But make no mistake: The enormous, twice-folded mailer that arrived at voters’ homes Friday and Saturday with the 27 official-looking photographs of the city’s best landmarks and the list of initiatives and improvement projects is nothing but a slick and misleading campaign piece put out by a political action committee supporting the re-election of Mayor Jim Cason.
It’s another sneaky way in which Cason continues to exaggerate his achievements — which is really going to a lot of events with big, giant scissors — and how he continues to try to take credit for everything good that has happened to and in Coral Gables since the city was founded by George Merrick in 1925.
Cason campaign consultant Jorge de Cardenas tried to distance the mayor from the piece, which is almost as tall as a small child and was paid for by the Together for the City Beautiful political action committee that formed last November. As of the end of February, it had $10,000 in two $5,000 donations.
“We didn’t put it out,” de Cardenas told me when I first asked him about it. And while it might fool some of the people who get it — and you can bet that was the idea — he knows he can’t fool Ladra.
Did you produce it, Jorge? “Yes, at my advertising agency,” de Cardenas answered me as we left the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce debate. “But it’s not about the mayor or the election,” he stressed, pointing to the same 90-year anniversary logo that Cason uses in his other pieces. Is that even ethical? To use the city’s emblems or branding in your campaign pieces?
The enormous and expensive piece has two photos with Cason — one of him cutting a ribbon at a park opening and another of him allegedly talking to residents about sidewalk repair. It also hammers on the same points that Cason has been talking about to try to save his re-election campaign from inevitable doom: The low taxes, the higher reserves (built up by cutting services).
And then it lists 50 infrastructure improvement projects, with a map, and more than three dozen “citywide initiatives” — many of which predate Cason’s tenure as mayor. It’s par for the course for Jim Cason, who wants to take credit for everything good that happened before him while, at the same time, dismissing prior administrations as all “blah, blah, blah.”
It doesn’t technically say to vote for Coral Gables, but it talks about how good things are now.
“After reading the big Cason poster piece, I have come to the conclusion that it was Jim Cason who invented the internet,” joked a friend of Ladra’s who lives on Medina.
Remember, this guy has lived in Coral Gables for about seven years. But he wants you to believe that he made the City Beautiful. It actually speaks to how desperate he is and to the fact that he lacks any semblance of a real track record.
Cason is in a real dog fight with former Commissioner Ralph “Ralph Was Right” Cabrera. Ladra calls him that because he was right about former City Manager Pat Salerno, who had to resign in disgrace after being caught lying to the commission, and because he was right about the uptick in property crimes, which he warned about two years ago.
Cabrera has gained momentum in recent weeks, killing the sleepy Cason at both debates because he is just right on public safety and on planned development that adheres to Gables building code.
So, of course, Cason is going to pull all the stops because he knows he’s in trouble.
Ladra hopes voters don’t buy it. Jim Cason had nothing to do with the coral rock entrances to the city, by the way.