Coral Gables mayor’s PAC pays for slick, misleading piece

Coral Gables mayor’s PAC pays for slick, misleading piece
  • Sumo

It looks like a city-produced poster to celebrate the 90-year anniversary gables mailerof Coral Gables. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the intent.

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.

Read related story: Coral Gables Chamber debate hardly worth the effort

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 formeGables mailerd 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 cason mailercity’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 gables mailerimprovement 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.

Read related story: Jim Cason runs again ’cause nobody else will

“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. CasonCabLadra 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.

29 Responses to "Coral Gables mayor’s PAC pays for slick, misleading piece"

  1. Truth Matters   April 6, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Ladra. Cabrera will not win this election. Period.

  2. Nice!   April 6, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Carson has a lot of money left!

  3. If truth matters   April 6, 2015 at 8:47 am

    If Cabrera “won’t win” this election, Coral Gables gets four years with a Mayor who attended 5,100 events in four years and has revved up development without changing any traffic patterns. Mayor Cason comes across as an amiable fellow who pleases his constituents with yeses, but doesn’t really follow through.

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  5. CG Old-Timer   April 6, 2015 at 11:04 am

    It’s sad when Coral Gables residents get “snookered” by the smoke and mirrors of Cason’s campaign. Cover-ups and false statements misleading the public originating from Cason should not be rewarded at the polls on April 14.

  6. Diane V   April 6, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I implore residents to come out and vote wisely on Tuesday, 4.14.15! We must uphold, among other things, the zoning/building height limits in our current zoning code and vote for candidates who believe in that.

    Granting variances (as Cason/Quesada have every intention of doing despite public opinion to the contrary) are inimical to the basic residential, commercial and historical character of our City.

    Please do not let this trespasser of 6 years destroy the fabric of 90 years.

    PS I hear he wants the “Capone Suite” at the Biltmore renamed the “Cason Suite” and Developers stay for free~

  7. typicaltee   April 6, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Just his “CITY” girl that is paid by the City, has a City job, City benefits and does this work on City time with City equipment. Election violations that no-one in the City seems to pay attention to nor care about. Do the residents of the City really want a continuation of this under-handed, Salerno tainted corruption? Salerno tainted everything he touched and his fingerprints are still all over the City. Funny how he has applied for managerial jobs all over the state since being ousted by the City and still no municipality has hired him. His cantankerous, self serving, corrupt reputation has preceded him. But in his wake as he left the City, his understudies (Cason, Elsa from HR, Cindy Birdsell, Gomez and a few other key placed loyalists) have continued to do to the City what he started. CLEAN THE FRIGGIN’ HOUSE – OUST ALL UPPER ADMN. AND ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT WERE NOTHING BUT HIS LAP PUPPIES……………………..

  8. JustTheFacts   April 6, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Let’s go beyond the empty smiles and the passive styles; let’s vote for candidates who are intelligent, engaged, and will ask the hard questions – Cabrera, Lopez, and Murado.

  9. LC   April 7, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve noticed that you’re covering the mayor’s race pretty closely. Have you mentioned to your readers that you’re helping Cabrera, or are you pretending to be objective?

    • Ladra   April 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Yes, LC, I’ve mentioned it over and over again. I sound like a broken record. But there is one tiny thing wrong with your question. I never pretend to be objective.

      I wasn’t impartial in 2013 when I also supported Ralph for the seat. It wasn’t because I was working with him then — because I wasn’t — and I’m not supporting him this year because I am working with him now.

      In fact, I am ONLY working with him because I support him ANYWAY. Because he is the best choice for mayor.

      Let’s take the county mayor’s race, as an example of my point. I have been a critic of Carlos Gimenez’s for months… maybe years. I think he needs to be replaced. By almost anybody. I like Raquel Regalado and her candidacy is exciting to me. I may question some of her tactics and/or strategy (that last video was a history lesson!). But I will likely support her (what choice do I have?) and continue to raise the legitimate questions about our mayor’s special interests and “friends and family plan” as the race gets into gear. If at some point, Regalado wants to hire me to help her with HER communication (not mine), I will JUMP AT THE CHANCE. Who better than me?

      Okay? Any questions?

      Love, Ladra

  10. Michael Steffens   April 8, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Seems like déjà vu all over again. An out-of-touch, aloof Mayor in the pockets of big developers, behind the scenes politicos (and the disgraced former City Manager) in a rush to try to shove an out of scale project down the throats of the citizens of Coral Gables. Didn’t this already happen about 15 years ago. We can only hope the results for the Mayor are the same.

  11. I know you   April 8, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Elaine, if ethics is your basic principle you need to disclose at the beginning that you are paid $1,500 a month to aid Cabrera’s campaign
    How did Cabrera sit for 12 years and let the “800 Lb” gorilla in the room, which is pensions, as he called it go from virtually zero a zero deficit budget item to over $240 Million ?
    Who the hell wrote a mailer that said that 4 burglaries a day when the math said 0.87 a day using their own numbers?
    And, where do you get the notion that Cabrera wont lose by a minimum of 20 points? All the numbers I have seen are closer to 35-40 points drubbing.
    And, not a single former elected official endorsed Cabrera
    Anyhow, you cannot change thru biased (read paid) journalism a clear outcome next week.
    Hope the checks dont’ bounce

    I know You

    • Ladra   April 8, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      You don’t know me. Not at all.

      There is no conflict of interest. No ethical breach. I have ALWAYS supported Ralph Cabrera for mayor — regardless of his retainer, which is for services OUTSIDE this blog space.

      Let me answer your questions one at a time. Because facts are stubborn things, and you don’t have them all.

      1) Cabrera did NOT sit for 12 years and do nothing on pensions. First off, he switched to the state retirement system instead of the city pension not just because it is a defined contribution system, rather than a defined benefit, but also so that people would not say he was protecting his own pension. Where is Cason’s pension? I bet it’s with the city. In 2006, Ralph was instrumental in REMOVING from the formula some overtime multipliers, which had been inflating pension calculations. Finally, all three unions were non-contributing when he was first elected in 2001. By 2009, all three unions were contributing to their pensions.

      2) The mailer is talking about ALL burglaries, not just residential. Those include businesses, autos, garage and other “utility buildings” and yards, which, apparently, the mayor ignores because (a) he doesn’t think they are as important or (b) it’s politically convenient. Guess which one I pick? And remember, Cason didn’t think the palm trees on Ponce de Leon Boulevard were a problem, either. Until he was proven wrong.

      3) I get the notion that Cabrera will win this time from the people we talk to daily, the tracking on his phone banks, the response we get to his email blasts. This is a horse race, no matter what bull the other side is feeding you. You say you have seen the numbers… does that make you a campaign operative? Shouldn’t you disclose THAT?

      4) Former Commissioner Maria Anderson and former Mayor Don Slesnick have endorsed Cabrera. We just didn’t feel the need to put that on a mailer. It is not the reason that he should be elected. We have many other reasons. As for Cason, all he has is the old guard endorsements. That’s not something to be proud of.

      Anyhow, I am not trying to change the outcome next week through this blog. I am trying to impact the election results by getting as many people as possible informed on the facts and the reality of this race through the blog, through his website, through his social media and through his messaging.

      Also, none of the checks have bounced.

      And, finally, I am doing everything I do publicly and without hiding my identity? Why are you hiding yours?

      Love, Ladra

  12. I know you more!   April 8, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I know you is not other than the same guy that has more meetings with the Mayor than crime victims. Gordo! Go and explain all the ethic violations that you and your guy are doing in this campaign. That shows exactly the kind of people Cason is.

  13. WhistleBlower   April 9, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I was walking through the City and I over heard that Mayor Cason has fixed the private drive ways of various residents using City funds and Public Works employees in ex-change for votes.
    Ladra would you follow up on this? I am sure that if this is true, we can get some record of this, even some Public Work employees can point at the houses which drive ways were fixed.

    • Ladra   April 9, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Got the photo and the address. Going to check out the tip tomorrow. But thanks for being vigilant.

      And stay tuned.

      Love, Ladra

  14. I know you   April 12, 2015 at 11:25 am

    4) Former Commissioner Maria Anderson and former Mayor Don Slesnick have endorsed Cabrera. We just didn’t feel the need to put that on a mailer”

    Elaine, this is laughable. If those two showed up on a mailer the margin would go to 60 points versus the 40

    Furthermore, you know, or should know that Cabrera and Anderson hated each other and didn’t even speak for years until just a little while ago when Maria has the fantasy that she is still relevant or can run again

    I haven’t seen a written endorsement or a joint photo of Slesnick and Anderson with Cabrera but would love to see one as it would further accelerate his defeat to another wipeout by Cason

    So you got paid by Cabrera for another issue not related to his campaign? What is it because we are curious how its not connected

    Anyhow, kudos to you for trying to resuscitate Cabrera and you probably got him a couple of dozen more votes and I do enjoy reading your blogs as sometimes you are good and its commendable you actually do post my comments

    • Maria Anderson   April 13, 2015 at 8:19 am

      Mr. I know You…Why would I want to run again? So that I can deal with low-brow, self-righteous people like you, really, please and no gracias! Life is fine where I am right now. Also, it’s so sad that when people come to terms with past differences and find common ground again, it is viewed with such cynicism. But that’s your problem, not mine.

    • Ladra   April 13, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Dear Mr. or Ms. You Don’t Know Nada, let me bring you up to speed. Please try to keep up.

      What I said is that Ralph’s retainer is unrelated to the BLOG not the campaign. It is precisely for campaign-related communications — social media strategy, prep for debates and TV/radio interviews, messaging and website content, where, by the way, you will find the Anderson endorsement. We also email blasted a letter from her to voters.

      As for Slesnick, he’s not being public about it, but who do you think he and Jeannett are going to vote for?

      I agree with you on Kerdyk but disagree on Mitchell and Murado. They will disappear again on April 15th.

      Winner there will be Slesnick or Fernandez. Hands down. Newell is in number three.

      Love, Ladra

  15. RJ   April 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Today’s Herald had an article that Don said he isn’t saying who’s he supporting in the Mayor’s race and that he was disgusted with the tenor of this year’s campaign and it does not befit Coral Gables. “The whole thing is disgusting to me. It gets more and more negative by the day”. That’s all due to Cabrera whether its his petty comments about the former city manager’s home life to implying that the Mayor has a drinking problem. Cabrera needs to take his act to Hialeah where its a better fit.

  16. JustTheFacts   April 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Both Don & Jeanette Slesnick are slime-balls. With friends like these …

  17. CG Old Timer   April 12, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    It appears that Mayor Cason violated the City Charter if he instructed City employees to make repairs in front of the homes of potential Cason-voters. The Charter gives the City Manager exclusive authority to direct employees. The Charter also states that any member of the Commission in violation of this section of the Charter will be removed from Office.

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  20. I know you   April 13, 2015 at 9:23 am

    To Maria Anderson, why do you call me a “Mr”? Good, its a relief that you wont run for something you wouldn’t win and why didn’t you officially endorse Cabrera? Please make it clear here that what Ladra said is correct

    Tomorrow there will be three victors and many losers beyond even the candidates

    Big Losers List

    Cabrera and sponsor Fred Balsera
    Newell and sponsors Commsr. Lago, ex Withers, Dorothy Thompson Tom Korge, June and Alan Morris, Agave and all of Newell’s donors who were heavily pressured and Quesada too
    FOP
    Fireman Union
    Ladra (sorry but your input didn’t matter)

    Rising Stars
    PJ Mitchell
    Sandra Murado

    More Relevant than before
    Enrique Lopez (well versed)
    Ariel Fernandez (in spite of his resume flip flop he handled himself well)

    Non Candidates dented

    ex Commsr. Kerdyk as he hid until the last week, a known character trait that will sink him in a competitive race for Mayor in the future

    New alignment

    Keon-Slesnick (if she wins)

    Relevant new Power Brokers

    Several new and old faces were perfect in their strategies, including perhaps Slesnick

  21. typicaltee   April 13, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    wow, listen to the residents! I guess all of you are residents, right? These wonderful things that Cason is doing; why weren’t they done some time ago instead of just before election? “And the cason goes rolling along”… As for Ladra, at least there is no hiding in her stance for Cabrera. Get with the times, dear residents. Change is coming tomorrow. Don’t forget to vote and vote often……………….

  22. I know you   April 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Ladra, out of respect of my longtime policy of not trashing people when they are exposed in a negative light I will pass on the email I just got on you and focus on the “pandilla” you hang with in the Gables.

    1. Cabrera will get soundly defeated and FOP and Fire Union along with him

    2. Newell has burned a lot of people’s money who didn’t like him or believed he could win but they were assured he did by an incumbent commsr. who will face a formidable opponent/s and lose his re-election and those folks and companies that gave Newell money will not give when its his turn to run. So here two people lose

    3 Mitchell and Murado will do quite well

    Cason will now look to fill out his full 8 year term limits and will win the next election vs anybody by a wide margin

    Anderson and Withers are totally irrelevant as is Dorothy Thomson and especially Raul Valdes Fauli whose own son turned on him

    You, Ladra, will be tied at the hip with losers in political races in the Gables and thus will lose credibility and audience

    Other than that, this is a great City with great people, governance, services and extraordinary residents

    Finally, keep your gender-tags to yourself

    I know You

  23. JA   April 13, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    You know there is A LOT of money at stake when an election takes such a dirty turn. These faux “power players”, using intimidation tactics and lies, to pave the way for developers to run roughshod over the city zoning laws is just sickening. There are far less than 7 degrees connecting some of these elected officials, their relatives/friends, and their bosses at ___________________ (fill in with whatever law firm, developer, or construction company you see fit). But while they may have contributed to the war chest, they don’t have a vote, and neither does most of the Chamber of Commerce, for that matter. If the residents of Coral Gables find all of this to be just fine, it will be on them when the City is no longer theirs.

    Electing Cason again, after the amount of negative facts that one can simply find by doing some elementary research, along with the ties he has with his “commercial constituents”, would simply be a disservice to the city. Jim Cason, after initially not wishing to run, is more concerned with his legacy, than with his job. If he were to have another 4 years, there may be an amusement park, with the worlds largest rollercoaster, on the Granada Golf Course. While I certainly understand the need to promote and foster “new business”, there is no need to become a slave to those very people.

    Besides, do you really want someone in office who considers every meeting he takes in his office an “event”….talk about an inflated ego.

  24. I know you   April 14, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    15 point margin of victory for Cason, a virtual wipeout and two time consecutive loser Cabrera has used up his political powder for the last time in the Gables.

    His loss shows how far down Cabrera has gone from being a player and he has made a lot of new enemies by his caustic and erratic behavior as there are dozens of stories of Ralph’s conduct that are told by credible people

    Biggest losers after Ralph are Newell who couldn’t pull it off and was almost beat by Murado’s late entry and his godfathers Lago, Withers and Dorothy Thomson with Lago facing defeat in his next election from some very pissed off donors for Newell who got strong armed by Vince

    Keon-Slesnick now an alliance and that may not be a bad thing to balance out the votes

    Ladra? what can I say other that the obvious was obvious from the very beginning but Im glad you got paid for your services