🙄

  3. And to Mr HuRo, I live in Coral Gables and I am tired of seeing houses that are unkept and breaking every code in the book. Love seeing those sofas and water heaters on their swale too. Little Gables is ten times cleaner than Coral Gables. Especially cleaner than North Gables! So perhaps you should drive around your neighborhood and take a good look at all the trash in the street.

  4. To Angelo Rodriguez. I agree with you 100%. Whoever says the homes in Little Gables are unkept, has not driven by there lately. There is currently a home under contract for 2.9 million in Little Gables. Wonder how many anti annexation folks can claim that😆 Little Gables is red hot for real estate right now. And as far as the street walkers and human trafficking on SW 8 street is concerned, well guess what… it’s still in our backyard and WE can’t do anything about it because it doesn’t belong to Coral Gables. Guess who responds to calls at 3a in unincorporated Dade? Coral Gables police. Learn the facts. Don’t go by Fors fear mongering campaign when he ran for commissioner. He was backed by those very same motel owners that encourage human trafficking. And the only thing dividing Coral Gables from unincorporated Dade is one street. You know what they say about people that spit up😄😄😄😄

  5. Fors panders to the masses/ the worst elements of society. He recently has been promising cheap gas if elected. What about global warming? This is the hottest summer in history! We don’t need more poor Uber drivers roaming our neighborhood.

  6. I am still going to vote for Fors for county commissioner. I keep receiving pictures of Cabrera and the former president. I can’t vote for a man who associates with the man responsible for January 6 attack in the Capitol.

  7. Fors is a phony Please his words ego lies and inability to a honorable dialogue are his core failures…it’s good to hear that Ariel is on the ballot for commissioner young honorable and represents our gables.

  8. I am tired of politicians posting pictures of their family with the obvious intent of presenting a wholesome picture of themselves.
    Al Capone, Gotti, Castro, Mussolini as well as most of the inhabitants of earth have families.
    The fact of having a family is not a qualification. It just means you can procreate.
    Let’s get real and just present the voting public with platform, achievements, educational background, credit histories and scores, affiliations, and the real reasons for wanting to serve.
    Good luck with that because after all why would anyone in their right mind want to be a politician other than for reasons of possible personal gains, obtaining influence, and furthering their private agendas.

  9. It’s amazing how some people who choose to hide behind made up names, and real or fake first names, use misinformation, also known an untruths to try to confuse the readers. Coral Gables garbage is NOT going to $902!
    Those residents who choose not to take the early discount pay the regular price which is $902! Anyone who needs to confirm this should call the finance department! As to other innuendos as to how Gables Indider is funded, perhaps those who got “free money” from the City, ie, the taxpayers, think everyone does the same!

  10. I don’t see what benefit annexation brings to Coral Gables’ residents. Someone tell me.

    Was entertaining to see Lago turn on Fors during the meeting. Can’t wait for next commission meeting!

    Lago funds this blog so of course it will slant towards Lago.

  11. Here is what Commissioner Fors says about himself in his current campaign literature:

    “Family is at the core of everything Jorge Fors does.”

    Really? How does your opposition to annexation serve families?

    When a politician tells you he is all about “family”
    better hide your children.

  12. Has anyone really driven by Little Gables. There are a handful of homes that are nicely kept but more are not. What about the shameful trailer park? Are the current homeowners of Little Gables aware of all the added expense they will incurr. Are they aware of how their homes will need to be kept. What will happen with all the unpermitted additions and garages made into rooms (all homes must have a garage or carport). Current Coral Gables homeowners pay $750.00 for yearly garbage collection (in addition to Taxes) garbage is said to be going up to $920.00 Why does the Mayor want to go through the expense to annex Little Gables, it does not make sense for the current Coral Gables homeowners. What is really behind this move? Mayor Lago needs to look out for the residents of Coral Gables not the Little Gables residents

  13. If you think your opinion is important enough to merit publishing it, might I suggest you own it with your own name rather than some cutesy nonsense name. What drives your fears if someone sees your name on an honest statement?

    My first opinion of Fors was extremely negative. He was doing door to door campaigning and embarked on the sole issue of Little Gables Annexation. He stressed repeatedly the criminal element living there 🙄 and the fact that our police and fire departments would be stretched thin and I wouldn’t receive the same service if annexation went through.
    That is the dumbest argument I’ve ever heard. If a city expands its boundaries, so does it expand its services to continue A+ service. You could apply that to waste collection, street and arboreal services as well. Those services just dont carry the scary part that a first responder won’t be available when needed. Fors went for scary.
    Guess he thought available demographics showed me as a frightened, silly, old woman. I’m not. I didn’t scare and he didn’t get my vote. I thought then and it is confirmed now, that just being a city commissioner wasn’t his agenda, he needs Coral Gables merely as a stepping stone for his political ambitions.
    It would be amazing to have a commission devoted to the good of the city rather than political and monetary ambitions.

  14. …so ur saying I should pay higher taxes for a fire department that can’t put out a trash can on fire…. No thanks Little Lago

  15. Only Annex Little Gables! It is close to the New Main Fire & Police Station. Forget about High Pines & Ponce Davis. Give those areas next to Sunset DR to South Miami. George Merrick lived North of Coral Way. Zip Code 33134. Please CONSOLIDATE his neighborhood. It is what Merrick wanted and did, buying land from Lejeune and others.

  16. Mayor Lago, please provide the same ability to help my children and my elderly mom if they call for help that Dade County gives us.

  17. Part of the annexation would increase the number of police and fire fighters. Our CG police and fire respond to little gables as it is today anyways. Mutual aide. Hudak said having little gables part of CG would allow for easier patrol and enforcement. Also, due to increase in property values, little gables would be a financial asset not burden. That said, Coral Gables needs to pay attention to the state of our roads and infrastructure its shameful. The enforcement of illegal dumping needs to be ramped up. I never see police patrolling and there has not been a single street light to illuminate dark streets since the era of Corrigan. Finally I understand that north ponce, north of 8th, has been ignored for decades too. Heck look at philips park. Show us you can take care of existing coral gables before expanding. the city likes to take care of areas south of US1 when the heart of coral gables is much more north but looks like city of miami more and more. where is all the money going?

  18. Thank G-d we are about to be done with Jorge Fors. He is resigning, and he will lost the county commission election. Not that his opponent is any better. The mud slinging and nasty tactics are disgusting. Pander, Pander, Pander. That’s all elected official’s seem to do.
    A Pox on all of them!

  19. So…I pay CG taxes, which are higher than the County, and you want to water down the fire service I get by growing The city. SMH. #onlyindade. Good luck with your race for Gables Commish Ariel. You are gonna need it

  20. Little Gables–reminds me of that saying about Mexico: ‘so far from God and so close to the United States”
    Some complain about Code Violations (a sacred tenet for Coral Gables, higher than obeying the Sabbath) like iron bars and having houses divided up into 2 or 3 apartments. Well, you can walk along Douglas Rd and see houses INSIDE the Sacrosanct Coral Gables with Iron Bars on the windows, and the same with Red Road. No, it’s too hot to walk, so just use G’s Man on the Street feature of their mapping and look at them).
    I’ve told the TV news, ‘please don’t say this criminal is ‘behind bars’ because many, if not most of the houses in Miami, have bars on them! You might say there are more people ‘BEHIND BARS’ in Miami than are in jail!

  21. So I watched the whole thing and so should everyone else. The County Union fire guy came into the Meeting and told the Mayor to his face that he didn’t trust him as he had explained to him why the City is unsafe previously. Our POS mayor is a developer first. He went with what benefits him and his buddies and ignored the fire union guy who came into the city speak the truth for all of us. This article doesn’t reflect AT ALL what happened. Go County Union fire guy.

  22. Little Gables has a trailer park. It doesn’t meet the qualifications to be part of Coral Gables.

  23. The Mayor, whose in the construction biz, touted building fire stations and buying fire trucks as his commitment to us. Yet he only has 3 stations for the entire city with only 32 firefighters #unsafe

  24. Looks like I have two bad choices for my commission vote, Cabrera and Fors. Both seem very unprofessional and bad for constituents.

    McAlister’s display was disgraceful. I guess he was putting on a show for union members.

    I do not know why Little Gables should be annexed. No one has presented a compelling reason, the area is a dump and commentators here make strong points about improving the existing city before expanding.

  25. What a shameful act by the Gables Mayor and yellow journalism on this subject. I’m not willing to trade a lower standard of emergency response for higher taxes. Question for the commission: If a Gables fire catches fire two minutes before my house in Little Gables catches, will you let it burn or will you call the County?


  26. I believe those who state that Little Gables area is a mess should educate themselves. Little Gables is a gem. Beautiful homes that are selling for $2-$3 million dollars. My own home is approaching $1 million. The benefit for Coral Gables residents wil come from increased revenues (estimated at $227 million back in 2019) that will in turn provide better services and resources for CG. Think much needed improvements to Youth Center, Country Club, improved technology, more trees, you name it. It will also benefit policing the North Gables area as Chief Hudak has stated on many occasions. I will admit the trailer park is an exception, but this is the opportunity to annex it to make it better for all. Out of respect for Little Gables residents who want to be part of Coral Gables, please educate yourselves before throwing us out like garbage. We live and breathe Coral Gables and we deserve an opportunity to choose our own destiny.

  27. I live in North Gables, 2 blocks away from Little Gables. That little island that is part of unincorporated Miami-Dade should naturally be part of the Gables. I presume that eventually all the area will have to comply with the Coral Gables building Code. Let’s not be selfish.

  28. Sorry if I missed it, but can you maybe explain the compelling advantage me of annexing these regions for my family? Thanks!

  29. While very informative, these articles need EDITING! Please condense the stories. This one just goes on and on….the message/point gets lost.

  30. “Candidate” Ariel speak for yourself! Annexation of Little Gables is asinine. Where is the benefit for residents of Coral Gables? This verbose novella about Fors fails to persuade me.

  31. Thank god for Fors. Seems to be the only reasonable person on the commission. It takes 3 months to get a permit in the city but the Mayor want to go annex a whole new area full of problems. Lago is an expansionist. Get your house in order first.

  32. There is a reason why he is going to a runoff with Cabrera… He will lose that too. Happy to see him go away, once an for all.

  33. This is just more example rhetoric this man continues to do. He talks out of both sides of his mouth and continues to do what is in his best interest and not of his constituents. Shame on him and his colleagues for letting him get away with this. They should hold him accountable and not let him bully his way through things.

  34. Fors is a fool. His bad behavior is because he will not win the election for Dade County commissioner. We don’t want him in town. He should move his law practice from Coral Gables to Moscow.

  35. Who wants to annex Little Gables? It’s a little disaster. Disgusting and disorganized homes. It’s ghetto gables. Let’s annex Hialeah too. Bad bad idea.

  36. I support our police and fire, however, after watching this meeting life, I frankly don’t know what the county fire union was thinking. They openly antagonized the entire commission over an issue that seems to have broad support among little gables residents. If the very people you claim to be concerned about oppose you, it is clear you have a different motive. Fors was playing politics for his possible new constituency — he abandoned the gables residents long ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *