We made the headlines again, and as expected, for the wrong reasons. The Sept. 2 editorial, Coral Gables’ chief complaint, declares “a victory for Chief Hudak’s camp and a defeat for the city manager.”
No, it is more of the same and another day in the City Ugly. An understaffed police department that has weathered years of tyrannical and humiliating treatment by our former disgraced manager is still hanging on.
It is a defeat for all those who have been victimized during the past five years to the tune of millions in property losses, insurance premium hikes, policy cancellations (mine was just canceled after having three thefts in 2.5 years, and I’m not alone) and the psychological agony and scars of feeling unsafe in my city, though Mayor Jim Cason still holds the city to be very safe.
It is a direct attempt to undermine the one credible person in this administration, Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, the one who saved the then commission from their most convoluted and lengthy search for the ultimately failed selection of a city manager who was not vetted by the consultant.
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As expected, our elected leadership was absent. Our city leadership isn’t selected by petitions or newspaper editorials, rather earned based on merits.
I wish City Manager Swanson-Rivenbark, Ed Hudak, Raul Pedroso and Frank Fernandez the best of luck in finding a solution that is best for the residents, not for the individuals.
They are aware of their shortcomings and actions in the past. However, both have much to contribute to our Gables policing culture, one that has been clearly and soundly assessed by the city manager as dysfunctional. Yes, it is, and everyone knows it.
What one of them lacks, the other has — an ideal situation for implementation of the manager’s previous plan, which would have allowed professional development for both candidates.
Hopefully, the modified structure of the plan will not fail to seize this opportunity for much-needed professional development in the department’s leadership and rank-and-file.
There is no victory to be celebrated and no winners in this. Being an international city, as Coral Gables claims to be, is more than just renting office space to multinational corporations. I hope we have learned from this.
Enrique J. Lopez,