Miami Beach

Taxpayers foot bill for Miami Beach mayoral candidate’s self-promotion letter

FILE--Miami Beach commissioner Michael Gongora during a commission meeting at Miami Beach City Hall, Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
FILE--Miami Beach commissioner Michael Gongora during a commission meeting at Miami Beach City Hall, Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

Miami Beach voters recently got an official city letter from Michael Góngora — a sitting commissioner who is locked in a tight race to become mayor.

Complete with a golden, raised city seal and printed on heavy paper, the letter lists all of Góngora’s “accomplishments” while in office. In total, 5,000 copies hit mailboxes, just days before the Nov. 5 election.

Taxpayers paid the $2,300 it cost to send the letter. That’s just the postage, not including the cost of the paper, envelopes and address labels. The money came from the mailing budget of the Office of the Mayor and City Commission, Góngora said.

One resident wrote to the Miami Herald, questioning the appropriateness of a letter “with such glaring omissions of critical data, such glaringly self-serving content, and possibly such subsidy by city taxpayers.”

Góngora sees nothing wrong with it.

“I figured, at the end of my first four-year term it would be good to communicate with residents what we’ve accomplished,” Góngora said. “I was very careful to steer clear of the election or that I’m running for mayor.”

The letter does not mention that Góngora is running for mayor.

Both English and Spanish versions were mailed. The letter hits on many themes Góngora has hammered on the campaign trial: cleaning up corruption, making Miami Beach more sustainable, fixing flooding issues and tackling pension reform.

Any complaints about the letter, Góngora said, are coming from “people who are not supporting me.”

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