MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD
The names are familiar. They want to do the same thing: Assure Coral Gables has a secure and prosperous future. And they both agree that the Miracle Mile streetscape project has been a disaster.
That’s where mayoral opponents Jeannett Slesnick and Raúl Valdés-Fauli part ways.
Slesnick, 69 and a real-estate broker elected to the commission in 2011, is worried about development — and overdevelopment. She says she voted against the controversial Paseo project on South Dixie Highway, now delayed by litigation, and several others that she describes as massive. The Herald Editorial Board supported the Paseo mixed-use project.
Valdés-Fauli, 73, was Gables mayor from 1993-2001. When he left office — defeated by Slesnick’s husband, Don — Coral Gables was on solid ground fiscally. He can take credit for that. He is proud of projects under his tenure, including Merrick Park and the youth center, and says that responsible development will help enhance the Gables’ future.
He’s on the right track when he envisions providing more affordable housing to continue to attract corporations, saying their staffers should be able to live near the job, and to keep empty nesters who are downsizing. The city has to “renew” its population, he says. Indeed, it’s a model other local cities are following to bring new life — and revenue.
Coral Gables is, to residents’ despair, a pass-through community. Drivers use its residential streets to get from here to there to avoid traffic jams. Valdés-Fauli says lower speed limits will help. Slesnick says nothing will help if the speed limits aren’t enforced. Score one for her.
The tone of the campaign is getting ugly. And in their meeting with the Editorial Board, Slesnick denied allegations of being anti-Cuban lodged by her opponent. For all his accomplishment on behalf of the city, Valdés-Fauli appeared too entitled for our taste. Still, we give him the edge over his one-term opponent because of his past leadership and his proven fiscal dexterity. We suggest, however, that he develop a more-human touch. People want to be heard.
For Coral Gables mayor, the Herald recommends RAÚL VALDÉS-FAULI.
To see the article in the Miami Herald, click here.