Candidate Jackie Scott’s McMansion Problem!

     City Commission Candidate Jackie Scott, a well known neighborhood protectionist and activist, builds and sells McMansions!   

Can it be true?


     Scott has a public image as a dragon slayer. She has been in the news countless times fighting developers, saving historic homes about to be demolished, railing against the so -called mega-homes – mega mansions – McMansions!

     Problem is –  she has built and sold many of those “monstrosities” herself.

     Just a few days before entering the District IV political race against incumbent Commissioner Romney Rogers, Scott said this – “we’re constantly inundated with development issues, people wanting to come in and build too much, too high, too big”

      But here is a picture of the house that Scott had built for herself….

                                   5 bedroom/3 bath .. 3200 sq. ft. $1,499,000
                               ( sub zero fridge – dog bath – 16,000 lb. boat dock!)

     Scott had knocked down a much smaller home in Victoria Park a few years back, and built this beauty. She sold the house once, a few years ago, and is currently trying to sell it again for the new owners.

     And the developers, the ones that Scott is known to criticize for building the big homes, have also been her friends.

      Scott was one of the first realtors who sold the larger homes for the poster boy of McMansions, Glenn Wright. Wright’s carbon copy two story homes are most often cited by critics of the large homes that are shoe-horned onto small lots in the older neighborhoods. Wright was arrested for taking money from a civic association a few years ago.

                                            Glenn Wright  


     A story in the Sun Sentinel  during the height of the economic boom that fueled the building of the Wright homes, had Scott quoted – 
     [“Many of those unhappy with the “monster homes” paint Wright as a rapacious villain. He says he’s just filling a need. The existing homes in Rio Vista and Victoria Park are small scale and not large enough for a family.
     Scott says the demand is red-hot. She tells a story about selling the first of Wright’s homes in Rio Vista for $599,000 to a family who relocated from Jacksonville. Three months later, the husband switched jobs. Scott listed the house for $699,000 and it sold within an hour.
     “There was someone waiting to take their place,” she said. “That’s how it’s been.” 

     Scott was also quoted just a few weeks back, talking about her Colee  Hammock neighborhood possibly becoming a historical district – “it would prevent people from coming into an area and start ripping things down and creating McMansions

     But if you are looking for one of those McMansions, fear not, Scott currently has the McMansion pictured below, listed in another neighborhood for a bargain $949,000.


Questions for the Candidates

     I’m going to ask each of the candidates for the Fort Lauderdale City Commission some questions and post them here on the blog….If you have other questions you’d like to see them answer, post them as a comment and I’ll see if they have a response…


     The first victim , is District II candidate Michael Ferber…. 

                                  here are his questions and answers

     Michael …..I’m writing about the District II race, and here are a few questions for you…

1.) What made you run?  … What makes you feel the current Commissioner, Charlotte Rodstrom, needs to be replaced?….

     Ferber’s answer  …

     I feel like Noah of the Old Testament, I see a financial flood for the City coming. We’re not prepared. I respect all the members of the Commission ( I’ve enjoyed a friendship with Jack Seiler, Charlotte Rodstrom, and Bruce Roberts for ten years or more). Commissioner Rodstrom has opposed budgets and I applaud that. Nevertheless, a culture of “play along to get along” exists. They’re kicking the financial can down the road. We need to be brutally honest in our budget process. I won’t hesitate to speak the harsh truth to citizens.

2.) What would your agenda be once you become Commissioner…

     Ferber’s answer  ….

Economic vitality secures our families and neighborhoods. Private sector commerce is the lifeblood. Despite years of talk about “right-sizing”…… the scope of City government grows. As a resident since 1971, I recall when Fort Lauderdale ran a very tight financial ship. I would seek to limit the activities of the City government to the essential tasks that it alone can perform. I would seek to eliminate many “bells and whistles”. I respect the City workers who are represented by unions, however, I will not seek any union endorsements as this creates a conflict.

3.) What is your position on the low income towers that were slated for your neighborhood….

     Ferber’s answer …

     I oppose “low income towers”. Fortunately, these weren’t proposed. 3 sites sought a CRA commitment. This was to enhance their chances of obtaining tax credits to build what is more precisely called “workforce housing”. Quality housing for hardworking employees of Broward General and other downtown employers is a longstanding goal of our Land Use Plan. In the long run, Flagler Village will be a great high value neighborhood. I anticipate some excellent new developments being announced soon. There are still vacant sites; the code includes many “of-right” uses. Every time quality housing is built, it uses up a site that could potentially be the location of a legally permitted but less favored use.

Dirty Politics ….. Exposed

     Dirty Politics are in play in the Fort Lauderdale Mayoral race.

      Today was the last day to file as a candidate for the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.

     In the Mayoral race, as expected, incumbent Mayor Jack Seiler had registered to run for re-election, and his nemesis, Earl Rynerson, also registered. We all thought that would be it, two mayoral candidates, with Rynerson trying to make the case that Seiler should be replaced.


     But at the last minute, an unknown, Gabriel Crimi, showed up to register as a mayoral candidate, with just fifteen minutes until the registration ended. Everyone that follows these things said “who in the hell is Gabriel Crimi?

     After some investigation by me (and others), things began to smell.

     Crimi had contributed to Rynerson in Rynerson’s last try at mayor in 2009. Had Crimi abandoned Rynerson and was giving running for mayor a try himself?

     The answer was no.

He had been put up to run by Rynerson. With three candidates in the race, the elections would require a primary, and that would take place at the same time as the Republican Presidential Primary, in January.
     ( I’ve been told by others that they were approached by Rynerson to act as that sham candidate, but declined.)
The theory was that Rynerson had a set image as a budget hawk, ready to slash and burn a bloated City budget. The Republican primary voters would like that and give Rynerson a better chance to defeat the popular incumbent Seiler.


       I called Rynerson who didn’t have time to talk. I tried calling Crimi, just voice mail. So I decided to take a ride to his address he used on his mayoral registration form.

     It was already dark when I found his house. I had a little trepidation, but I walked up to the door and knocked.


     When he opened the door, I introduced myself as Tim Smith, the former Commissioner who writes a citywide blog on Fort Lauderdale. I asked if he was Gabriel Crimi, the guy who is running for Mayor. He said he was, that he had met me before, and he seemed to be getting nervous.

     I said “well let me take a quick picture of you”, and he smiled. [sorry for the blur, I didn’t think of taking two !]

    Then I asked, “are you a real candidate, or a sham candidate for Earl Rynerson”. 

    Crimi seemed to know the gig was up. “Actually, I’m on the way to meet up with Earl and Thornie (former Victoria Park President and Rynerson supporter) right now”, and we’re going to talk about just that”!

     I asked if his running for Mayor was a put up job, just to force the race into a primary for Earl’s benefit, and that he would end up  supporting Rynerson.”We’re going to talk about that too”, he said.

     I left him looking perplexed and troubled, probably realizing he had been used as a dupe, and I drove home to share this ugly political tale with you.

     I suspect I’ll have a talk with Ryerson and Thornie soon, and I’ll let you know what they say….

More Challengers For All !

     What looked like an easy ride to an unopposed re-election effort for most of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, became 

                          a little more difficult at the deadline today.   

     Mayor Seiler has two opponents – Earl Rynerson and  Gabriel Crimi

     Commissioner Roberts
has one – Mary Graham

     Commissioner Rodstrom
has two  – Lester Zalewski and Mike Ferber

     Commissioner Rogers
has one – Jackie Scott

     Commissioner Dubose
has none

                    ……… much more to come !

Romney Rogers Draws Challenge

     She’s an infamous figure in Fort Lauderdale political circles, and she filed to run against District IV City Commissioner Romney Rogers a few minutes ago.

                             Romney Rogers                         VS.             

     Scott is a former President of the City’s  Council of Civic Associations, and was in the news for the last few weeks saving an historical house, the Shippey House, from the wrecking ball. Scott also made news this weekend, talking about getting her neighborhood declared a historic zone.

     Scott has been critical of Rogers, and fought a long battle to stop the First Presbytarian Church  from building a new center she felt was too big. The Church and the neighborhood came to an agreement on a new plan a few months back.

     It looked for a while that Scott’s neighborhood would be written out of the Rogers District, but the redistricting plan still has not be completed.

     Scott should be a formidable opponent.

Rodstrom’s Competition Files

     Lester Zalewski just filed his papers to run against incumbent Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom.

             Rodstrom                      vs.             Zalewski

Zalewski just called me from City Hall to let me know he filed, but I spent the most time talking to his treasurer, Chris Beck. Chris is an accomplished fiction writer –  ( his pen name is C.J.Beck).

     He told me Zalewski was a “serious, committed candidate”. He says Zalewski believes that you “don’t have to go head to head” with the development community, that you can work with them. He says Zalewski is definitely “more pro-redevelopment” than Rodstrom, though he says only “reasonable development”. He says he’ll see to it that developers keep their prospective development sites in good condition while they wait to build.

     Beck says Zalewski was involved in building redevelopment in Chicago, owned a well known sports shop there,  and serves on the Board of Directors of the Illini condo on the beach, as well as serving as Vice President of the Central Beach Alliance.

     Beck says they hope they are invited to neighborhood associations all over District II,  though they understand they have little time to campaign, the election coming at the beginning of the new year.

      Also, Beck says they will be running a positive campaign, no mud slinging.
      No word yet if Rodstrom has agreed to that !

Five Shots to the Gut for Duffle

     I met Duffle during a neighborhood clean-up last weekend.

     While I was pulling weeds, mulching, and chatting with my fellow weed puller Mayor Jack Seiler, Duffle decided to join in ( the chatting, not the working!)

     “Hey Smif”, ( that’s what the thug world calls me along 13th street).

         Smif    (Cal Deal photo)

     ” Hey”, I replied back.

     “you remember me, I’m duffle”, he says

     “I know, like the bag”, I chortle
     “wanna see my shots?”, he asks

     At first, I thought he was asking if I wanted to see his shorts, but they were in clear view. So I said, kind of unsure, … “sure”.

     Then he pulled up his shirt –

     “oh my god duffle” I said ….  “what the hell is that?”

     “that’s my shots five in the gut”

     “wanna see where they came out the back”, he continued.

     Before I could say no, he turned around.


     “just missed the spine”

     I was aghast, the Mayor too.

     ” drug deal?” …. I wisped

     ” no, ova sum hoe,” he declared kinda proudly.

     …. he walked away, while I mumbled under my breath

     “god I hate the ghetto


Who’s With Gretsas in Homestead?

     We all know that former Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas was hired as City Manager in Homestead, Florida after leaving Fort Lauderdale.
     But do we know who followed him there ?
                                 Homestead Gretsas

     Well, here’s a clue – 

    … at least these two followed George … both were Assistant City Managers in Fort Lauderdale (and one of them was a City Manager here) …. now, both are Assistant City Managers to George in Homestead!

                                 scroll down   … ( just for effect)


Homestead Hebert

                                                                               Homestead Love

      I’ve put in a call to both  …. if by miracle they call back,
                                           I’ll let you know how they’re doing..


Commissioner Aurelius on Chickens

     I received the curious e-mail (below) from former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner  John Aurelius. It’s about chickens.

            Aurelius in hat

     Aurelius served from 1991 to 1999, voted into office after Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Doug Danziger resigned in a prostitution sex scandal. 

     I think Aurelius ranks as one of the most productive Commissioners
to ever serve ( after me , of course

                  Here’s Aurelius’s e-mail

Dear Tim:

     I was disappointed to read the morning news the city commission was not proceeding with allowing chickens as household pets or otherwise.
     My disappointment lies in the fact that it is my belief that the City of Fort Lauderdale would need a Game Warden, and I was going to volunteer for this position.
     I was going to point out that I took a course in animal husbandry, have two cats as pets, had extensive knowledge of the Rose Drive peacocks, iguanas living in my backyard, had recently visited Animal Kingdom in Orlando and Zoo Miami with my granddaughter and had knowledge of the border collies abilities to herd sheep.

     I do believe my credentials would have easily entitled me for consideration to the appointment.

Cordially yours.


John E. Aurelius, Esq.
4367 North Federal Highway, Suite 101
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308
Telephone: 954-772-8222
Facsimile: 954-772-8759

                               I love this hobby ! …. Tim