For those of you that read this blog regularly, (between two and three thousand people a week!), you may want to read the Sun-Sentinel newspaper’s reporting below on the latest machinations to hit the Fort Lauderdale Visioning efforts …..
………. but remember the warning – it really does suck !
Fort Lauderdale vision project hit with infighting
By Scott Wyman August 10, 2011 05:38 PM
Former City Commissioner Tim Smith is out as the head of Fort Lauderdale’s effort to draw up a long-term vision for its growth.
Smith stepped down as chairman of the Visioning Committee amid a coup d’etat Tuesday night. Members were angry that Smith had not defended a name they wanted for the project and that he supported adding a representative from the city’s Council of Civic Associations to the group.
The tiff adds to the controversy surrounding the vision project – which has drawn objections because of its estimated $300,000 price tag. The City Commission agreed this spring to fund the first phase of the project at a cost of $54,000.
“It’s all sad, and I don’t know what to do because I still believe in the project,” Smith said.
The Visioning Committee had touted the city hiring the consulting firm Wallace, Roberts & Todd to craft a comprehensive look at the city’s future. They said the city’s vision had been too hodge-podge and that officials needed help gaining focus.
The group wanted to call the project “Imagine Fort Lauderdale.” But Smith learned behind the scenes that Mayor Jack Seiler had concerns because Austin, Texas, uses “Imagine Austin.” Then former Mayor Rob Dressler suggested a naming contest, which the City Commission then decided to pursue.
That led to a recent city survey of residents about what to name the project and then a vote on four choices. The top vote-getter was “Fort Lauderdale – Our City, Our Vision.”
At the same time, the civic association – which is the umbrella organization of Fort Lauderdale’s powerful neighborhood groups – sought a seat at the table. The City Commission agreed before it went on its summer break and is set to name a representative of the civic association when it returns later this month. Smith – who rose in politics as an activist in Middle River Terrace – backed the idea.
The Visioning Committee, though, does not – even though its members include Dan Lindblade of the Chamber of Commerce. Smith’s critics said they didn’t want special interests on the committee and voted to tell the commission that they didn’t want a civic association representative.
Smith said he resigned in the face of the challenge, but still plans to stay on the committee and fight for the visioning project.
“It was going downhill, and it wasn’t about me but the future of the city so I just decided to step down as chair,” he said.