The Future of Gables Insider

Javier Baños

Baños is the Editor of Gables Insider

In the enduring spirit of the City of Coral Gables and the pursuit of an informed and engaged citizenry, I write to you today with an open letter. In recent months, the landscape of our local governance has witnessed the diligent efforts of Commissioner Ariel Fernandez and his colleague, Commissioner Castro, as they assumed their roles as the newly elected representatives of our cherished city. Their commitment and effectiveness in reshaping the discourse within the Commission cannot be denied.

Yet, even with their valiant endeavors, there has been a palpable void. Gables Insider, this very publication, had long served as a beacon of transparency and a forum for the scrutiny of our government by the vigilant residents who hold dear the principles of a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” It was a platform that held our elected officials accountable and ensured that their actions faced the scrutiny of the public eye.

In recent times, certain decisions and actions by the Commission have unfolded with a notable absence of the public outcry that they might have once elicited. Part of this change can be attributed to the absence of this very newsletter. Recognizing this, various residents among us embarked on a movement to resurrect this clarion voice, albeit imperfectly, and assume the mission of Gables Insider.

Over the past month, after the encouragement of a small committee of dedicated residents and future contributors to this publication, I come to you with a shared purpose: to carry forward the legacy of this publication and, in the footsteps of Ariel Fernandez, continue to inform our dedicated readership. It is my aspiration to be equal to this task, and I pledge my utmost dedication to keeping you, the informed citizens of Coral Gables, apprised of the developments unfolding within the hallowed halls of City Hall and the broader reaches of our community.

Therefore, dear readers, it is with great resolve that I, Javier Banos, convey this message. I embark on this journey not as a mere writer but as steward of a longstanding tradition—a tradition of accountability, transparency, and civic engagement. In the true spirit of Gables Insider, we pledge to uphold these values as I  strive to keep you informed, enlightened, and empowered.

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44 thoughts on “The Future of Gables Insider

  1. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet viewers,
    its really really good paragraph on building up new web site.

  2. It’s great to see how many people appreciate the return of The Gables Insider. I am one of them.
    I would like to share this with your readers regarding the commission meeting tomorrow..and I appreciate the opportunity to post this:

    Coral Gables Residents:
    F.-12. 23-6340 Discussion regarding Annexation. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez)

    Please demand to vote on whether or not YOU get to decide whether or not YOU want Little Gables to become part of your lengthy list of growing problems in your city. You won’t be happy sharing your dwindling resources.
    Please speak up.
    Thank you kindly.

  3. Congratulations Mr. Banos. Glad to see you at the helm. The role of the “free press” is important to shine the light on government and politicians. Best of luck going forward. The Gables Insider has been sorely missed by many.

  4. Looking so forward to your contributions in keeping CG residents informed by continuing the Gables Insider! Your dedication is much appreciated, Mr. Banos!

  5. Looking so forward to your contributions in keeping CG residents informed by continuing the Gables Insider! Your dedication us much appreciated, Mr. Banos!

  6. I’m curious to see what this so called transparency is. It will probably be the same false transparency that Ariel wrote about. the facts show how there was no transparency in this blog but a propagandist agenda. Check out the last commission meeting where Ariel says Lago told him to write things and Lago responds yes because I paid you. So how transparent is that.

    I don’t understand how people still believe what they read in this blog. Transparency has become such a cliche and overused word and has come to mean the exact opposite.

  7. Hello Javier: thank you for taking over the CG Insider. It is a great way for our CG residents to know what is going on in the city. Please, be an independent thinker, and do not get carry over with extreme political obsessions, as Ariel did in the past. Ariel lost our trust being there to get petty gains ( eg free meals at Bachour ), and not being an independent objective voice. It is easy to trash and to blame developers. It is hard to be a thoughtful person.

  8. Sounds like you’re saying all the right things. I’m listening to what you’re not saying?
    Also, aren’t you related to corrupt Joe Carollo? And what about your residence, can’t make up your mind if you live in South Miami or Coral Gables?!?!

  9. This will not be a valid and credible news source. It is clear this will be an entirely partial and one-sided opinion forum, not an informative platform. I encourage residents to not allow a “news source” to tell them what to think. There is still a void… our City Beautiful lacks a trustworthy political news source. Remember what side Baños is on.

  10. Thank you! And thanks to Ariel for beginning the LONG awaited overhaul of the non-essential City employees’ pension plan! Mind you – the private sector NO LONGER offers pension plans. Employees have a 401k with matching employer contribution between 4-7%. That’s it!

  11. Thank you Javier, will you be covering all things within the different City departments?

    CGPD VoNC ’23

  12. I so appreciate your passion and determination to help keep Coral Gables residents informed.

  13. I read this every time I see it. It’s a little conservative for me. But I need to know what to argue for and against. Wish there was more Democracy and less autocracy. And 4 year term limits and no moving around or in and out to bypass them. Most of all, our retirees deserve a COLA every year. There was a period of MANY years back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s where there were none for decades.

  14. I read recently from ex author Ariel on his commissioners corner a back to previous administration behavior, Vice mayor Anderson firing from P & Z a pro citizen member while hiring pro developer Withers. This does not surprise me to hear in the least. I see 3-2 & 4-1 votes on development zoning matters upcoming & constant violation of our zoning laws by deep pocket developers. Come next election let’s vote out the remaining anti citizen commish group & we all know who they are.

  15. Will you be paid by Commissioner(s)to write what they choose – like Ariel was paid by Lago? Ariel and Lago discussed, at the July Commission meeting, that Ariel was paid to write content by Lago.

    Will you censor comments? Before the fallout between Lago and Ariel, facts that painted Lago (and others) in a negative light were not posted.

  16. I honestly don’t know the outcome, but was very disappointed to learn that Commissioner Fernandez, in July, stated he wanted the city to reduce the Extra Annual City Contribution to the employee pension fund by $2.3M annually. As I understand it, (I’m not a financial person) this is part of a 15 year recovery plan to bring the pension account back to being or close to being 100% funded. As told to us, City Staff, the Retirement Board and the City Commission have stayed the narrow course and have never waivered and we are at the half way mark. The Pension fund actuary depending on markets and economy has given updates each year on when we should be at or near our target, and that has ranged from the year 2029 to perhaps 2034 or as late as 2035. The course of recovery must not change. If the commission reduces the extra annual contribution the pension fund will suffer and take much longer to become healthy. Please note, the retirees have not received a COLA awarded by the city commission since 2008. There was one other in I think 2012, only received after years of litigation by the Retirees. The cost of living and past inflation have far eaten away at our income causing hardships, particularly to those that have retired before the DROP program was in place. It is beyond comprehension that COLAs have not been granted even in years the numbers were in place for a COLA to be awarded. That Commissioner Fernandez could blithely support taking away what is in place to fund our pension account is reprehensible. Thank you to Lt. Harry Pickering (Ret) for much of the wording and understanding of this issue. Our public service personnel served many years to the City of Coral Gables, and to then be disrespected in our retirement years is very sad. Please note, the City of Miami retirees are granted a COLA each and every year. Ours, from 2012, only came about after a long law suit, years later.

  17. This has been a great venue to truly keep the citizens of Coral Gables informed on what is TRULY happening in City Hall. Some present and previous elected, or not elected politicians have strived to keep us uninformed with lack of transparency. LISTEN to what the PEOPLE that elected you to your post want. Democracy is not about what you want, but what the PEOPLE want. That’s your job. The City of Coral Gables, its residents, citizens, and the vision of George Merrick deserves better than what we have witnessed in the past. Thank you, Javier, Baños, for taking the “bull” by the horn. I thank you! And, NO MORE! ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

  18. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Grateful that you will keep this wondeful beacon of light and transparency going! No doubt you will be an amazing steward!

  19. So happy to know that we will continue to be kept up to date on what’s really going on “Inside” City Hall. Thanks for stepping up.

  20. So glad you are doing this all important work for us the citizens of Coral Gables.
    I and my family stand behind you 100%.

  21. Thank you for stepping up and assuming this role. It is vital the residents of our city. Looking forward to future mailings. .

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