Opinion: Representatives Who Will Truly Represent The Residents

Dear Neighbors,

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. 


10 thoughts on “Opinion: Representatives Who Will Truly Represent The Residents

  1. Why are there so many attorneys interested in these low paying positions? Think about it. With Menendez you know what your getting, Baños on the other hand campaigns in the anti development group to get votes but it remains to be seen what his true colors are if elected. The other group I believe both persons are qualified. IMO there are already 3 pro development persons on the Commission. I have not heard 1 mention of the expensive garbage service we have & attempts to improve it.

  2. I am so confused. On the one hand, Banos seems like the better candidate that does not appear to have a conflict of interest with regards to development. But, how does he justify all the negative ads and lies yes lies against Bucelo, Arriola and even Menendez. It moves me to question his intentions if he gains a seat on the Commission. Negative campaigning is a complete turn off and says much about the candidate’s character. He also has not provided a credible answer to the origins of the $40,000 that turned up in his campaign. Does he owe Carollo or Sarnoff a payoff of sorts? I wish there were better candidates running for this seat.

  3. Rhonda Anderson for Group II! She’s a proven leader that cares. Someone with her integrity is what we need in Coral Gables.

    Nobody for Group III. Baños is a dog in bed with developers and a quintessential slob. Menendez is just a narcissistic idiot.

  4. I am sorry, Ana, that you feel this way. Obviously you do not know the three people that you seem to accuse of writing the letter for pay. Last time I checked every person is entitled to his/her opinion. The three of them are very well known in this community and I find it very offensive for you to call their letter a “paid advertisement.” Unlike you, Brett, Sheryl and Sallye did not hide behind their first names. They proudly signed their full names as I always do. I believe that when you are telling the truth there is no need to hide.
    As to Javier’s relationship with the developers, you are either very naive or completely misinformed. Or perhaps you drank the Steve Marin Kool Aid. It is public record that Menendez sold out his neighborhood to the developers, and has been endorsed by past and present elected officials that have been very generous to the developers. A vote for him will, in fact, neutralize everything that Lago has been trying to do to curb the overdevelopment. You may not be aware that three votes is a majority in Coral Gables. Two sitting commissioners, that share the same political consultant with Menendez, will then have a pro development majority and our city will be for sale.

  5. This opinion posted by Brett Gillis, Sheryl Gold and Sallye Jude seems like a paid advertisement. Gables Insider, as far as I know does not endorse candidates, which this article makes it seem, or am I mistaken. By voting for Banos you will be voting for a corrupt commissioner, who will not look out for our City Beautiful. I have been a Gables resident ALL my life, and am disgusted by the previous administrations lack of regard for the residents who voted them in. By voting Banos, you will not be helping Lagos in keeping our city beautiful, but more of the same cowering to developers who line their pockets with our tax dollars. PLEASE VOTE KIRK!

  6. Please remember that the election of the Commissioners is for 4 years therefore we must vote for the best candidates NOW and not risk the mistake of being stuck for 4 years with the wrong candidates that are pro-developers.
    Consequently please vote FOR BAÑOS AND FOR ANDERSON!!!!

  7. Banos opponent is being endorsed by all the former elected officials who approved the large developments we see today. SUCH A TURN OFF! Sorry Kirk seems like you’ll owe your election to the wrong people and we cant afford that.

  8. I hope these two, along with Mayor Lago will also address another problem CG has- the permit process. It is mired in bureaucracy and causes great hardship and expense to anyone building or renovating a home. There is one builder in my area who “knows all the right people” at the city , and he is the only one who can get permits. So he gets all the contracts. But it smacks of favoritism or worse. We all pay the huge taxes- why can’t ordinary citizens get a permit without paying $35,000 to “expediters”? The system is grossly unfair and expensive. I notice the concrete monsters go up very quickly. Much faster than you can get a permit to renovate your kitchen.

  9. Good information. I will certainly vote for the two you recommend. I believe Javier Banos has the background to tackle the most important issue our city faces- the runaway pension deficits. Now with Lago as mayor and the two you recommend, we may finally have a team with the guts and brains to address it. And the over development will also be well addressed after the total giveaways by Keon and Vaules-Fauli. Hope it is not too late on either of these issues.

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