Just Don’t Attack Chief Hudak!

Editor’s Note on Choosing the Group V City Commission Seat

In the five years that Coral Gables Magazine has been published, we have never endorsed any political candidates or warned against their opponents. But there comes a time when good people must speak up.

In the race for the Group V City Commission seat between Alex Bucelo and Ariel Fernandez, the choice could not be clearer. On the one hand there is Alex Bucelo, a Gables native who is running on a pro-environment platform, opposed to large scale development. On the other hand, there is Ariel Fernandez, whose political blog Gables Insider has for years unfairly and very nastily attacked honest, hard-working city employees, and who is now introducing a level of vitriol to the campaign that denigrates the entire process.

City Commission Seat
Chief Ed Hudak

Among the litany of attacks, backed with loads of misinformation, is his recent assault on Chief Ed Hudak, a beloved member of our community who has done a superlative job of making Coral Gables a safter place to live. Mr. Fernandez has falsely accused the police chief of hiding crime statistics in a massive coverup. Utterly false. And he has made these accusations with, among other things, insulting emails to the chief that demonstrate a vulgar lack of respect for the office and the person. 

I could go on with the list of false accusations that Fernandez has hurled at long-time dedicated city employees — and against his opponent. In one email blast, he accuses the Bucelo camp of “perverted tactics” supporting a “developer-puppet.” Nonsense. Bucelo’s last vote as a member of the Planning & Zoning Board was against the latest high-rise proposed for Ponce Circle. Fernandez also accuses our current elected officials — all of whom have endorsed Bucelo — of a myriad of other falsehoods, from unsubstantiated claims of racism to dramatic declarations of “breaking protocol” and ignoring the public. (Keep in mind that all residents are welcome to address the City Commission at their meetings and the mayor holds open office hours on Fridays.)

Alex Bucelo

The roster of endorsements for Alex Bucelo don’t include just all members of the current city commission, but also former mayors Don Slesnick, Raul Valdez-Fauli, James Cason, and Dorothy Thomson, and former city commissioners Chip Withers, Bill Kerdyk, Frank Quesada, and Jorge Fors. Many of these folks were former rivals. But all perceive that Ariel Fernandez will bring a terrible level of discord to a city commission that, unlike other governments, operates within the boundaries of respectful, civil discourse. It would be a major mistake for the city to elect Fernandez, a man who peddles falsehoods and has no government experience (Bucelo also served on the city’s Code Enforcement Board and the Mayor’s Advisory Council).

We urge you to go out and vote for Alex Bucelo, and not take this current election lightly.