Coral Gables is at a crossroads. This is one of our most important elections in a long time….and your vote matters! Residents have the opportunity to elect two representatives who will truly represent the residents.
The runoff election is Tuesday, April 27.
We have carefully reviewed the qualifications and platforms of the candidates running for the City Commission. Two clearly stand out, and here’s why:
Group II Endorsement
Rhonda Anderson and her husband have lived in the Gables for over 30 years. They raised their family here, and their children attended Gables schools. An established attorney in the City, she knows the laws and has been advocating for community improvements in the Gables for decades. Simply put, Rhonda is one of the most qualified candidates ever to run for commissioner, and she brings the ability to listen to residents with patience and respect and to respond to our concerns. Her long list of accomplishments and commendations is on her website.
Experience matters. Rhonda has successfully delivered: traffic calming, increased heritage tree canopy and parks, sensible development negotiations that decreased density and intensity of new buildings, increased public notice, and enhanced environmental sustainability measures. We would like to see these types of improvements continue throughout the City. Rhonda’s public service and accomplishments over the past few decades show her ongoing passion for improving the Gables and prove that she will bring the results we are looking for.
Respectfully, we believe that Rhonda’s opponent in Group II lacks the necessary experience and track record of results. Her opponent has not significantly engaged in the policy making process in the City, and, despite having a financial background, has not presented a clear plan to help resolve the City’s financial deficits or pension issues.
For her civic engagement and excellent comprehension of the issues affecting Coral Gables, high level of professionalism, responsible stance on development, and proven record of results that improve our quality of life, we recommend Rhonda Anderson.
Group III Endorsement
Javier Baños has had the most extensive public outreach in this race and has a deep understanding of the issues impacting Coral Gables residents. He has shown that he cares to engage, cares to listen. He is raising his family in Coral Gables because of the high quality of life that we enjoy. Javier has extensive experience on civil service and pension boards, and he was a leading force in helping the City of South Miami resolve pension issues. This type of experience and his CPA expertise are what we need in Coral Gables to resolve some of our similar budgetary and pension issues. Simply put, Javier has the right skillset for the job. His extensive background and accomplishments are listed on his website.
Furthermore, Javier understands the delicate balance between the need for responsible development and the preservation of our unique historic architecture and tree canopy. He has the knowledge to bring a prosperous future to Coral Gables. He will help the City reemerge successfully from the pandemic, resolve lingering unfunded pension liability, and improve city services without raising taxes by working to increase efficiency in core departments.
Respectfully, we believe that Javier’s opponent in Group III lacks the necessary experience and track record of results to meet the City’s complex challenges. We also have serious concerns about this opponent’s involvement in abetting developers to the detriment of our quality of life. He helped convince the City to allow 6-story buildings with commercial use in an area of single-family homes, thus permitting commercial intrusion into a residential neighborhood. His campaign ads state that he will “stand up to overdevelopment by voting against all projects seeking additional height beyond what the code allows,” but his own properties were recently up zoned as a result of his advocacy. Another ad states that he “has seen our local small shops and restaurants be pushed out by overdevelopment,” but the zoning change this opponent recently pursued resulted in several lots that he owns being up zoned to include commercial use that will compete with Miracle Mile. This is occurring at a time when Miracle Mile is suffering so much and does not need any more competition. We find this opponent’s conflict of interest (as demonstrated in the recent Crafts Section up zoning) deeply troubling, and we do not trust that he will work to do what is best for Coral Gables, The City Beautiful.
For his outstanding ability to engage with residents, responsible stance on development, fiscal knowledge and responsibility, and proven record of quality-of-life advocacy, we recommend Javier Baños.
Brett Gillis, Sheryl Gold and Sallye Jude
We are neighbors and residents like you, and our only motivation is to support the candidates that we think will improve Coral Gables, The City Beautiful.