Joint Letter to the Miami Herald: Negative Campaigning in Coral Gables Elections

In partnership with the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, the Gables Good Government Committee submitted a letter to the Miami Herald concerning negative campaigning in the recent Coral Gables municipal election. Please read the unpublished letter below:

Putting your name on a ballot for consideration for public office takes a tremendous amount of determination and intestinal fortitude, especially these days. But it also requires an equal amount of integrity, faith and honor, something we as residents and business leaders in Coral Gables expect of our candidates, no matter if the term is for two years or four years. And while we saw a vast field – 13 in total – put their name forward and qualify for the April election, not all lived up to that expectation in our estimation.

More importantly, when seeking to serve on our Gables City Commission, we look to candidates who will represent us well, honor their commitments and put the community first in all that they do to serve Coral Gables. Thankfully, all but one candidate across the three races signed the Chamber’s Pledge of Positivity in campaigning. Mr. Holmes declined. Positivity is the basic premise of the Pledge, and the driving force behind ethical campaigning and electioneering.

However, as we came through the first phase of the April elections – and with a run-off in Group II and III next week – it is clear that not all obeyed their pledge, either directly or indirectly. The Herald noted this failure in its March 16 and 17 articles: “Coral Gables candidates trade barbs as first attack ads circulate ahead of April election.”…/cor…/article249954644.html That is disappointing on many levels, but most certainly for those who may have cast a vote for a candidate who committed to focus on the issues and their own experiences versus denigrating another.

In a community where retail politics and door-to-door campaigning are the hallmark of our City Beautiful’s biennial elections, negative mailers, whisper campaigns and misleading social media posts do nothing to advance good governance and a commitment to serve the people. They are ugly and have no place in our City Beautiful. They leave a stain so permanent, it may never wash off. How can you govern when you have to spend all of your days washing away the stains of the campaign?

In Coral Gables, we simply expect more. That is who we are. We outwardly desire the best quality of life, the best schools, the best parks and the best of everything. That goes for our elected government leadership, too. We want the best to lead.

So now, it is up to the electorate. When you cast your final ballots in Group II and III, remember the commitments made to being positive candidates and campaigners.

It is now in your hands!

Brian Barakat, Chairman, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

Hon. Thomas W. Snook, President, Gables Good Government Committee