As some of you may know, this Tuesday is Coral Gables’ biennial city commission election. Two incumbents, Ralph Cabrera and Maria Anderson, are facing formidable opponents in Richard Martin II and Gonzalo Sanabria, respectively. This year’s race has been especially intense due to a smear campaign being run by one of the opposition camps, the early retirement of former City Manager David Brown under allegations of corruption and sexual harassment and a feeling of general animosity amongst some of the candidates.
While the politics may be getting a bit difficult to navigate, he issues facing the candidates are fairly straightforward: where to make budget cuts in financially trying times, reducing traffic congestion, promoting development, etc. – essentially, nothing out of the ordinary for a local election in the midst of a recession.
You may be wondering then, “why should I, as a UM student, care about the Coral Gables election?” The truth is that many decisions made by the city commission directly affect the university, and us, its students. Take for instance the BankUnited Center: have you ever noticed the sections with seats missing? Those seats are being held up by the city commission. What about the internal road issue that we learned about in Fall 2007 (an internal road that the university is being required to build to allow traffic through). While it hasn’t been spoken about in a while and many of us have probably forgotten about it, it is still an issue facing the university. Any building permit the school needs currently has to go through the city commission. The number of ways the city commission affects UM is countless.
This Tuesday, I ask all of you who are registered to vote on campus or elsewhere in Coral Gables (and many of you are registered here from the presidential election) to go out and vote. Show the city commission that UM students are aware of what is going on in the community and want their voices heard. Make the commissioners realize that we care about how the commission affects the school’s development. If we stay silent on the 14th, we have no right to complain about the length of time it takes for UM to get a building permit or the empty sections in the BUC; we forfeit our voice to call for improvements in the way the commission interacts with UM students.
I encourage each and every one of you to take 15 minutes of your time sometime today or tomorrow and look up the candidate’s platforms so you can make an informed decision on Tuesday. Get in contact with the candidates if you want to hear directly from them how they will impact UM. But most importantly, VOTE.
-Matthew Sean Robayna
Council for Democracy
To learn more about the elections, visit these websites: