Much of the attention surrounding the Doral’s special city council meeting on Thursday night centered around an item not on the agenda: Donald Trump.
The main item
Before the meeting and during breaks, members of council were made available to the media to comment on remarks Trump made during his presidential candidacy announcement where he referred to Mexicans as “rapists” who bring drugs and crime to the United States.
The commotion started after Thursday morning reports that Univision was no longer going to air Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant — which Doral hosted in January — and that Roselyn Sánchez and Cristián De La Fuente would pull out as co-hosts of the event.
Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz, who was born in Mexico, first heard of the comments while at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) convention last week in Las Vegas. Word of Trump’s comments spread rapidly throughout the conference. Ruiz said that some of her colleagues believed that Trump was insensitive and promoting propaganda to further his profile.
“Certainly I was very taken aback and offended by the comments,” Ruiz said. “Doral is 80 percent Hispanic, and we represent the individuals that he spoke so poorly of.”
Trump and Doral are linked through Trump’s ownership of the golf course located in the area surrounding City Hall and the new Downtown Doral area. In January, Trump was awarded a key to the city in an emergency council meeting that was called by Mayor Luigi Boria as a result of his work bringing the Miss Universe pageant to Doral.
“His comments were offensive to the whole Hispanic community and to me as a Venezuelan,” Boria said. “But this is a good opportunity for our community to show the contribution that we have made to this wonderful country.”
Boria deflected questions regarding any direct action that the city might take against Trump in the wake of this incident.
“The reality is that we do business with many private companies,” Boria said.
Councilwoman Christi Fraga said that she wasn’t surprised by the comments Trump made. She was the lone vote against Trump receiving a key to the city in January. She indicated that taking back Trump’s key to the city would be a possible action taken against Trump, but that this would have to be brought before the council by someone who voted in favor of the item previously. Ruiz also suggested that further action could be taken.
“Frankly, from the beginning, I didn’t think he was being a good neighbor to our residents,” Fraga said.
Ruiz concluded that these comments could have a lasting effect on the city’s ability to do business with Trump moving forward.
“Obviously the resort has its rights, and fair business practices will apply at all times, but relationship-wise I think it has,” Ruiz said. “Hopefully this will serve as an opportunity for him to see the repercussions when people make strong, damaging and irresponsible statements.”
▪ Jackson West: Last week, Doral announced that Jackson Health System bought a 27-acre parcel of land off of Northwest 79th Avenue and Northwest 29th Street. On Thursday, Jackson Health’s CEO Carlos Migoya gave a presentation before the council that outlined the general outline of the project. The new Jackson West project is part of a $1.4 billion dollar capital plan that Jackson has set out that includes construction and renovation of its other three campuses and offsite location. A Jackson study estimated that about half a million people in the area west of Miami International Airport do not have access to emergency medical care. Their initial estimates put construction at a two to three year process, but there are not yet any estimates as to how many new jobs the project will be bring to the city.
▪ Police Sub-Station: The council approved a work order authorizing payment of over $50,000 to a Coconut Grove-based architecture company, Wolfberg, Alvarez & Partners, for the development of design criteria for a proposed 10,000 square foot police sub-station to be located on the north side of the city at Northwest 97th Avenue.
They said it
“[Trump] said that he has lobbyists that could get him anything he wants. I think we saw that here in Doral.” — Councilwoman Christi Fraga
You said it
“Trump’s statement was made last Thursday. Why did City of Doral Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz, of Mexican heritage, take a week to speak?” — Felipe E. Madrigal, a Doral resident and founding president of the Rotary Club of Doral.
▪ When: Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
▪ Where: Doral City Hall