Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Time to Get It Right

Today I want to talk about why I support Mario Garcia for Commissioner at Large and why you should too.  

Tomorrow's election is about whether or not North Bay Village becomes the kind of village that plans for future and takes care of today, or if we remain stuck in the old dysfunctional governance of yesterday.  

First of all, without running, he garnered the majority of the votes in that race in 2012.  Seriously;  723 votes to 681 for Gonzalez.  But Mario had withdrawn from that race because it wasn't the right time, Jorge Gonzalez had promised to be open to many points of view and seemed like a man of his word.  Lesson from this:  Trust the Voters.   Many had met both candidates and could not bring themselves to vote for Gonzalez and they turned out to be right.  

You might think this is just a weird fluke, perhaps because of the alphabet, and just another example of North Bay Village Crazy™ in the elections but consider a second race, Stuart Blumberg vs. Wendy Duvall, where Blumberg had dropped out following a series of personal attacks by the ruling clique.  Same ballot position (first alphabetically) and no race, but Duvall garnered the majority of the votes - 542 vs, 944.  

Gonzalez has been more than a disappointment.  His arrogance, his bullying, his lack of ethical judgment, have caused us real damage.  I won't write about all that here since Stephanie Kienzle did a great job of describing that in her blog today.  Click here for that "must read."

After two years of attending every commission meeting and most board meetings, after himself being targeted by Gonzalez and Kreps for his volunteer work on the Business Board, after watching Gonzalez freeze out anyone who was of no direct benefit to Gonzalez, Mario decided to run again this year, along with Jorge Brito.  Brito has been suffering his own blows at the hands of the strip club lobby that Mayor Cara Dura Kreps hired to do her dirty work since she has such a terrible record. 

This campaign has been tough and Mario Garcia has been up to the challenge.  He works a demanding full time job as a Nurse Practitioner in an inner city Miami clinic, has three grandchildren who are at his house all day, and still finds time to attend community meetings and to run a campaign.  

It's this tirelessness more than anything that recommends Mario Garcia for Commissioner At Large.  He's honest to a fault, willing to learn, willing to be wrong even, but he will not be shut down or shut up.  Garcia listens, learns and acts.  And talks.  He explains his reasoning.  He engages with people.  Garcia worries that long after someone has shown themselves to be of bad character and ill will, that they should still be heard.  

The Village is at a crossroads.  Regardless of the outcome of the election, we know we need water infrastructure, a huge undertaking.  We know we need to solve the Open Space issue with our rapidly diminishing possiblities.  We know we have to solve our over-saturated parking.  We've known all of this for years.  

In this election, you are being asked to vote for the incumbent who has dismissed and ignored all of these issues, while accepting gifts from foreign developers and bullying residents who want to talk about the issues, or vote for Mario Garcia who worked to earn your trust long before he asked for you vote.  

I'm Team Garcia all the way and I hope you are too.  

Kevin Vericker
November 3, 2014

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