It was a relaxed, low-key night of mingling and talking for about 80 folks, who came out to give Gonzalez a hearty send-off. However, most people who arrived were shocked -- SHOCKED I TELLS YA!!! -- that he was wearing pants. Friend after friend would arrive, take one look, and make that as their first comment. This reporter even reminded the candidate of the promise he made early in the campaign, to whomever would listen, that the one thing he wouldn't do is dress up to run for Commissioner.
|Foreground: Gonzalez in a tuxedo in the same pose as background|
People know the real estate agent as a casual dresser, who shows off expensive houses in sandals, shorts, and Guayaberas. He recently resigned as Chair of the Coconut Grove Village Council in order to run for Commissioner, although he still retains his seat on the CGVC.
District 2 appears to be a gerrymandered district, a long, thin strip running down the coast, which encompasses many extremely different neighbourhoods that have little in common. Coconut Grove, South Grove, West Grove, Brickell, and Downtown, are as different from each other as cars are from apples. While Gonzalez talked about the other parts of District 2, he stressed that he's lived virtually his entire life in Coconut Grove and no candidate will fight for it as hard as he will. Watch:
FULL DISCLOSURE: While I have yet to endorse a candidate for District 2 -- and may not -- I can confirm Gonzalez's commitment to Coconut Grove due to the relationship we have forged over the last few years. Javier and I have never met to socialize, but if I have a problem getting info from the city, or have a concern about a West Grove issue, Gonzalez has always been there to smooth the tracks or to tell me I'm way off base. Long before he ever considered running for District 2 Commish, we've had each other on speed dial. On more than one occasion I've phoned him up with something I thought he should take a look at and he rushes right over to see for himself.
As all candidates must do, when they meet with potential constituents, Gonzalez addressed the money issue, which seems even more important this time around. According to Gonzalez, one of the candidates (whom he didn't name), could spend as much as $750,000 on the District 2 race by the time the ballots are counted. He said his team crunched the numbers and he believes he only needs $200,000 to get the job done. Then he put a very light touch on the assembled, asking them to contribute to his campaign.
ME: I just wanted to let you know that Javier Gonzalez, who resigned as Coconut Grove Village Council Chair in order to run for Commissioner, is having a Campaign Kick-Off event today at 6:30 at Berries in the Grove. There will be free food & drink, as near as I can tell, and you get to meet another candidate for the office while he tries to hit you up for money.
I'll be there just to ask who picked out that colour scheme.
THEY: [R]eally, someone needs to talk about that color scheme. It's a serious offense to the electorate. Maybe see you there so we can both explore this in depth with him.
THEY [much later]: You know, I reconsidered that color scheme and it's far worse than I thought initially. It's a threat to our very way of life, our freedoms, and our democracy. Something has to be done. Can we call out a drone strike on them?
Thankfully, I didn't see a single campaign poster with those colours and the ones scattered around the event were not quite so . . err . . . striking, sticking to teh time-honoured Red, White and Blue. Here are some other images taken at the Javier Gozalez Campaign Kick-Off event: