The below photo was taken in 1993, at the moment of my first victory to serve as your Mayor of Coral Gables. It was a momentous, memorable and joyous occasion celebrated with family, and I look back on those years fondly. I am proud of many things in my life, including attaining a law degree from Harvard, starting a prosperous law firm, serving as the Chairman of two Coral Gables banks, participating on several charitable boards and serving as a loving grandfather to my 15 grandchildren. But undoubtedly one of my most rewarding accomplishments was this tenure at the helm of our municipal government.
As you know, after several years out of the political fray, I’ve once again thrown my hat in the ring and aspire to return to office this Tuesday. It’s an important election, involving two divergent visions for our city. In the spirit of candor, I regret that some heated rhetoric was introduced into this campaign, but I have tried to keep the focus on the issues that matter to you. My hope is that the voters are able to take a step back before Tuesday’s election, and calmly evaluate whose record of accomplishments and vision for Coral Gables best represent you.
To make your decision easier, let me recap the key issues of importance for our city that I will focus on as Mayor:
Safety – priority #1 is to protect our residents. Even one crime is too many, and I will be intensely focused on keeping crime rates low.
Fiscal Stability – under my tenure, we had a budget surplus and restored a AAA bond rating. I take my fiduciary responsibility seriously and will put us back on the path to stability.
Innovation – we need to address intractable issues like sea level rise and make Coral Gables a smart city by leveraging technology. I’ll shepherd a sense of urgency and innovation in City Hall.
Traffic - it's clear to anyone that lives here that traffic has grown increasingly frustrating. Let’s make investments in small things that can make a big difference, like smart traffic-light technology, expanding our trolley system and ensuring more efficient traffic police to quickly alleviate unexpected events such as accidents and downed-lights.
Smart Development – contrary to what my opponent claims, I am not now, nor have I ever been, “pro development.” I am for smart development that keeps our city moving forward responsibly within its current zoning laws, and strictly held to areas outside of residential. As many of you have heard me say, 5% of our geographic footprint in downtown pays for 45% of our taxes. Given the first-rate public services provided by the City, we have a remarkably-low tax base. I intend to keep it that way, which is why I simply can’t pander and make declarative statements about being anti-development…in spite of how politically expedient that may be.
Quality of Life – we will invest in green spaces, parks, public transportation, gallery nights and other things that make truly make Coral Gables “The City Beautiful.”
I don’t believe elections should be a popularity contest. The responsibility of running this incredible city is a serious one, and no one should take it lightly. At the end of the day, I believe my track record should matter. I was responsible for things such as the development of Merrick Park, renovation of our youth center, refurbishing the Miracle Theatre and nimbly managing our finances over four terms. That’s why I’m so proud to have the endorsements of The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, former Governor Jeb Bush, current Mayor Jim Cason, and Commissioners Vince Lago and Frank Quesada. It’s not a coincidence that all these people on the Commission support me as opposed to their own colleague. They have looked at my accomplishments and evaluated my vision, and I humbly urge you to as well.
Regardless of the outcome Tuesday evening, it’s been an incredible honor to spend time with you, re-learn the issues of importance in the city I love…and have a chance to give back once again. I thank you for that, and wish you the best.