Well, I’ll Be Damned !

     I wrote, a few posts back, about former Fort Lauderdale bigshots Allyson Love and David Hebert ending up being Assistant City Managers in Homestead, Florida, working there for their former boss in Fort Lauderdale,  George Gretsas.

   Gretsas in car, Naugle in dog suit

I told you that I called to talk to them about working in Homestead for George, that I’d left a message, and that I’d let you know, “if by some miracle”, they returned the call!

     Now I can officially say that miracles do happen!

    Hello Commissioner, David Hebert said. You called, and you called Allyson Love, and we are both here returning your call. I was surprised.

     We chatted a few minutes, Love said I was always fair, and I told Hebert that he was always honorable in my dealings with him.

     “Bet you won’t put that in your blog”, Hebert said.

     ” I will”, I countered, “but I’ll also say you didn’t belong in the Police Department”, I followed.

     ” That’s OK by me”, he said, but I disagree with you, he added.

      poster about Hebert/Police controversy
                       by Cal Deal 

     We spoke another minute or so, Hebert said the Homestead people were salt of the earth, and Allyson said her commute wasn’t too bad, “just down the turnpike”.

     Now if I could only get Gretsas to return my call !


Incumbency Headaches

     Running for re-election, as an incumbent, has mostly advantages – money, name recognition etc., but it can also have a few disadvantages!

     Meet two of the disadvantages!


     Vicki Eckels and Ray Dettman, both leaders in Fort Lauderdale District IV, don’t back the incumbent’s re-election effort.

     The incumbent, who is just finishing his first term is Romney Rogers.

That’s Rogers on the right with former County Commissioner Jim Scott, who was beaten by challenger Ken Keechl, who was beaten by challenger – now Commissioner Chip LaMarca ( yes, the incumbent doesn’t always win).

     Dettman, who has been a neighborhood President in more than one District IV neighborhood,  says he is backing Roger’s challenger Jackie Scott. 

     Dettman says “I am supporting her because I want Change and Maybe Jackie Scott is the answer, and Jackie Scott has put the time in and deserves a term.” 

Eckels is also backing Scott. She says she wants a Commissioner that “sees the reality of what a large part of their district is experiencing, not just their small comfort zone”.

     Rogers might have to work to gain re-election.


Another Candidate, And His Platform

     His name is Lester Zalewski, and he is running for the District II Commissioner’s seat.


      The seat is currently held by Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom. Rodstrom is running for re-election to the seat.

                               Here are Zalewski’s answers to my questions

     1.) What made you run, what makes you say that the current Commissioner needs to be replaced?

     I want to give back to the place I’ve called home for fourteen years.

     I’ve served overseas in our military. I’ve served on the boards of my condominium and on the Central Beach Alliance where I encouraged more inclusiveness and consensus. That’s my goal on City Commission too.

     When times were good and we needed to slow down six years back, our current commissioner was the right choice. Now times are tough, we need a can-do guy. Someone tough enough to roll their sleeves up and get the growth back. My twenty-five hard-scrabble years growing a million dollar business from scratch makes me the right choice now. A good neighbor who will fight for good neighborhoods in every part of District 2. 

     2.)What would your agenda be if elected?

     I don’t need to tell people times are tough.

     There is going to be an increasingly competitive environment for investment and government dollars. Economic development and re-development is key to all the neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale. We need to make Fort Lauderdale a more attractive place to invest, work, learn and play in.

     I want to encourage responsible re-development. Our building developers need to be good neighbors and beautify and add value to our neighborhoods. There are great examples of local developers who are showing the way already.

     It’s not just about compatible, responsible building re-development. It’s also about bringing in new industry – new jobs – fresh skills, that will boost our economy all year round – not just when the tourists and boaters are here.

     I want to expand Mayor Seiler’s campaign for citizen involvement. We need to increase not just volunteers’ hours but the quality of input.

     I’ve spoken at City Commission and committee and I’ve seen we can make better use of volunteers’ time. But we need to incentivize them – show them that we will act on their input. Committees need to be more than mere talking shops. We need to improve our meeting skills. And the City Commission needs to show our community leaders that their words have value and will lead to action.

     We need a vision for the long term too. One that will prepare us for the competition to our marine and tourism industry from cities in the US and overseas. One that will prepare us for the great challenges in the years ahead. I don’t see that leadership in our master plan. It will be if I’m elected City Commissioner.

     3.)The beach area residents have been conflicted about growth on the beach for some time. What are the issues there, and specifically what would you do about beach redevelopment if elected?

     District 2 is far more than the beach, just as Fort Lauderdale is far more than just District 2.

     Everybody should enjoy the beach. It is also an important economic engine for the city. But let’s not forget those areas that are currently being neglected.

     Walk or cycle the streets and you’ll see abandoned vacant lots – an entire community with no supermarket – unsafe sidewalks – unsafe bike lanes – historic buildings at threat. Send me your list. If elected I will do my best to build consensus to take care of it. E-mail me. lesterzalewski@yahoo.com

     When a group of you want to meet, let me know and we’ll schedule a meeting where you’ll do the talking. I’m going to meet as many of you as possible and hear what concerns you most.

     Help even the odds of the opposition’s big budget and well-oiled political machine and pass on copies of this letter to friends who vote.

     There are people who live in Fort Lauderdale all year round who want to enjoy their neighborhoods day and night, and not walk in fear of being panhandled, mugged or stolen from in their cars or homes. Good neighbors can make for good neighborhoods.

     On the beach I want more consultation and mixed-use thinking so people don’t have to drive over a bridge every time to get supplies.

     The people should be properly consulted on proposals like the Walgreen’s on Las Olas at the beach or the one-bid International Hall of Fame project or linking it to the Bahia Mar development so all of Fort Lauderdale can benefit. Everybody needs to be involved. Not just the special interests.

     Our right to determine the future of our neighborhoods is being lost. Don’t throw your neighborhood away. Make your voice count. Make a note to vote January 31.

     We can be the City Commissioners’ eyes and ears between elections – but Commissioners will take our vote for granted unless we shake ‘em up next month. Show ‘em you care. Make your vote matter. Or it’ll be business as usual. Good neighbors can make for good neighborhoods. A good neighbor gives back and votes. The first step forward is to vote for me, Lester Zalewski, January 31.

And The Next Candidate Is ….

     Mary Graham

     Mary is running for the District I Fort Lauderdale Commission seat, now held by Bruce Roberts. Roberts is also running – for re-election.

     Here is a picture of Mary Graham.


     Here are Graham’s questions and answers.

1.) Why are you running? …

     I am running in order for District One voters to have a choice of leadership for the next 3 years. I will represent their interests as follows in item 2 priorities

     Why do you feel the current Commissioner needs to be replaced?

     The voters are simply getting a choice in 3 districts and for mayor – if they disagree or are not satisfied with decisions and actions by the current commission in the last 2 years 8 months, the choice is theirs to make.

2.) What will be your agenda if elected? … what are your highest priorities?

     First and foremost, preservation of residential neighborhoods; no encroachment/incompatible zoning to the detriment of the neighborhood edges, and no retroactive zoning. Desirable and viable residential neighborhoods throughout the City are imperative for the city to rebound economically, short and long term.

     Second, retaining existing businesses, and those that generate sales tax. For instance, the majority of shoppers in the Northeast of District 1 likely shop in Pompano Beach now at either the Publix or Walmart on US 1. The city lost the revenue of the sales tax AND the monthly FPL franchise fee when Publix relocated from Bayview at US 1 to McNab at US 1. It is not coming back to the City. In my neighborhood further west, we shop at a Publix in Pompano Palm Aire, North Lauderdale or Tamarac, not in Fort Lauderdale. We can and must do more to keep the existing businesses in the City, and will help the City Commission and Manager do so. 
     Third, preservation of parks and open space. These are the People’s Assets, the City’s Assets. It is unacceptable to seize either for a new Fire Station funded by our bond money. County wide we voted for a $200 million dollar Park Bond, and in 2004 a city wide $40 million dollar Fire Station bond. Taking an acre of a park, against the wishes of a neighborhood, whether in District 1 or not, is unacceptable.
     Equally important is ongoing and vigilant oversight of all capital improvements with our tax dollars, i.e. Who is the Tax Payer’s,  Owner’s Rep on the CIP and Bond Projects?
     Lack of oversight or mismanagement with cost over runs means less tax dollars for other projects in the queue.

3.) Does District I receive enough resources compared to the amount they pay in taxes?

     I would want the opportunity to hear from the constituents of all of District One and review the property tax base contributions before answering this.

                                   thanks Mary ….  Tim 


A Few Notes

     It’s going to be a great season for blogging …..  I’m going to be having more fun then ever writing this blog, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it ( and sending in your comments!) 

      I want to thank you all for checking in often, and I want share a few things with you about the blog!

me ( at 16)


         First, I don’t make any money off this blog. None…Nada…Zip !  .. I could, but I don’t. The motives and opinions for each and every story are mine, and I like to keep it that way. In most blogs, you’ll see ads for candidates, movies, products etc. ( Buddy Nevins has Tide Detergent this week! – wonder if they pay him in soap?)

     Second,  The readership of this blog has grown in leaps and bounds since I started in 2008 …. I’ve written 311 posts, ( 194,628 words… yikes, how many words in War and Peace?) and most months I average close to 15,000 people reading the blog.
                             Here is a chart of this weeks views

      You’ve commented on the posts 2524 times. The most prolific commenters over the four years are Anonymous ( many different chickens), with 656, Rita with 156, Ray with 146, Charlie with 127, and Valigator with 93….

      Your favorite posts ( at least the most read) were the piece with Commissioner Rogers head on Adam’s body ( I think it went viral with the Baptists) – over 10,000 hits

                Cal Deal’s masterpiece

 At the Beach With Calvin
– 7927 views –  ( a crazy interview with the 500 pound homeless black man that lives on the sand at the beach and lives for Sausage McMuffins),

  ….   and the ripping story of Kathy, who wanted her story told of the homeless vagrant that raped and nearly murdered her (7429 views).

     Lastly, I want you to know that if you want to be notified when I post something new, just click on this orange subscribe sign you see on the left of each post
( 115 people already do that)  …

      and fill out the form. It doesn’t cost anything.

                                                   Thanks …
                             me …   as I like to think I look now !