As Coral Gables mayor, Lago must overcome the stain of that Carrollton letter | Editorial

the Miami Herald Editorial Board
·2 min read

Coral Gables Vice Mayor Vince Lago won the mayoral race Tuesday, beating Commissioner Pat Keon and commercial property owner Jackson Rip Holmes for the position. Lago won despite putting his name on a controversial letter to administrators at the independent Catholic girls school in Miami’s Coconut Grove that his children attend.

Even though we withdrew our initial recommendation for him, we wish him well. He is inheriting a full plate of issues to navigate. The pace of development in the city has been a pressing concern for many residents. This is especially true for Miracle Mile, the business corridor and an economic engine that has seen better, more prosperous days.

Less visible, but just as pressing are such issues as the health of the city’s pension and, of course, maintaining safety and security in the city.

The Editorial Board was concerned about the letter, contradictory in parts, that objected to students at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart being taught terms such as “systemic racism” “systemic inequality” and “implicit bias.” Lago signed it, along with about 150 other parents and alumni, including former Florida House Speaker José Oliva and former Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro.

Our decision to withdraw our recommendation was based on concern about his ability to truly be the mayor for all of Coral Gables, not how he chooses to educate his children, a private matter.

With his win, it’s time for Lago to prove what he insisted upon when we interviewed him about the letter: that he rejects racism and acknowledges that racial inequities exist, issues he might have to confront as a public servant.

The voters have spoken. We hope that their new mayor will use this moment and his elected office to fight bias, overcome bigotry and — as Coral Gables’ top elected official — demonstrate with every action that he rejects the words in that letter, working as everyone’s mayor.