Look Out! … Political Mudslides!

     It’s started to get ugly.

     Now we all know that politics is a mean business. After all, the Latin root of the word tells it all … Poli (meaning many) and tics (blood sucking insects)!

     But up until a few weeks ago, it looked like the upcoming Fort Lauderdale Municipal Elections might just be different. The campaign trail was courteous, almost genteel.  But with just six weeks to go until the Primary Election, (scheduled for February 10th) , things have taken a turn for the worse. 

     Accusations of financial difficulties, lawsuits, disgruntled clients, even porn purchases! So far, the mud has only started it’s oozy slide in the Mayoral race, and only between some supporters of two of the four Mayoral candidates, former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis, and former Lt. Colonel Earl Rynerson. 

     The Candidates themselves both say it’s all ridiculous, and they just want to be judged on their merits, but so far, they haven’t been able to keep rogue supporters in check.


                            Earl Rynerson                                                                  Dean Trantalis


     For starters, both candidates are openly gay, and it appears that some of their fans think there’s just not enough room in this town for two “First Gay Mayors of Fort Lauderdale”. That brawl played out last week in the comment section of an unrelated post on this blog. To read all those comments,  click  here –  http://blog.timsmith.com/2008/12/21/picture-caption-contest-winners.aspx#Comment  .    

Now it’s gotten even uglier. An e-mail is being circulated entitled “The Truth about Earl Rynerson” . Let’s just say it not so flattering! 

     It purports to be from an avowed Trantalis supporter and states that “I feel I can’t sit by and let a good man like Dean Trantalis be dragged through the mud”, and then does it’s own dragging of Rynerson.

     Let’s hope this is a momentary lapse, that it’s not just the tip of the iceberg, and things will soon get back to civility. But don’t hold your breath while waiting!


Picture Caption Contest Winners!

     There are WINNERS in the Picture Caption Contest !  …. And I must say, we do have some very witty readers! …..Quite the comedians!

     We had 20 readers submit 27 Captions. I had trouble figuring out how to pick the winners, so I went to a tried a true source, my wife Cindy.

     I read Cindy each caption entry as they came in and put the laugh meter on her. Cindy has a great sense of humor (after all, she’s stayed with me for the last 30 years!). Here are the pics again with the winning captions that made Cindy chuckle the best. You can read all the captions by scrolling down to the original post and clicking on “view comments”. See if you agree with our picks!

                                   “I’ve pulled over, so it’s safe to talk now!”
                                                                               submitted by Vicki Eckels



                            HEH, HEH, I Gave Him the Love-Gretsas Potion
                                                                             submitted by Marge Anderson     

     Winners will receive dinners for two, (at a cheap local restaurant of their choice !)…. Thanks for participating!  We’ll have to do that again !   …….. Tim         

New Commission Candidate Could Shake-Up Field

     His name is George Trodella.

     Yesterday, he filed to run for the Fort Lauderdale District IV Commission seat. The City’s primary is in February 2009, and if no one wins 50% of the vote then, the top two vote getters will advance to the General Election in March 2009.  The District IV seat is currently held by Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson. Hutchinson is term limited and was running for Mayor until she dropped her bid a few months ago.

     Trodella is a Rio Vista resident and lives about half way between Mayor Jim Naugle and another District IV Commission candidate, Romney Rogers. The other candidates in the race so far are Coleman Prewitt and Jim Lewis.

     His entry into the fray is deemed significant by most insiders, who suspect that he might take votes from neighbor Romney, who many thought was pulling ahead in the District IV race. Trodella says his other neighbor Mayor Naugle was “initially supportive” of him running when he spoke to him in January, but that was “before Romney got into the race”. His doesn’t know who Naugle will back now, but Trodella says he will “take votes where he can find them”.

     Trodella is a 62 year old businessman (owner of Positive ID USA, an ID Card company on Miami Road), and has been a resident  for about 40 years. He also owned the Fort Lauderdale Hotel on the 17th Street Causeway, until he tore it down some years back.

     He has an extensive resume of service in the community. He was first appointed to the Beach Advisory Board by Mayor Rob Dressler, who served as Mayor before Mayor Bob Cox, who served as Mayor before Naugle. Since then, he has served on the Housing Authority, the Planning and Zoning Board, and currently serves on the Citizens Police Review Board, appointed by Naugle, but will step down to run.

     He says he reached out to the District’s Homeowners groups by letter earlier this year to see what they felt were the main problems in the City. He says they talked mostly about Code issues, slow Police Response Times, and the [proverbial] potholes issues.  He thinks the City “needs direction”, and says he understands the substantial challenge he is asking to take on.

     As for his chances to win, he seems to like them fine. He says the candidate field now consists of a perennial candidate (Lewis), a candidate that moved into the District to run (Prewitt), and a candidate that touts his “native born status” (Rogers). He says that while he can appreciate that, the status doesn’t provide Rogers “a birthright” to the City Commission.

     It’s a bit late for an entry into the political battle, but if he gets aggressive with his candidacy, Trodella  could have a big effect on the outcome.


Picture Caption Contest !

     Sometimes a picture comes along that calls for that “special” caption! You know, one of those rare pictures that are worth over a thousand words!

     I recently took two such pictures that I think fall into that “special” category. So, I need some help. The pictures are below and this is your mission…… Look them over…… 

     Come up with the best caption …. and you win! ………..It’s as easy as that…… Just press “comment” at the end of the blog post and send in your witty caption…… Now, I know many of you are quite witty, but never comment  because you’d rather stay incognito, so just make up a fake – name, and don’t even add your e-mail address! Even I won’t know who you are!…….. have fun! ….Tim

     P.S. …..You ask “what will I win?”………  well let’s see the value of the contributions first !

#1 – Car crash that happened today on North Dixie Highway. That’s the driver on his cell!

                                        missing caption

 #2 –
Fort Lauderdale Mayoral Candidate Jack Seiler and City Manager George Gretsas

missing caption

                   …………    ok, send in those captions!

Unfinished Business

     The current Fort Lauderdale City Commission will be out of a job in March, 2009.

     Term Limits, that I first proposed over a decade ago when I was a City Commissioner, finally kick in. It’s sometimes hard to believe, but the era of Jim Naugle, with his nearly 25 years on the City Commission, will be over – (Yes Virginia, there is a Santa!)

     But lots of unfinished business will surely remain. Below is just a partial list of some of the important things that have not gotten done. Some have been languishing for a long time.
     In all fairness, some of the following issues are very difficult ones. Some are not. Regardless, they will all be waiting for the new City Commission, who will have at least three new members, a majority, that could conceivably get them done. They’re not listed in any particular order.



                                        The international Swimming Hall Of Fame
It’s the City’s biggest and best Public Swimming Facility, world renowned, but old and  tired. It’s built like a fortress to keep the citizens out instead of inviting them in. It will take a lot of consensus and team work for the new City Commission to get this one right.


                                                          The Northbeach Sunrise Lane Area

                                 ………….  It’s the area just south of Sunrise Boulevard and the beach. The latest motif is Tattoo Parlors and Sexy Lingerie. It could be a wonderful beach enclave if the City finds a way to help them bring in adequate parking, sidewalk cafe’s, and a new theme!


       City Owned Lots at NW 7th Avenue and Sistrunk boulevard

                             …………. The City bought the massive acreage decades ago, and a mixed-use development with a grocery store and affordable housing was supposed to have been built. Instead, it’s a shoddy lot with frequent homeless encampments.


                              Durrs Neighborhood Environmental Problems

………….. The Federal Report said you could live safely in the impoverished Durr’s neighborhood just north of the old incinerator, as long as you didn’t walk outside barefoot, smoke in your yard, or grow vegetables (other than in raised planters!)……. anybody want in?


                                           The Courthouse and Judicial Campus             

                     …………….  It’s been talked about for decades. A Judicial Campus – with the County  and Federal Courthouses, and the State building all in the same area. It’s planned to be located near the current decrepit County Courthouse. The City will have to lead the way if this multi-jurisdictional effort has any chance of really happening.


sp;                  The South Andrews Business District


………….  The business people along this corridor have been pushing for years to upgrade their area. They have developed plans that mostly just sit on a shelf in City Hall. A strong push could make this a dynamic area bordered by the Courthouse at one end and the Broward General County Hospital at the other.


                             Beachlot at the Las Olas Bridge and the Intracoastal

                             …………..  It was supposed to be a European style mixed use project but the developer got a little greedy and the anti-development forces at the beach got a lot crazy …. the rest of us got nothing but this trash strewn lot.



                             ……….    The State’s been promising it to us for years. Pompano got theirs. Hollywood got theirs! Where’s ours? The City will need to be vigilant or our sand will end up in the budget cut sand pail


                                              The 13th Street Corridor

………..  The City dumps a bundle of money every year sending Cops to this one mile crime corridor to keep the criminals and dopers at bay. Redevelopment is the real answer. A commitment to make it happen is needed.


                                                 Police Station

………     The City has been talking about a new Police Station to replace the worn out one on Broward Boulevard for a least a decade. It was built about the time this picture was taken!There’s been talk of selling off the land the current one is on and building a new Station in a more appropriate location.                                     

                          …….. Here’s wishing our new leaders lots of luck in advance!

Don’t Blink Or You Might Miss The Meeting!

     The Citizens who pay attention to what the Fort Lauderdale City Commission does, or doesn’t do, have had to pay close attention lately. 

     That’s because the meetings have been so short, that if those Citizens take a bathroom break, they’ll probably miss the whole meeting!

                                                         Ready to Jump and Run?

        Yesterday’s Conference Session, the twice monthly daytime meeting where Commissioners are supposed to discuss the City’s problems and bring forward new initiatives, lasted only 32 minutes, probably a City record. Most of the Commissioners spend more time commuting to the meetings than that.

     The evening meeting, a formal meeting called the Regular Meeting, where the Commissioners vote on Ordinances and Resolutions and hold Public Hearings, lasted only 47 minutes. The Regular meeting two weeks ago lasted only 45 minutes!

     At yesterdays rate, if they just attended the meetings, the Mayor and his Commissioner’s  salaries would work out to be about $1590.00 an hour.

     Some City watchdogs point to the brevity of the meetings as evidence that the Commissioners are not tending to the City’s needs, but just rushing in for a short meeting and leaving the City’s’ bureaucrats to take on all the heavy lifting. They say that there are multitudes of issues facing the City that need full-time attention from the Policy Makers, not dash-in,dash-out diplomacy. 

     Some others say the brief meetings are a political ploy to keep anything controversial from coming up until the next City election in the Spring, when three of the five on the City Commission will be term limited out .

     Still others say they are satisfied with the short meetings, and prefer the status quo until the new Commission is elected in the Spring.