Coral Gables Magazine Defends Mena By Attacking Other Media

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]

In its latest edition, Coral Gables Magazine published an article defending Vice Mayor Michael Mena, by attacking Gables Insider and Community Newspapers for reporting the facts on what is happening at City Hall. It refers to reporting on the 350 Greco Avenue deal and the Up-zoning of Miracle Mile, as “misinformation.”

Gables Insider and Community Newspapers are the only two publications that are actively bringing you up-to-date information about our City Beautiful. The members of the Miller family have dedicated their lives to our South Florida community for over 50 years. Coral Gables Magazine was founded in 2018.

Coral Gables Magazine came to Mena’s defense in a similar fashion, when his up-zoning of Miracle Mile measure passed with a 4-1 vote by the Commission, with then Vice Mayor Vince Lago being the only vote against the measure.

Coral Gables Magazine has stated we are misinforming you, but the facts never lie.

Opposing Dissent

Gables Insider has prided itself, since our founding in June of 2019, on being a platform for you to share your thoughts and ideas freely. A place for all to engage in a dialogue to help improve our City. It is not our place to give commentary to your opinions, nor to challenge your integrity for having those opinions.

We have approved almost every comment on our stories, only excluding a handful that have been personal insults or attacks of other residents. We have also published every opinion piece that we have received.

However, the same cannot be said of Coral Gables Magazine. Their publication publicly shamed the President of the George Washington Carver Elementary School PTA for her letter voicing her opinion against the Wawa gas station being railroaded through an extra-official process at City Hall, across the street from her child’s school.

In this month’s article, Coral Gables Magazine attempted to shame former federal prosecutor, Leon Kellner, who indicted former Panamanian despot, Manuel Noriega, for his opinion piece calling for Mena and City Attorney Miriam Ramos’ resignation, published by both Gables Insider and Community Newspapers.

Trade With Cuba

Attempts to squash dissent is something many in our community are very familiar with, as many families in this community fled repressive regimes including the socialist regime in Cuba.

JP Faber, who is editor and part owner of Coral Gables Magazine, states on his Linked-In page that he is the editor of Cuba Trade Magazine and former editor of China Trade Magazine. These publications are described as: “Devoted to covering emerging trade and investment between international corporations and Cuba, with a special focus on U.S. companies” and “the first monthly periodical focusing on U.S. businesses operating in mainland China,” respectively.

Cuba Trade Magazine, like Coral Gables Magazine does today, has featured interviews with government leaders. One such example states the Cuban government’s top priority is transportation in an interview conducted with the Cuban regime’s Vice Minister of Transportation, Eduardo Rodriguez Davila. (Click here to see the article).

As the organization, Reporters Without Borders, explains, there is no free press in Cuba or China. Only members of the media who are sympathetic to the regime are allowed access to government leaders.

Faber co-authored a white paper on opportunities for U.S. Agriculture in Cuba. Faber is quoted in Cision PR Newswire as saying, “‘We believe this paper will serve as an important reference tool that policymakers can use to make the case for sensible Cuba trade policy.’ said J.P. Faber, editor-in-chief of Cuba Trade Magazine. ‘The benefits of trade have seldom been as clearly illustrated.'”

Cuba Trade Magazine‘s website is no longer operational, but here is a link to their Twitter account.

City Subsidizes Coral Gables Magazine

The City of Coral Gables has been partly subsidizing Coral Gables Magazine‘s work, with a monthly $1,500 in tax payer dollars going for “full page” ads in the publication, including a $1,500 check made for this most recent June publication.

However, a search of the entire digital version of their 118-page publication does not show a single ad for the City of Coral Gables. Gables Insider has secured a copy of the ad, and was unable to find it in the digital version. You will, however, find ads for several new development projects, the one-page article defending Mena while attacking members of the media, and an article on why the United States should open business relations with Cuba.

Gables Insider has learned that over the course of the relationship, Coral Gables Magazine has had a monthly meeting with City staff, in order to “coordinate” for upcoming editions. In March, the calendar of the City’s Communications Director, Martha Pantin, describes the entry as “Coral Gables Magazine ideas meeting for April issue.”

Gables Insider reached out to our Community Newspapers and found that, like Gables Insider, they are not invited to monthly meetings with the City. In fact, over the course of the last two years, most publications, including the Miami Herald have voiced their concerns over lack of information being shared by the City of Coral Gables.

Financially, the City only buys a fraction of the ad space on Community Newspapers and has only purchased one ad on Gables Insider, even though our publications run more frequently and have a broader reach.

Even though no ad was run in this publication, and this article is one page in length, Pantin has vehemently denied the City had any involvement with this article.

UPDATE: As of June 8th at 9:00AM, the ad now shows on the digital copy and was included in the print version of the magazine.

Getting The Facts Wrong

Coral Gables Magazine‘s article states that, “The hypocrisy of these publications is what really needs to be uncovered. Why didn’t Gables Insider note that the other city commissioners, who also voted for this deal, had all been endorsed by former Commissioner Quesada.” I guess we should assume Coral Gables Magazine’s research department did not read the article in its entirety, as our article states, “Quesada has remained active in Coral Gables politics since leaving office. He has raised funds, endorsed and/or campaigned for all current members of the City Commission.”

The article continues on a lengthy diatribe about Gables Insider “going out of its way to portray the commission as rabidly pro-development” in particular when it comes to the Miracle Mile up-zoning. Something, it implies we made up for the benefit of candidates in this past election. Let’s be clear, the first use of the term up-zoning was made by then Vice Mayor Lago who voted against the Mena up-zoning measure.

They also reference a parent company for Gables Insider, which has no affiliation with the publication, other than sharing the same owner.

Public Shaming Of The Media

The article ends by saying that “Gables Insider and Community Newspaper should be ashamed.”

Gables Insider may be the youngest publication in Coral Gables, but we do reach nearly 30,000 subscribers twice a week. We pride ourselves in bringing you the news and information you may not otherwise be receiving.

Gables Insider stands by its content and wants to make it clear, we will not be bullied by those working to silence the free media.

Community Newspapers‘ Grant Miller created a video with his publication’s official response.


18 thoughts on “Coral Gables Magazine Defends Mena By Attacking Other Media

  1. Well, Nick Jones, Ed, Miguel, or whatever your real name is, continue attacking the only media source who is able to see through the shenanigans of the so called magazine. Perhaps the editor should learn what every journalist knows. Any “opinion” that comes from the actual publication is an editorial, not an opinion. Opinions are usually signed and may or may not express the views of the publication. No one should be surprised of the contents of that piece, if in doubt, please use the public records request option to ask for the communications between the magazine and some of the City staff. Also, that piece could have been a way to keep the $1500 a month contract with the City. Just saying!
    As usual, I do not hide behind made up names!

  2. Got my issue of Coral Gables Magazine yesterday, and I read the Mena defense. Then tried to use it as toilet paper, but found it was previously used and full of IT !!!!!

  3. Thank you for keeping us informed with the facts. We need your continued efforts to bring us the truth without the glittering generalities. Most residents can see right through the article in the Coral Gables Magazine. We are tired of “fake” news and by now can smell it a mile away. We are also tired of politicians exploiting their positions to benefit their financial position. I understand that Mena is not a party of interest in this transaction but he is too close to the fire, that in itself makes it unsettling.

  4. I wish the Coral Gables Gazette would come back. That paper always did a great job exposing city malfeasance when Don Slesnick was mayor.

  5. Ariel, great job on your factual reporting keep it going and dont be discouraged, you are supported by a majority of CG residents.

  6. Might I suggest that you just ignore Coral Gables Magazine? I had never heard of it until reading this articles. They clearly don’t have much reach.

  7. Oh please, save us the melodrama. You’re just as biased as they are. And to then dig up dirt – that would play well to your fans – on the one making the accusations is just ridiculous. Stick to the facts or opinions but why do you attack the messenger? Maybe it’s so people don’t give merit to the claims he makes about you.

  8. Thank you, Gables Insider, for defending Coral Gables, and defending Miracle Mile.

    Without you, no one would have known in any timely manner, about the Zoning Code rewrite.

  9. Ariel:

    Kudos to you for exposing this. It is appalling and ironic to read that a private media outlet is being subsidized by our tax dollars. That’s not free media but rather Pravda. Continue the good fight and bring light to a city hall that cloaks itself in being inaccessible to the media. It seemingly answers to a small powerful cabal, whether property developers and former politicians, while eschewing the general public and their desires.

  10. The Coral Gables Neighbors Association relies on the Gables Insider for FACTUAL reporting of the news most important to residents and does so with its articles on the sale of 350 Greco. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the inappropriate actions that have occurred by city staff, the commission and the ex-commissioners who still think they run the dais over this sale. But, the Gables Insider diligently uncovered FACTS and reported them as such.

    I am the president of the CGNA but my background is journalism. I have led news departments for the broadcast and cable television networks (CBS, ABC, FOX) stations around the country in my 38 year journalism career and was responsible for all the editorial content that went on the air to millions of viewers. I think I am qualified to comment and lend support for the Gables Insider’s journalistic integrity.

    I cannot say the same for the Coral Gables Magazine which appears to be nothing but a glossy kitchen table publication catering to developers and the city’s propaganda rants.

    I rarely disclose my background or opine like this but I felt it necessary to ensure residents know who is who and what their agenda is. Be careful what you read!

  11. Thank you for your excellent reporting. We need honest micro publishers like you to survive in order to have better communities. Your work is appreciated. Good impartial unbiased reporting is a pillar of our democracy. It is shameful to see this piece on the Coral Gables Magazine. Don’t be discouraged and keep those dukes up.

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