Well, for all you political punditers, Fort Lauderdale’s Municipal Primary on Tuesday held few surprises, but the run-off might be getting much more exciting!
It went down Tuesday pretty much as many had expected, though Seiler won the Mayorship with a much greater margin, and Rodstrom kept her seat in the primary while most thought there would be a run-off.
Pundits were divided over the District III race between Adams and Dubose, but Dubose won a resounding victory of 49%, just one point under the threshold for an outright win ( I bet he wished he had made a few more phone calls!!) …… No word yet on who the third and fourth place finishers will back in the run-off.
In District IV, the battle,( as expected), is being waged between the ‘Old Guard’, represented by Romney Rogers (and Naugle and Shaw) and the new kid on the block, Coleman Prewitt. Again, no word yet on who the third and fourth place finishers will back.
That’s not the case in District I. Incumbent Teel won the Primary, but with only 47% over Roberts 44%. The third place fininsher, Garcia, who grabbed only 8 % of the tally, could be an important voice in the run-off.
Garcia backed Roberts right after the results came in Tuesday night, and in an interview with me this morning, says that a “majority of the voters voted against Teel”. She says she will happily do whatever she can to see to it that Roberts beats Teel in the General Election on March 10th. She says she has lost “total respect” for Teel.
Garcia added that Teel didn’t give “any respect to anyone that challenged her”, that she “shakes hands like a wet fish”, and is too uppity for politics – “isn’t her boat named Ms. Priss ?”.
Looks like I’ll still be in the blog business for awhile!
It’s Election day in Fort Lauderdale.
It’s a very important day, but sadly, a day when only one out of ten voters will take the time to pick the City’s leaders.
The average voter doesn’t see the importance. They figure the “fix is in” ….. or their vote “can’t make a difference” ….. or “they didn’t even know it was happening”, or “they had a dentist appointment” !
But, it was nice to see our City try to drive out a bigger turnout though! …… See picture below!
oops …. never mind…. that is the City of Wilton Manors !!
………. but we do have our engaged Citizens, and some were out in the intersections this morning trying to help their candidates win! ….. (scroll down!)
…………. and the candidates themselves were out working hard ……… (see below!)
Steve Glassman working the phones at Art Serve Polling location
; Charlotte Rodstrom races across traffic for sign holding duty
……….. the results should be rolling in about 8pm this evening……..remember, all candidates will need at least 50% to win outright tonight, or the top two vote getters go into a run-off on March 10th ….
……….. Lastly, we asked all the candidates where they would be tonight, and here is all I was able to find out……..
……….. Seiler will be at the World Famous Parrot Lounge
……….. Rynerson will be a Mcguires Pub
……….. Roberts says he will be walking neighborhoods until the last minute
……….. Glassman will be at the Pelican Beach Resort
……….. Rodstrom will be at Smith and Jones Grill on Las Olas
……….. Prewitt will be home watching results
……….. Dubose will be at his fraternity house
……….. Elfman will be at his restaurant, Island City Bistro
Tricky business, this endorsement game!
I had almost forgotten a lesson I learned as a City Commissioner. When you take a position on anything, lots of folks on the other side of your decision will not be happy! …. And many of my readers have been reacquainting me with this theory all week!
But as I said in the beginning, I’ve asked to be a leader in our community, and I feel it’s a leaders’ duty to stand up and be counted, even if it hurts, and it probably will!……….but here goes!
…… the donor district …. It’s basically the whole northern part of the City. It starts at that funny intersection of Sunrise Boulevard and US #1 Highway (most people say “at the Gateway Theatre”) and keeps on going until it runs into Pompano Beach.
It is nearly all well – to – do, so it sends off many more tax dollars than it gets back. Some of it’s residents resent that, and fiscal conservatism is an important part of any politicians’ schtick there.
The incumbent is Commissioner Christine Teel. If reelected, she will be the longest serving member of the new Commission. Her challengers are former Police Chief Bruce Roberts, and local condo lawyer Inger Garcia.
………… I’m supporting Bruce Roberts ……… and here’s why;
First, I think it’s time for Commissioner Teel to retire from politics.
……… Commissioner Teel hasn’t been able to control the City Budget. She has reigned over the largest City budget explosion in Fort Lauderdale history. The year prior to her election in 2003, the City’s budget was around $340 million. But in the last six years, the budget has grown to a staggering $605 million.
Also, she seems burned out to me. Speaking from experience, I believe the 9 year tenure of Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners is too long to serve. No new initiatives seem to come from her, and she seems content to sit behind the City Management, instead of leading them.
It’s time for a fresh face. It could be said that Roberts is not that, having been a career Cop for 35 years in Fort Lauderdale, but I think his platforms of more citizen involvement, and organizing the Citizenry to create a new VISION for our future is quite appealing.
Inger Garcia is a tenacious lawyer, but needs some time in City Boards to learn before running for office again.
District II …. !
I was the Commissioner for this District from 1997 through 2003!
It’s the oddest of all the Political Districts. It is so diverse, that it is split between the City’s wealthiest and the City’s poorest. It runs from the beach to Powerline Road, and includes the powerful beach lobby, the largest gay population, the Las Olas elite, some of Downtown, and most of the City’s Haitians.
Some of the old-timers tell me that when Districting began in the City, all the power brokers were located in the other areas, so they just picked what they wanted and called the left-overs District II.
When I was a Commissioner, I often joked that it was the “Bermuda Triangle” of political districts, because politicians often flew in and were never heard of again! (at least not in a good way!)
This go round, I’m supporting Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom.
And I realize that as Ricky Ricardo often said to Lucy …. I got some ‘splainin to do!”
So here goes:
It’s surely been quite the bizarre race.
Steve Glassman, one of the biggest beach Kahunas, was instrumental in successfully organizing beach voters for Rodstrom’s election in 2006. Now he says he was wrong, and is running hard to replace her. He has run a very effective campaign, and is Rodstrom’s only real threat. The beach vote will probably swing soundly Glassman’s way this time around.
So Rodstrom needs to capture a sizable part of the rest of the district, Victoria Park, and the important 13th Street corridor vote to keep her seat. But Glassman knows that too, and he has been spending a good deal of effort trying to prove to those communities that he’s not just a beach guy, and he’s collected a substantial amount of support there.
Now, to Rodstrom’s credit, she has been trying feverishly for the last three years to prove to the non-beach vote that they were wrong in not backing her in 2003. She has consistently moved their issues along, stayed in touch, attended their meetings, even furnished many of her constituents with her cell phone number. And in her most important issue yet, she has moved the CRA expansion to 13th Street effort to the County Commission next Tuesday for a vote. If it passes there, it will be a big win for her district.
But it’s fair to say that otherwise, Rodstrom hasn’t been all that successful in her first term. She hasn’t seemed to get the hang of the necessity of political give and take. She was often the only vote against things, and in political reality, that gets your constituents nowhere!
She often casts blame on City Manager George Gretsas, or her dysfunctional Commission (which they were!). But there will be new Commission in March, and maybe Rodstrom will have more luck with a new team that plays well together. If she doesn’t find the support to replace Gretsas among them, she’ll have to find a way to make amends and work with him.
So, in the balance, and in my humble opinion, Rodstrom deserves three more years.
If Glassman wins, he will surely be an important part of the new Commission. If not, he should stay involved in the whole of District II and wait for another chance.
Tim Note:….. After this piece was published tonight, I got some feedback that I didn’t give Howard Elfman, the third candidate in the race, a fair shake……. I do believe that Elfman has been gaining for the last few weeks, but just how much is yet to be known!
District III ………..
It’s the part of our City ( 25%), that has been left behind.
It houses most of our poorest residents, has a skyrocket crime rate, is riddled with ramshackle buildings, and contains the remains of years ago trash dumps with dangerous levels of carcinogens. It was the portion of the City reserved for black folks, and remains that way today.
It was represented fiercely by firebrand Commissioner Carlton Moore for twenty years, who ran unsuccessfully for County Commission that ended his political career a few months back.
The temporary Commissioner ( Dr. Magdalene Lewis) , who was appointed to fill Moore’s seat for the remainder of his term, is currently a candidate for the permanent seat.
But in this race, I strongly support Bobby Dubose.
I met Dubose last summer, when we met up at Sistrunk Boulevard’s Soul Food Diner, Betty’s. I was immediately impressed. Dubose grew up off Sistrunk, left for college, and returned! He’s smart, pleasant, and committed to fixing the ills of the area he grew up in. He’ll be much less aggressive than Moore was, but with Naugle gone, his friendly nature and passion for the District might be enough.
Much of the smart money is on Pamela Adams, a bright development professional, who is supported by Moore. She is most capable, but is a newcomer in the area, and might have difficulty forging the needed alliances to succeed.
Also in the race is Nadine Hankerson, a long time native that will probably garnish a fair amount of the long time residents.
……….. back in a bit!……..thanks, Tim
District IV is the southern part of the city.
It takes in most of the Downtown, the southern-most portion of the beach, and the 17th Street Causeway neighborhoods. It rolls through upscale Rio Vista and wanders past historic Sailboat Bend.
Then it heads south and west up Davie Boulevard and ends up at the City’s southern boundary by the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
The seat has belonged to term-limited Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson for the past nine years. The race to decide her replacement seems close.
Many race watchers think it might be boiling down to a match-up between Romney Rogers and Coleman Prewitt.
Rogers is old school, Prewitt is the new comer.
I’m supporting Prewitt. ……………….. and here’s why!
……….. Prewitt’s been very impressive on the campaign trail. He’s exceedingly bright, and has been demonstrating a solid grasp of all the issues. He talks about his ” four-point plan”, a road map for Fort Lauderdale’s future. And, he has the support of many of the neighborhood leaders in the District.
I’ve watched many of the debates, and interviewed both men, and in my opinion, Prewitt has stood out as the most passionate, well prepared, and thoughtful candidate of the group.
Rogers is also a most impressive citizen, and a sincere man. He has given much of his life to altruistic endeavors, but seems to represent the past of Fort Lauderdale instead of the future. He has been endorsed by political giants Jim Naugle and E. Clay Shaw. If Rogers wins, he will make a most capable Commissioner.
Also in the race are Jim Lewis, a locally infamous attorney with a folksy anti-development campaign, and George Trodella, a local businessman who hasn’t seemed to catch much fire.
…………. thanks, I’ll be back with more soon! ……………….. Tim
The City Elections are just one week away.
……………………….. (in Fort Lauderdale!)
It starts with a Primary next Tuesday, February 10th, and if the candidates don’t reach at least 50% plus one, then the top two vote getters in each race move on to a General Election on March 10th.
I’ve decided to tell you who I’m backing! ….. and why!
It’s a most important election for Fort Lauderdale. Term limits kick in for the first time in Fort Lauderdale’s 98 year history (can everybody say thanks Tim! ) …. and at least a majority (3) of the City Commissioners will be brand – spanking new!
Citizen leaders are talking new direction, vision, leadership.
So even though it might be smarter and safer for me to sit back and see who wins, I decided it’s my responsibility and civic duty is to sound off. So here I go!
……… in the Mayor’s race
….. I’m supporting Jack Seiler ……
We have four choices to pick from, and in my humble opinion, Seiler stands out. Here’s why;
First, …….. he has a substantial political track record, nearly blemishless. He has built himself a solid State-wide reputation as a respectful man, a team builder, and a capable public servant.
After decades of the divisive, controversial, and combative Mayor, Jim Naugle, Seiler seems to be the perfect counterpoint.
Second, …….. like all the King’s horses and all the King’s men, the pressure will quickly be on Seiler to pull the City back together again. To accomplish that, he’ll need to bring everyone to the table to find a way to settle some long standing flashpoints, not limited to …….. how much development is the right amount for the City?, …… how do we make our diverse population feel included and respected?, …… how do we bring the long suffering NorthWest into the success story called Fort Lauderdale?
I think Seiler just might have the “right stuff” to pull it off. If he does, nothing will stop him from reaching even greater heights in the world of politics in the future.
We are lucky to have other Candidates of high caliber running for Mayor also. Let’s hope former Commissioner Dean Trantalis finds a way to stay involved and relevant if he doesn’t win. He’s quite capable, smart and has a devoted following.
And Earl Rynerson has come a long way from near local obscurity to lightening rod in just a few short months. He should also stay involved if he doesn’t win. His gutsy demeanor, and passion to stop government from wasting tax dollars could come in quite handy over the next few years.
Steve Rossi found his voice late in the process, but came up with some interesting ideas.
I’ll be back to discuss the District Commissioner races next! …………. thanks, …. Tim