Raul Valdes-Fauli wins seat back in close Coral Gables race

Raul Valdes-Fauli wins seat back in close Coral Gables race
  • Sumo

Former Coral Gables Mayor Raul Valdes Fauli will have that word “former” election2017removed from his identification after he is sworn in as the new mayor again.

Valdes-Fauli beat Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick in the mayoral race Tuesday, 51 to 49, after Mayor Jim Cason said he would not run for a fourth term. As expected, it was a tight race and a slim victory — by a scant 187 votes. And it’s almost all absentee ballots.

Only 15 people more voted for him than for her on election day. The other 172 additional votes he got were via AB.

A total of 8,415 people voted in the mayoral election Tuesday (there was a drop off of about 200 an 300 in the two commission races), which is on the high end of a typical turnout.

Read related story: Coral Gables candidates will spend more than $1 million

“I always said I was going to need 4,000 votes. I just needed a little more,” Slesnick told Ladra late Tuesday night jeannettraulafter several people had left her campaign party.

She said her business partner will be happy to have her back at work full time, but that she will stay involved in Gables issues. “I never stopped being involved,” she said, and she wasn’t talking about Valdes-Fauli but she may as well have been since he disappeared for 13 years until endorsing Cason two years ago and then getting rewarded with a charter review committee seat.

“We had a great turnout today and we ran a really good campaign. They were all volunteers except for one person. Everybody else was volunteer from start to finish,” she said. “I ran a very clean campaign and I’m very proud and I don’t know anything I could have done differently.”

With all due respect and my apologies for not writing enough about the race or earlier, maybe she could have gone a little negative? Valdes-Fauli sure did. And it seemed to work for him.

The former mayor waged war in this campaign, which was more of a grudge match for Valdes-Fauli, who lost his seat in 2001 in a bitter defeat to former Mayor Don Slesnick, the commissioner’s husband. Jeannett was cast as not much more than a shill for her husband, whose administration was mired in scandal and financial chaos, which was sort of the case but certainly not Don Slesnick’s fault.

Read related story: Mucho mailers mean to mislead in Coral Gables election

“I’m sorry he had to take the brundt of the campaign madness,” the good wife said. 

But Valdes-Fauli got his licks in on her, too. Using innocuous votes against her, saying she voted for the Paseo speedyslesnickproject when, in fact, it had already been approved and she was voting for subsequent measures, some of which downsized the project. She did her job. Another cast her as “Speedy Slesnick” because she voted against a feel-good measure to lower speed limits to 25 MPH on some streets whe her point is that what the city needs is police officers to enforce the already pretty good 30 MPH limit. 

The worst attack, however, was the whisper campaign about Slesnick being anti-Hispanic or anti-Cuban, which is a ridiculous and, frankly, insulting card to pull. It becomes especially injuring when it is pulled by a Castro apologist who recently visited the island, had some eye-opening experience and now advocates for closer relations with the Cuban regime. Que descaro!

We’ll know more in coming days about the demographics of the vote, but I bet that a lot of Hispanics were targetted and came out.

Read related story: Coral Gables mayoral race takes a nasty, ethnic turn

This victory is not just a victory for Valdes-Fauli — and for Sergio Pino, one of the developers that funded his campaign (with at least $10,000). This is a victory also for Commissioners Frank Quesada and Vince Lago, who endorsed the former mayor and will now have a third vote to push their agenda through.

And if people were concerned about over development before, they can just kiss the old Gables good bye, because it’s not about to get any better for the next two years. It doesn’t really matter anymore that Commissioner Pat Keon got re-elected or if Marlin Ebbert pulls out an upset and beats Mike Mena in a runoff (more on that later).

A majority is three votes. They have preserved that with Tuesday’s vote.

11 Responses to "Raul Valdes-Fauli wins seat back in close Coral Gables race"

  1. RJ   April 12, 2017 at 6:31 am

    As with the Clintons, voters were just done with the Slesnicks….say good night Jeannett & Don

  2. TellingItLikeItIs   April 12, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Say hello to the Cuban Consulate in Coral Gables.

  3. Time to move?   April 12, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Traffic? Over development? Greed? Raul Valdes-Fauli and his supporters ran a disgraceful campaign.

    • Jose   April 12, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Vote for me porque soy cubano sadly works .

      I am the only one in my large Miami Cuban extended family who see’s through this con job .

      The older members don’t want to hear it .

      It bothers me an assembly line of self serving, inept and/or corrupt politicos use this to stay in power REGARDLESS of party but it is what it is, lol

  4. Frank   April 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Gables residents better keep a VERY close eye and ear on these pro development politicians or the city beautiful could be sold out to the highest bidder. This is no time for apathy.

    • Jose   April 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      ” the city beautiful could be sold out to the highest bidder. ”

      That pretty much sums up the Cuban politicos all through Miami .

  5. Maria   April 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Good God your writing is terrible! And you sound like a bitter old lady..

    • Ladra   April 12, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      Maria, mi amor, Ladra is not for everybody. Many people love my writing. Some people hate it. There are very few in between. That said, I do tend to grow on ya.

      Also, yes, I am sometimes a bitter old lady. If 51 is old. I thought I was closer to middle aged. And if I am old then the new mayor of Coral Gables is freaking ancient. An antique.

      But I reserve the right to be a bitter old lady. I have good reason to be bitter. And, honestly, sometimes I’m still all sunshine and rainbows, empowering and refreshing, despite the jaded bitter old lady inside. Unfortunately, last night’s results did not inspire that. They inspired bitter old lady.

      And consider yourselves all duly warned: I fully ASPIRE to be a bitter old curmudgeon in a few more years. Asi que preparense!

      But here’s the crux for pobre Maria. She read the whole post and felt compelled to write a two sentence critique telling me how terrible it was and calling me old. What does that make her? More bitter?

      Love, Ladra

      • Alex J Diaz-Granados   April 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm

        Dear Ladra,

        If 51 makes you a “bitter old lady,” I wonder what it makes this 54-year-old commentator and long-time fan.

        A disgruntled old geezer, I guess?

        Love your articles! Always have, always will.

  6. Viktor   April 13, 2017 at 1:08 am

    I wish the establishments would do better at putting up candidates with substance… She doesn’t ever legislate… Such a waste of my money… Now we have this Cuban from the crypt to screw us over…. When will politicians start working so we can get some good, intelligent and talented folks into decision making roles…

  7. Alex J Diaz-Granados   April 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    If there is anything that I detest about South Florida politics – especially Miami-Dade County politics – is how often Cuban-American politicians will often play the “vote for me because ‘yo soy cubano'” card.

    Like a previous poster said, many of the younger residents see through this oh-so-obvious ploy. Many of the older generation, however, still fall for it.

    I still remember when Miriam Alonso ran for mayor many years ago, shouting “Cubano, vota cubano.”

    I would prefer it if my local government were run by politicians who ran on their merits, NOT their ethnicity or national origin.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.