By Agrippina Fadel
There is no love lost between incumbent Mayor Michelle Gomez and Vice Mayor Mike Gelin, both hoping to win the mayoral race on November 8. The two disagree on most city matters and often exchange stern words at commission meetings.
Smear campaigns on both sides have marred the mayoral race for weeks: not-gelin.com compiles negative articles and testimonies about Gelin, including the one detailing his public confrontation with a police officer during the awards ceremony in 2019, while magamichelle.com combines materials from Tamarac Post (rumored to be Commissioner Marlon Bolton) and calls Gomez “MAGA Michelle,” alleging she is a Donald Trump supporter.
Both candidates deny their connection to the websites and mailers associated with them that went out to the residents.
“You can put on record that I have absolutely nothing to do with the not-gelin.com website and signs. I was as shocked as everyone else when they came out,” said Gomez. The website states it is a “paid Political Advertisement by Don K. Frazier – Independently of any Candidate or Committee.” It is unknown who Frazier is or where he lives.
In response to the Tamarac Talk’s request to clarify whether Gelin is behind the magamichelle.com website, his campaign responded, “If it were paid for by “Mike Gelin for Tamarac,” it would be disclaimed as such. It is not.”
The week the smear campaign against Gomez began, our reader noticed that Tamarac United, who had produced the “MAGA Michelle” mailers and website, had forgotten to change the files’ names- which were all named MGelin. Once exposed, these were quickly changed.
“We should be running this race based on why we are the best candidates and not by trying to smear our opponents’ names,” said Gomez, adding that it is a shame that her opponent would stoop to that level, knowing all the claims are “lies and misstatements.”
This race is not the first time Gomez and Gelin have competed for a seat on the dais: both were finalists in the run for the District 2 seat in 2013, which Gomez ultimately won.
“The question is really about what I did and can do for Tamarac. I think I bring to the table a sincere love and dedication to the city. I am completely invested in its success,” said Gomez, adding that after living in Tamarac for 28 years and watching it grow and evolve, she has a good ear for listening to what the people are saying and being able to answer their needs.
“I was actually the first working person on the commission in the city that was used to dealing with the retired population. As our population changes, the city must adapt as well. And I am proud that I was able to help with that process,” she said.
The Broward Teachers Union has endorsed Gomez, Metro Broward Professional Firefighters, Broward County Police Benevolent Association, Broward Sheriff’s Office, International Union of Police Associations, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Federation of Public and Private Employees, and American Federation of Labor.
Gelin is endorsed by Florida Rising, Broward Democratic Party, Florida Immigrant Coalition Votes, and the political action committee The Collective.
Gelin said he is a candidate who “truly represents the residents of Tamarac.”
“I focus on transparency and accountability and being honest with the residents in all aspects of the organization and making sure we hold staff members accountable if they are committing crimes in the city,” he added.
The investigation into the former city manager Michael Cernech appears to be Gelin’s platform – he mentions it at every commission meeting, talked about it at the candidates meeting with the residents on October 12, and discussed it again when commenting to Tamarac Talk.
“We know for a fact that the former leader of the city committed a crime, and Attorney General Ashley Moody said that [Cernech] lied at the highest levels of government, but we don’t know what he lied about,” Gelin said. “We don’t know what projects that we worked on and voted on he had a personal interest in. That needs to be uncovered.”
Tamarac city commission approved the forensic audit of past transactions involving Cernech in July. The city and RSM, the company hired to do the job, still must determine the audit’s scope, cost, and time frame.
Gelin added that while voting is extremely important, doing research to vote for the right person and “not buying into the flyers that you might see and really understanding somebody’s record” is crucial.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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