VIDEO: Moderators Ask Tough Questions In Final Candidate Debate

Many news outlets had described the candidate forums heading into the general election as “boring” and lacking anything noteworthy.

Wednesday night’s debate held by the Coral Gables Neighbors Association, Gables Good Government, Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables, Ponce Neighbors Association and Urban Core Community Coalition, Inc. was nothing of the sort.

For starters, candidates Jose Valdes-Fauli and Kirk Menendez, both skipped the debate. Although the event had been scheduled for a week and both candidates committed, neither made themselves available to answer resident questions. Valdes-Fauli notified moderators of his absence due to a family emergency prior to the start of the debate. Menendez agreed to the debate, but sent an email stating he would miss the debate due to a prior family commitment.

The information session format prevented the two remaining candidates, Rhonda Anderson and Javier Baños, from skirting any questions. The moderator, former prosecutor Leon Kellner, did not hold back on pressing the candidates for direct answers.

Nothing was left off the table, presenting the over 130 participants with an in-depth look at the candidates on their stance on the issues, as well as their backgrounds. They also presented the pressing questions they would have asked from Valdes-Fauli and Menendez.

Click here to watch Group II: Rhonda Anderson.

Click here to watch Group III: Javier Baños.

GROUP II: Rhonda Anderson

GROUP III: Javier Baños


4 thoughts on “VIDEO: Moderators Ask Tough Questions In Final Candidate Debate

  1. I am awed also by the leadership of Gables Insider, and its Publishers Ariel Fernandez and J C Padron. Gables Insider has shown leadership during this crisis, comparable to the slave revolt, depicted in the movie “Spartacus”, by Kirk Douglas.

    I will be running again for Mayor in 2023. I believe I have further insights into what happened, to share with the public, as well as our all working together to dig up the answers never given to our questions by the many heavily developer financed elected Commissioners — e g how much bigger houses, apartment buildings, and multi-family buildings are allowed by the new Zoning Code?

    Why did Vince Lago not insist that these questions, and questions about MANDATORY REMOTE PARKING on Miracle Mile, be answered, before agreeing the Zoning Code rewrite should go to a final vote? And why did he personally avoid addressing these questions during the, to me, sham public workshops that were held?

    Did Vince Lago inform voters in his E Newsletters of the 3 year long Zoning Code rewrite? I know he did not inform me personally, despite many opportunities to do so, in our many citizen-Commissioner meetings in his office and by Zoom.


    Jackson Rip Holmes

  2. This Candidate debate / forum shows the Best of Coral Gables!

    The Moderators, and Panelists, demonstrate the TRUE LEADERSHIP of Coral Gables.

    I am not sure how Coral Gables has been hijacked so overwhelmingly by developers, but we must, as citizens, fight with all our strength against the hostile takeover, and in my opinion ruination, of our City.

    One aspect appears to be developer coordination with Raul Valdes-Fauli to — without genuinely informing the public, e g apparently no mention in Coral Gables E News, the normal means of giving Notice to voters — undertake the 3 year Zoning Code rewrite.

    I found both Rhonda Anderson, and Javier Banos, to be very impressive.


    Jackson Rip Holmes

  3. We have watched that portion of the debate once again and contacted the moderator to confirm. Although the moderator states she is reading a message about candidate Menendez on the debate chat, we have confirmed a message was sent by candidate Menendez just before the debate began and have corrected the story. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  4. Although I have not decided on a candidate in the Banos-Menendez race, I remember clearly that the moderator stated that Menendez had sent her an email on her gmail account at 3:00 PM and that she had not looked at her email until prompted to do so during the event. To say that Menendez did not notify that he would not participate until half way through the event is not factual since 130 attendees witnessed otherwise.

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