To Jim Cason, Coral Gables is moving in the right direction and his reelection as mayor will propel the city forward.
To his opponent Ralph Cabrera, the well-heeled city is ignoring residents’ concerns about crime and a wave of development that includes two condo towers that tip at the city’s height limit.
A tale of two cities? In this election season, yes, indeed.
Cason, 70, is running for a third two-year term in Tuesday’s election. He had said he wasn’t going to serve more than four years, but now says he’s critical to attracting investment to the downtown core.
“We have 97 initiatives underway to improve the quality of life in the city. This commission has transformed Coral Gables, and being an internationalist, that’s my specialty,” said Cason, a retired diplomat and former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. I like to say Ralph’s vision is that of a sniper’s vision: very narrow and focuses on one or two things. He doesn’t tell you what his vision is for the future.”
Cabrera, 56, says Cason’s administration has ignored the residents’ chief complaint: crime. The former commissioner — he served on the dais for 12 years before terming out in 2013 — is playing off the city’s recent spate of high-profile burglaries. His campaign posters call “For a Safer Coral Gables.”