What’s Your Vision Of Fort Lauderdale?

     What’s  your Vision? 

     You might soon be asked that question by the brand new Fort Lauderdale City Commission.
     You see, this year is a special year for our City. We will finally elect a new City Commission with at least a majority of new faces, due to the first ever Term Limit law.
      Also, our 100th birthday is just around the corner (in 2011). That makes the timing just right to regroup, and/or reaffirm our Plans for the Future of Fort Lauderdale
.A great time to figure out just what we want to be when we grow up.

   Plus, the idea of holding that big meeting of Citizens to talk about the future of the City is being pushed by at least two different groups. The “Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations ” ( a collection of the City’s neighborhoods)  and, an “Ad Hoc” committee, made up primarily of former Mayors/Commissioners and Business leaders, and led by former Mayor Rob Dressler,  have been meeting for months to formulate proposals to do just that.

     These kind of questions could be discussed at such a meeting (but there are hundreds of others). Note: [ In 1994, a few hundred Citizens created a  Visioning Document called New Century – New City. It could be helpful to see what great ideas surfaced then, and if they were ever implemented.] ….. We’re talking about these kinds of issues, below;

Should there be more to do at the beach… Should there be a Pier, an Amphitheater, more events,  a new Swimming Facility, different zoning to stop more Condos, or Hotels, or big buildings? And if so …. , why, what, where, and when?…. Maybe even how and who. 

                                                             Las Olas at A1A
How much responsibility do we all have as a City to get the North West and other rough parts of the City on the mend? ….At What Cost?. …To Who? … and How?

                                                                blighted neighborhoods
What to do with Lockhart Stadium, the Airports and Ports, the City Government… Should there be more Community Policing, is the Downtown moving in the right direction?  You get the picture. 


     Sure, lofty questions, but important questions…… and the timing couldn’t be better. And we have the brain power in this community to do it.

     So, to get to the point of this blog posting, I’ve been asked by the Dressler group for My Vision of how I think our Visioning session should be conducted, as I’ve said that I think their current proposal needs tweaking (Dressler’s plan takes 6 months and costs the City budget $100,000 !)  I have another idea! … First,  I think this process should cost the City nothing but in-kind help……….  It shouldn’t be hard to get enough private donations to accomplish this as a grassroots week-end.  How about something like this;    

     We ask our new, (hopefully fearless) leaders to pick one hundred or two hundred leading Citizens, including them,  to commit to a weekend in early June. They all convene on a Saturday morning at 9 am at a location like Holiday Park, or the Executive Airport, or the Peele Dixie Water plant!


                                                         citizens’ meeting outside
      A professional “facilitating firm” leads a targeted discussion over coffee and donuts and bagels (donated by area businesses). The group then breaks down in about four or five groups and further discusses the five issues picked for the day. Notes are taken, themes are identified! 
      At noon, they all board four TMA’s Sun Trolleys and head to the second location. They take their brown bag lunch they brought with them from home and sit on blankets at George English, or Stranahan, or the Galt  (or use the War Memorial in case of rain) and listen to some experts talk (while the attendees eat) about things like – how to encourage Community Shopping Districts, or the state of the City’s Water, Wastewater, and Buildings, or the future workforce, or what economic opportunities the City might have.

     Break -out group discussions continue for the afternoon with topics ranging from “how the City should involve themselves with the City’s schools“, to ” how we could control the homeless issues better” , to ” should we bring back the Air and Sea Show, or Cydeco,or Octoberfest!” 

     About 4pm, it’s back on the bus and off to the Ocean at Las Olas, or South Beach, to finish the day with a beach bonfire, hot dog/hamburger, open microphone, a toes in the sand or surf  kind of Mega Citizen Advisory Board meeting  ……… where an overview of the days work, and the issues for the following day (voting day) are boiled down and agreed upon.

     Sunday, 2 pm, everyone meets at the donated Riverside Hotel Ballroom, or the Convention Center, or the Broward Center, where they snack on donated goodies and share in open discussion and then forge consensus on an updated document …….One Fort Lauderdale, … a Plan for Fort Lauderdale’s Future……. it’s been a long weekend. but a good start.

    ………. from there, the hard work begins!

     Note: Please comment on this process, and if you’d like to be involved, you can send me a private e-mail to Tim@TimSmith.com




Much More On Politics and Religion!

     Remember when Mom advised –  “please don’t talk about politics or religion at the dinner table”?

     She said it would ruin appetites, and lead to discussion, (or something only slightly resembling discussion!)

     Well, she was right. It certainly does get the fur up! And the current manifestation of Mom’s well known axiom is currently playing out in the District IV Fort Lauderdale Commissioner race.

      It pits religious conservative Romney Rogers against liberal new-comer Coleman Prewitt.  Last week, the Roger’s campaign’s “Prayer Coordinator”  sent out an e-mail declaring that “God lifted His mighty hand and allowed Romney to
receive the majority of the vote”, in the primary. The e-mail goes on to plead with supporters to go to the polls on March 10th for the run-off election. It says that God could do His part, but the voters would have to do theirs!

     I reported this on this blog and it drew a lot of attention, to say the least.

     And this evening, an activist,  District IV resident Cal Deal,  has sent around his own comment on the matter, in graphic splendor. 

     But he sent me only a piece of his graphic comment………. Here that is……..


     …….. He says you’ll have to go to his site to get the full view…… If you’re interested, go to http://www.fortlauderdaleobserver.com 

     If only we’d listen to Mom !!!!

Betrayal By A County Commissioner

     As we travel down the road of life, we learn lessons, some the hard way.

  One Certainty!

And one of the most painful lessons we learn, is that you can’t always trust what some tell you!

Most of us learned early on when we tried the “my dog ate the homework” excuse, and the teacher gave us an “F” anyhow!  Then we learned that when the dentist said “It’ll be just a little prick”,  we should steel ourselves for pain!. And when we started buying our automobiles from the car dealership, we learned that the used car salesman only sold cars that were “only driven on Sunday’s by little old ladies”!

Yesterday, a new life lesson was learned by a group of  Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods and a Business Association trying to find a solution to the problems surrounding NE/NW 13th Street.

They were at the County Commission meeting, pushing for an extension of Fort Lauderdale’s Community Redevelopment Agency. The agency’s borders stopped at Sunrise Boulevard, and they knew if they could get it pushed north to 13th Street, help could be on the way.

Enter the area’s County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion.


     In the weeks prior to the meeting, the area reps had started a discussion with Eggelletion, as he was their Commissioner. He had told them “not to worry”, he would shepherd it through. So imagine the shock when Eggelletion started the conversation at the County meeting by opposing the effort!

Lucky for the neighborhoods, County Vice Mayor Ken Keechl and County Commissioner John Rodstrom jumped in to help. They spoke strongly against Eggelettion’s contrary position, and all but Eggelletion postured in favor and the neighborhood and business group left victorious, and thrilled, but understandably angry with Eggelletion.

Life lesson for Josephus: For your next campaign, don’t wait for the check to be in the mail!

Top That Endorsement!

     It’s the campaign support that most candidates could only dream about !

     The Heavenly Father’s !

And it’s happening right here in Fort Lauderdale’s District IV, the southern portion of the City, according to a memo sent out by the Romney Rogers campaign prayer team coordinator! 

     The memo follows:

 Romney Rogers Campaign Prayer
 Written by Barbara Moody

Date: February 16, 2009

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all your prayers. God lifted His mighty hand and allowed Romney to receive the majority of the vote. However, we are still not finished with this election. Please take action and vote in the run-off election on March 10th. God will always do His part, but we must do ours. The best plan of action: (1) Tell you neighbors to vote! (2) Volunteer to take one street and distribute flyers. (3) Write a personal letter endorsing Romney and leave it at your neighbor’s door. PLEASE BECOME INVOLVED!

” The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord. He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases. All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (A portion of this prayer is taken from the Presidential Prayer Team Website.)

Heavenly Father, You have laid out the oceans and rivers, the mountains and the valleys; You set the planets on their paths and You know the name of every star in the universe. Please Lord, give us elected officials here in Broward County whose hearts are attuned to You. Let them be men and women whose hunger to serve You and do Your will above all else. Protect us, O God, from trusting in our own ways and keep our hearts turned to You so that we will be acceptable to You in all things and in all our ways.

Lord, Your Word says that God will always give what is right to His people who cry out to Him night and day. He will not be slow to answer them (Luke 18:7.) Oh Lord, we are crying out to you and asking for Your mercy. Give us godly leaders who will rule with Your heart and Your laws. Protect us from those who choose to depart from Your love, Your mercy, and Your protection.

Oh Lord, You said that there is not anything that is too difficult for you. Please stir the hearts of Your people to become involved in these next few weeks so that  Your will shall be spoken loud and clear. Lord, you said that for those of us who fear your name the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. Oh Lord, heal our nation, our state, our county and our community. We are totally relying on Your power and Your wisdom.

Protect Romney and his family in these coming weeks. Give us wisdom. We thank You and praise Your name for what You have already accomplished. We give You all the glory, In Jesus mighty and powerful name we pray these things…. AMEN

Barbara Moody

Prayer Team Coordinator

     Any thoughts? …. Tim

Candidate Roberts Released From Hospital

     Former Police Chief Bruce Roberts, who is in a run-off for the District I Commissioner seat with incumbent Commissioner Christine Teel, has been released from the hospital.
                                       Roberts                              Teel
     His campaign spokesman, former Victoria Park President Mark Ketcham, says that Roberts is “doing fine” after a gastrointestinal procedure that had to be performed in the hospital. Ketchum stressed that the condition Roberts suffered from was “not life threatening”, and that he expected Roberts to pick up limited campaign duties immediately.

     Commissioner Teel could not be reached for comment!

More Campaign Signs Fun!

     Note to Candidates: ……..  There really are good reasons to take those campaign signs down soon after the election is over!……..See below!


                                                                 Horny Dean!

Now, I’m wondering like you are; did they get up on the roof and paint the horns upside down, or did they actually set up a ladder  on a public sidewalk on North Federal Hwy. in plain sight for their artistic graffiti art?

    And then there is this:

                                                                  Cooper Crew

     Property magnate Caldwell Cooper sent in this picture of his own crews removing the Glassman signs. He was not too happy about it! … but the one question I have…   how many guys does it take to remove one sign?


Roberts Forced Off Campaign Trail

     I just received this message from the Bruce Roberts campaign:


Bruce is in the hospital, admitted for a procedure that will keep him from campaigning personally for a few days. He knows his Team will be out in full force, and looks forward to being back out on the campaign trail this weekend.

     Bruce’s condition is not life threatening , and he does not have a serious illness, so if those rumors start, please feel free to correct them”    

     The campaign said that Roberts will not be on the Galt for the Governor’s visit tomorrow and wanted to explain why.

PAC Packs Punch Against Teel !

     They have Commissioner Christine Teel  in their sites, and it looks like they are playing hardball.

     Here’s one of their latest mailings that found it’s way into District I mailboxes in the last few days.


                                                    the “Oscar Meyer ” mailing

     The group that is targeting Teel is a “PAC” , or Political Action Committee. It’s called the  “Integrity Counts Committee”. The Pac is addressed to 1314 Las Olas, and was registered by long time political operative Russ Oster. 

     The City of Fort Lauderdale has  very strict campaign finance laws, and Pacs, Unions, and Corporations are forbidden from contributing to campaigns, but PACS can spend their own resources as long as they are not connected to any campaign.

     The Bruce Roberts campaign said they were “shocked” to see the pieces, and had absolutely “nothing to do with them”.

     Oster, who has been stirring the political pot for some years, said this morning that although others in his organization were leading the anti-Teel re-election effort, the reason for the efforts were, “obviously, the problem with the exploding budget”.

      Here is another piece they sent:

                                                           the “dracula mailer”

     Commissioner Teel could not be reached for comment.

     Other local names that contributed to “Integrity Counts Committee” include local attorneys Jon Krupnick, Scott Lieberman, and Russ Adler, lobbyist Ron Book, and local developer Ron Mastriana.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign!

     It’s the scourge of the leftover campaign signs.


     It happens after every election, in every city. The hard fought battle is over, the victor victorious, the losers lament and crawl off to lick their wounds. The signs remain!

  And we’re left to gaze over the scarred battlefields, empty lot after empty lot, until Mother Nature, or the recycler, cleans up the dead!

                                       Even the poor trees can be a casualty!


     It seems better than usual here in Fort Lauderdale after last Tuesday’s election, some signs have already disappeared, but some not! …… Some still survive from Elections Past!

    But there are a few solutions! ……

    One solution is to e-mail the local recycling group Trash to Treasures ….  they say schools like to use the  signs for art projects, and if they get too many, they recycle the plastic. Their e-mail is veckels@gmail.com

     Or, you could do like I did,


                             …………………………. use them for wall art!