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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Commission Candidates meet Grove neighbors

The District 2 Commission candidates met at the Village of Center Grove (VOCG) meeting on Wednesday night. It started off with all nine candidates introducing themselves for a couple of minutes as the evening started. William Armbrister, Javier Gonzalez, Seth Sklarey, Rosa Palomino, Mike Simpson, Grace Solares, Ken Russell, Lorry Woods and Teresa Sarnoff were present. Nathan Kurland of the VOCG moderated.

It ended up being the Ken Russel, Grace Solares and Teresa Sarnoff show, as they were asked the bulk, if not all of the questions from the crowd. I think Rosa was asked one. No one else was asked anything.

I was not in attendance but I heard from a number of people who were there and just as I was about to file this report, I watched Al Crespo's video of the events. You can see that here.

A friend said Teresa was "self assured." People were concerned about her campaign receiving lots of money from developers. He felt that the crowd was not in Teresa's favor.

He said, "Ken Russell is charming and a great speaker, he connects well with the younger crowd."

About 80% of the room were over 35 by the looks of it, only about 20% were 35 and younger.

Ken brought up the subject of term limits. If there are term limits, then shouldn't that be it for the Sarnoffs?

Most of the candidates were against what they call "big development" taking over. But hasn't that horse left the barn long ago? I think the City sold out to developers and won't ever retreat.

Ken Russell admitted to not being a "good voter," when someone asked him about it. He did not vote for years, explaining that he was too busy with business and raising his family. Why would he think that people will go out and vote for him if he didn't feel it was important to cast his own vote for others in the past? That is the problem today, voter apathy.

Another friend present says that "Grace spoke with a leadership tone, she outlined plans to control development by putting together a task force consisting of businesses and residents which would review code change requests." He went on to say, "It looks like the race is between Grace and Ken."

One thing I noticed is that Ken's claim to fame is the Merrie Christmas Park toxic issue and Teresa's is the Home Depot. Both old news. What have you done for us lately?

Grace got a lot of applause for her anti-development stance. She will never be in their pocket, that's a great thing. People at the meeting were quite concerned with development and over-development in Coconut Grove and in the City of Miami.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People that don't vote are part of the problem, not the solution. What a poor role model parents are for their children when they don't bother to vote!!!

July 16, 2015 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Ken Russell said...

Last night was a great forum, and I really enjoyed addressing the questions.


I just want to take a second and address the issue of my voting record. I have been voting. I’ve voted in every federal election since I was 18 because I thought, incorrectly, that the presidential elections were the most important ones. It is true that I did not take part in the off-year municipal elections and I was wrong not to do so. My experience with the cleanup of Merrie Christmas Park opened my eyes with regard to how important it is to be involved in local politics.


I’ve been sharing my story to motivate a lot of new voters who didn’t think their voice would count.

July 16, 2015 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorry Woods & Javier Gonzalez were each asked one question. Grace Solares was the strongest in answering questions head on. There was a lot of dancing around the issues, and some of the answers just left one scratching their heads and saying, huh?

It was obvious that many of the Grove residents who are vocal about the election were not there. Appreciated that some residents of downtown were there, too.

Would like to see this forum again...and soon. And better marketed or promoted so more people will show up. It was a great start to an open conversation between community and city hall.

July 16, 2015 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teresa Sarnoff seemed unprepared. Maybe her full campaign coffers make her overconfident?

July 16, 2015 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in attendance and these were my thoughts:

Teresa - Very unprepared. Looked combative during Q&A and her answers (especially to those about her possible conflict of interests with developer money) left a lot to be desired.

Ken- Very impressed. Strong and blunt opening statement. People came after him during the Q&A and he handled questions and criticisms very well. Came off as very sincere and intelligent.

Grace - Looked good. Passionate in her responses. She gave a lot of long answers though that led to her being cut off by the timer. She also wasn't grilled like Ken and Teresa were during Q&A. All of the questions thrown her way were by her supporters who were looking to set her up to sell her platform.


All in all it was great political theatre. I was undecided going in. I'm now on team Ken.

July 16, 2015 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People like Ken Russell who haven't voted in the past may be our ONLY HOPE to turn he City around. The "regular voters" are the ones who gave us the Sarnoff Nightmare TWICE!!
If Russell has come to realize the importance of voting and to playing an active role in the governance of the City by running for the Commission, perhaps he's the only one who knows how to wake up the other 95% of residents who have ignored past elections.

July 16, 2015 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Meanwhile one more land use change and upzoning takes place in the North Grove (3581 Glencoe Street). Classic summer month Miami action.

http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2015/07/08/developers-plan-luxe-condos-in-coconut-grove/


I wonder what the candidates would say...

July 17, 2015 2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a question that every candidate should answer, directly, no spin:

Ken:

How is it possible that it has taken the City about 8 years, to remodel a couple blocks on 27th AVE?

Who was responsible for the laughable fiasco on the Commodore Fishing Islands?

Will it take the City a Decade to remodel Bird, or 3 decades to work on Bayshore Dr ?

Thanks!

July 17, 2015 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My worry with Grace is that she appears to be an out of touch, old rich white lady. Sure, she's been on tons of boards and committees that a full of... old rich white people, talking about art and being old white people.

Having searched and read, and listened, I just don't see anything relatable about her. Moreover, I honestly still know nothing about her other than what's stated here. and she worked/works at some unknown law firm downtown doing some unknown job.

I guess she's counting on the old rich white people vote, which might be enough to carry this with turnout the last few years.

July 17, 2015 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace is Cuban. Been in Miami 40+ years. She is a homeowner in Dist 2. She has been fighting to protect residents and citizens from stupid and/or corrupt government decisions for decades. She takes time to research issues and she takes time to speak to City and County commissioners and staff. If elected, she can start right away. No training period needed.

July 19, 2015 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace's problem is her rotten hostile attitude. She treats the City people like enemies. She throws her weight around like she thinks she's the boss of everybody. That attitude will not work on the City Commission. They will just ignore her and pass everything with 4-1 votes. It will be like she's not even there.

July 19, 2015 3:21 PM  

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