Fact Checks

 

I pledge to conduct a fact-based campaign to inform voters of our challenges and opportunities.  Unfortunately, not all who run for office share the same positive perspective.  Too often, politicians choose the path of fear mongering and smear campaigns -- to mislead the voters and tilt elections to their advantage. 

 

This type of behavior affects all of us, because it distracts the conversations from the real issues our community faces.  In this space, we provide important context for our voters, so they can make informed choices based on facts, not fakes.

If you find yourself a target of suspected misinformation, contact us to clarify the facts and to suggest a new entry that will help fellow residents make better choices.  Tell your friends about it too -- and let's hold our public conversations to a higher standard.

Claim:  A recent article in a local blog claims that Ms. Olazabal "doctored documents ... wrote the lie ... orchestrate[d] the lie."  The article goes beyond, claiming that Ms. Olazabal "helped cover up a landscaping mistake that caused a jump in car accidents along Ponce de Leon Boulevard in 2014."

- Elaine de Valle, Ralph Cabrera supporter and former Cabrera campaign contractor, in Political Cortadito, March 4, 2019.

Fact Check - Unfounded Accusations:  The article produces no evidence or specifics for the alleged lie, the doctored documents, or the factual cause of the jump in car accidents.  These claims fit the classic pattern of a smear, where the mere existence of the adverse statement intends to cloud the reader's mind, despite the total lack of substantive evidence.


At issue are traffic accident numbers at a series of intersections.  In a Miami Herald article published on April 08, 2014, Ms. Olazabal "said she had discussed the numbers presented in the second police memo with Salerno, and they determined they did not accurately represent the issue because the statistics covered a wider area than the median construction and included inaccurate construction dates."  Ms. Olazabal's professional determination was that "if [she] would have forwarded [Hudak's memo] to the commission, it would have been wrong." 


In addition, a third-party engineering firm had already been hired to review the safety of these intersections.  The firm found that the Medjool Palms in the median were adequate.

The article even includes a sensational picture of a turned-over vehicle, and attempts to link it to Ms. Olazabal's actions without evidence.  This is a standard misleading association common in propaganda materials. 

Claim:  "Hudak produced a multi-page report with graphs and figures that indicated a 170% increase in car accidents at that corner.  The commission got a one-page report with no such finding..."

- Elaine de Valle, Ralph Cabrera supporter and former Cabrera campaign contractor, in Political Cortadito, March 4, 2019.

 
Fact Check - Omission of Critical Facts:  The Hudak report did show a 170% increase, but the claim omits that calculation of this number included streets and time frames outside the area and period in question.  As a result, this number did not accurately answer the commission's questions, as Ms. Olazabal stated to the Miami Herald at the time (April 8, 2014).  

Claim:  Commissioner Lago is quoted saying that "[Ms. Olazabal] was too willing to risk the public safety of our citizens" and that "she showed a lack of ethics and a lack of judgement."  Additionally, Lago is quoted saying "A person who is willing to mislead the commission should not be making the laws if she is breaking the laws."

- Vince Lago, Ralph Cabrera supporter, and current Coral Gables Commissioner, as quoted in in Political Cortadito, March 4, 2019.

Fact Check - Unfounded Accusations:  Commissioner Lago makes generalized claims about Ms. Olazabal and produces no evidence or specifics, even though an extensive public record exists demonstrating Ms. Olazabal's ethical and professional behavior.  These claims fit the classic pattern of a smear, where the mere existence of the adverse statement is the point, not the underlying truthfulness.  The comments interfere in the public discourse and appear to show Lago's willingness to mislead the voters for the purpose of influencing an election.

Ms. Olazabal's actions in this matter were demonstrably intended to provide the commission correct information, instead of passing on a report that would have been misleading, as Ms. Olazabal stated in the Miami Herald at the time (April 8, 2014).

Claim: "While Ms. Olazabal was interim city manager, she went against our elected officials and appointed an interim police chief, Major Theresa Molina (Miami Herald, September 12, 2014), without review."


- Maria Cruz, Ralph Cabrera supporter, in email to Coral Gables residents, February 19th, 2019

Fact Check - Authority and responsibility to appoint an acting chief: Ms. Cruz's email misstates that Ms. Olazabal appointed an interim chief. Rather Ms. Olazabal appointed an acting chief.  As the Miami Herald reported, City Attorney Craig Leen clarified that Olazabal had the authority to appoint an acting police chief (Miami Herald, September 12, 2014).  She made the appointment because she had the responsibility to keep Coral Gables residents safe in the event an emergency occurred in the period between the prior chief's resignation and the commission's appointment of an interim police chief.  Ms. Olazabal picked Molina to avoid the appearance of bias, because two other possible choices would have been more controversial as they were the ones being considered by the commission.

Claim: "[Ms. Olazabal] ... appointed ... Major Theresa Molina (Miami Herald, September 12, 2014)...  Major Molina violated my rights by spying on me, taking photographs, unbeknownst to me, at a city commission meeting..."

- Maria Cruz, Ralph Cabrera supporter, in email to Coral Gables residents, February 19th, 2019

Fact Check - Misleading association to Cruz-Molina incident: Ms. Cruz's email associates Ms. Olazabal's decision on the acting chief to an incident that occured between Ms. Cruz and Ms. Molina.  Ms. Cruz's email omits that this incident occurred more than two years later, on September 28, 2016, and that at the time Ms. Olazabal appointed Molina to acting chief, Molina had no prior violations or internal affairs investigations in her personnel file (Miami Herald, May 30, 2017).  Ms. Cruz's omissions misleadingly link Ms. Olazabal's acting chief decision to Ms. Cruz's later activities, when in fact Ms. Olazabal could not have known that Ms. Cruz's incident would occur.  This is a standard misleading association common in propaganda materials.

Claim: "Olazabal was an assistant city manager and became interim city manager for eight months in 2013 before Swanson-Rivenbark was hired. She gave herself a 10% raise only a month into it, but also procured Merrett Stierheim...  Her supporters – including former Mayor Jim Cason and his wife Carmen, who is running Olazabal’s campaign – point to her BS in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her MBA from Harvard as evidence that she can lead the city administration."

- Elaine de Valle, Ralph Cabrera supporter and former Cabrera campaign contractor, in Gables Good Government Campaign Digest, February 7, 2019.

Fact Check - False statements:  Ms. del Valle's article misstated that Carmen Olazabal "gave herself a 10%  raise" when she served as interim city  manager.  Rather, the Coral Gables City Commission approved her contract as Interim City Manager on May 5th, 2014, and her salary reverted back when a new city manager was appointed.  The article also misstated the year of Ms. Olazabal’s service as interim city manager.  Her service occurred in 2014, not 2013.  The article also misstated that Ms. Olazabal "procured Merrett Stierheim."  Rather, it was the Coral Gables Commission that directed the hiring of Mr. Stierheim.  The article also misstated that Carmen Cason is "running" Ms. Olazabal’s campaign.  Rather, Mrs. Cason is an active and valued volunteer in the campaign.  To its credit, the Gables Good Government Committee included this correction in its latest newsletter and on its blog.

Email: carmen@carmen4coralgables.com
  
   Phone: 305-962-8185

​​Political Advertising Paid for and approved by Carmen Olazabal for Coral Gables Commissioner Group 4

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