Mena Responds To Anderson’s Memo By Mansplaining

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
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In her first official meeting as a City Commissioner, Commissioner Rhonda Anderson presented a memo to colleagues addressing issues she explained had been brought to her attention by residents throughout her Commission campaign.

Anderson, who won the election by the largest vote percentage of any of her colleagues (72.99%) and was second in total votes only to Mayor Vince Lago (Lago – 6,006 votes, Anderson – 5,251 votes, Commissioner Kirk Menendez – 3,758 votes, Commissioner Jorge L. Fors, Jr. 3,091 votes and Commissioner Michael Mena 2,794 votes), hit the ground running this week with two items on the agenda.

Anderson explained that her memo was created with the intention of beginning a dialogue to address resident concerns on the issues it contained. She mentioned she wanted to allow for resident input on the issues and wished for it to be included as part of Mayor Vince Lago’s 100 days of listening tour.

When prompted for comments, Commissioner Mena offered to begin. His starting words were clear signs of his attitude towards Anderson: “Look, let me tell you…”

Mena proceeded to mansplain the issues to Anderson. Mansplaining is defined as “the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.”

Mena’s main issues revolved around Anderson’s comments on as of right development projects: ” Allow ‘as of right’ commercial and mixed-use projects without review by the Planning and Zoning Board and without notice to residents, business owners and property owners located within 1,500 feet of a proposed project. Notice and comments from all
stakeholders should be required because it invariably results in better projects,” reads Anderson’s memo.

“As of right, is somewhat…(laughs)…its difficult to envision how every as of right project has to go through this process. I have an issue with number 1. Its not proper to scrutinize people for doing things…More red tape and more bureaucracy (for developers). We can’t be a city where it is that difficult for property owners to do things,” said Mena.

Anderson replied, “This is what residents want.”

Mena, who is up for re-election in two years, condescendingly replied, “none of us has a finger on what all residents want.”

Anderson just completed a campaign where she knocked on the doors of and spoke with over 5,000 residents.

“Things get by planning and zoning too. If you recall I asked you before, if they got through,” said Mena referring to the meeting where the Commission took up Mena’s proposal to upzone Miracle Mile. During that meeting, Mena tried to publicly shame then candidate Anderson for her work on the Planning and Zoning Board.

“If we want property owners to have to do things a certain way as of right, then we should do something…change the code,” said Mena. “It makes it difficult to do business in this city…you are sort of eliminating as of right,” he added.

Mena proceeded to explain the form of government to Anderson, “this is not a populist form of government. We are elected to represent the residents.”

Residents at the meetings on the upzoning of Miracle Mile and the Crafts Section had asked the Commission to table the zoning changes until after the election. Mena replied with the proposed zoning changes that were adopted at the final Commission meeting of the last Commission, and upzoned both the Mile and the Crafts Section.

He proceeded to mock residents saying we should tell developers, “you need to listen to what residents want to say, because we have very savvy residents.”

Anderson went on to explain that the “as of right” changes she proposes would not apply to single family properties. Mena interjected, “why isn’t it applying to single family?” Explaining that it should apply equally to all.

In the end, following Mayor Vince Lago’s recommendation, the memo will be formally discussed at a sunshine meeting, where members of the Commission will be able to openly discuss Anderson’s proposals, and take resident input. The date of the sunshine meeting will be provided soon.

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24 thoughts on “Mena Responds To Anderson’s Memo By Mansplaining

  1. Finally a local publication that is providing unvarnished news to Gables Residents.
    These types of politicians (Mena) were able to get elected because there has been no voice of reason in Coral Gables since the Gables Gazette closed.
    The online publication, Political Cortadito, is great but does not always cover everything going on in the Gables.
    Keep up the good work of keeping us informed.

  2. What a biased article! Think I will unsubscribe from Gables Insider it no longer represents any of my views. In my very limited dealings with Commissioner Mena he has always behaved like the gentleman that he is. There are 3 adults in our household and none of us were ever contacted by Ms Anderson, while I have nothing against her, in fact I voted for her, she certainly does not represent my views on this subject.

  3. This article once again shines a bright spotlight on what corrupt politicians with arrogant , self-righteous attitudes, promote for their self interest. I heard Mena before talk down to both votes and Anderson in previous meetings. In addition, the massive conflict of interest vote he just cast for the property on Lejeune Road clearly shows he cares not one bit about Coral Gables but only about his own pockets. There is no way in heck he should be allowed one more minute in office after his term is expired, and I for one will absolutely not vote for him. Shameless is really the prefect word for this type of public servant.

  4. I dont approve of Mena 1 bit, based on a street light that had been out 3 yrs since the last hurricane he did not resolve but instead i personally had to with the State of Florida DOT director if it was his house instead im sure would have been resolved quickly & the home foreclosure firm he worked for prior to MSP Recovery, however i do agree with him as to “right” why make it so difficult for a developer or homeowner to get a project, permit or inspection approved? if citizens dont want development the business will go elsewhere & our property taxes will increase. Some here are stuck in the 1920’s and refuse change. Any building permit application should be approved the same day period it is a “right”. I know Broward County building had/has a practice of same day permitting from past personal experience.

  5. I find it ludicrous that a $5 million insider deal can be approved in a flash, and a homeowner has to wait two years to get a permit to build a house. And has to pay an “expediter” $35K to get the permit because the CG staff cannot do their jobs. I know city employees who refuse to get a permit. I asked one person why she would not get permits for a total kitchen renovation and she replied- “are you kidding? Add 6-8 months to the project and 30% to the cost? No way.” We need overhauls in the way CG does business on many levels. Thank goodness we have Lago and Anderson, but it is still 2 to 3.

  6. I wonder how many of the people commenting on this article watched the Commission Meeting. I realize not everyone is available to watch, and/or participate during the business day, but the video is available in the City’s page. I would like to suggest that anyone who is able to do so should watch it, and perhaps it will be clear why this article is not an “opinion.”

    As to Commission Anderson, she really handled the flagrant “attacks” very well. She knew very well what we, the voters, would like to happen in our City Beautiful. No more backroom deals to make the developers happy and richer at the expense of our residents. No more waivers, exceptions, giveaways, bonuses! People planning to buy any property in the Gables should do their due diligence so they do not have to ask for anything that is not as of right.
    As I stated yesterday, the elected must remember that we, the people, put them in and can take them out!

  7. Mena’s arrogance is overwhelming! He forgets that his is an elected position. Hopefully, the residents whom he disdains so much will vote him out. I certainly will vote against him.

  8. hideous article. perhaps a little more OBJECTIVITY would be in order from a “reporter”???

  9. It seems to me that Gables Insider has become a one sided OPINION “newsletter”. I used to enjoy reading it, being that it used to not be so biased. I will unsubscribe, seeing that it now represents the elected few!

  10. I can only say, wow. This opinion piece is truly supportive of Ms. Anderson, and attempts to paint Mr. Mena in a terrible light. I have, in the past, appreciated the information provided by this newsletter, but this article is weak in providing value.

    You do a much better job of describing your tool of attack by Mansplaining to your readers what the term means, than you do of describing the Zoning issue at hand.

    As far as your bash of Mena saying that Anderson spoke to as many as 5000 residents, so she can speak for ALL residents- she never spoke to any of the three adults in my household. Did she only speak to residents in certain areas or ages? So, if she only spoke to 5-10% of our community, then she clearly cannot claim to know what ALL residents want.

    It may be the case that she is right and Mena is wrong, but your Opinion here is absolutely biased and painful to read.

  11. This is a poorly written article. Mansplaining is not a real word and an opinion. As a woman I can handle myself and I’m ok with men-women speaking to me and being blunt. Are women so weak that they have to be delicately spoken to!?!?!. Good for Anderson for taking a lead, that’s what leaders do. That should be the focus of the article, not making Anderson look weak. Who wrote this???

  12. Mena represents what is wrong with the majority of the elected officials in Coral Gables. It is shocking to me that residents cast votes only to elect people that have no interest in maintaining the quality of residential life in Coral Gables. Mena is just another bully with an agenda that ignores the wishes of the residents.

  13. On another note, why is it every time it’s a man speaking to a woman it’s “Mansplaining”. I believe that’s condescending to women. Was he supposed to treat her differently because she is a woman? If she were a man would you have said anything differently. Maybe your article is sexist. I believe he treated her as an equal, as he should.

  14. I think Mena was absolutely correct. If you build as of right, why should they HAVE to get approvals? If the residents want to change this, put it to a vote and let them speak. She got 5,000 votes. Big deal, how many residents are there in CG, 100k+. 5,000 people do not speak for all the residents. I for one would not like to have to go to my neighbors and “get permission” to build something that the law says I have the right to build. Too many Karen’s these days.

  15. I disagree with your primes of mansplaining. You do a great deserves to each Commissioner’s positions that you distract the reader from their arguments . BTW you convey that Commissioner Anderson is not capable of doing her job. Really ?! Don’t do her any favors . She is more than capable to take care of herself.

  16. Does he really not know that short for “it is” has an apostrophe, as in “it’s”. Another barely literate politician desperately trying to keep himself fed? Desperate people do desperate things. Modern day criminals carry briefcases not guns. Developers are foaming at the mouth in my neighborhood. No wonder Anderson got the popular vote! May she manage to keep her integrity high!

  17. Mr. Mena should do well to remember that he was elected not anointed. He shouldn’t let his ego cloud reality. The voters were clear in this round of elections that we want a change in direction. By taking this attitude he harms himself come next election.

  18. If you do not know what the residents want you are not doing your job of asking or you are deaf. My spouse was one of the 5,000 Ms. Anderson with whom Ms.Anderson spoke with.
    Stop ignoring the residents.

  19. And the heir apparent to Raul Valdes-Fauli’s lack of decorum and collegiality has reared his head.

  20. Mena HAS to be the next to go. His condescending attitude, his mansplaining style is not what we want in Coral Gables. He is part of the horrible Valdes-Fauli / Keon attitude group that we do not want or need in Coral Gables. It is time to change the atmosphere and make the City for the people. Not for arrogant people like Mena and our past administration. AND NO MORE CONSTRUCTION or construction without the residents approval. Open your eyes and see how we spoke at the last election. You work for us !!!

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