A week from today, June 5th, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission
has a request on the agenda of the
Broward County Commission, for some hefty bucks!
The request is for the money left in the County’s expired Redevelopment fund, only earmarked for Broward Cities’ CRAs (areas that need help) that have never got any of that funding.
Enter Fort Lauderdale’s new CRA, MRSMRSB ( sounded out it’s – misses, misses, B !)
You know MRSMRSB as the 13th Street area of Fort Lauderdale.
For decades, it was the City’s crack and whore district. Those problems have been substantially fixed, but the area is still devoid of decent commercial and residential redevelopment.
The million bucks would reshape the area’s business district into user friendly condition, with wider sidewalks, nice lighting, on-street parking etc., a draw for new business.
The area is ripe and ready for these improvements, and it needs your help!
Here’s your assignment …. if you please!
Send an e-mail to the County Commissioners (now would be a great time , and ask them to please fund Fort Lauderdale’s new CRA, MRSMRSB’s Complete Streets project, so they can have a business district that works! ( but put it in your own brilliant words of course !)
Here is a link to their e-mails addresses ! … send it to all of them if you can find the time ……. thanks
You old timers will remember this story. It’s about my son, Timmy.
It happened in 2003. It was scary, ugly, unfair, but after 9 nine years, justice may be coming for Timmy after all!
I was a City Commissioner serving my last year of a second term. I was known as a neighborhood crime fighter, having always lived off Dixie Hwy in an area that was crime ridden, and under attack by the crack cocaine drug trade.
I had become known as the point person in the fight to clean the area up.
Little did I imagine that the criminals would target my family, but I was wrong, and they did.
One day in 2003, my 13 yr. old son Timmy was walking home from his friends house, when he felt someone grab him around the throat, and drag him off the road and down the RR tracks.
Before he knew what was happening, another thug appeared in front and began pounding his fists into my son’s face. As Timmy was blacking out he remembered his attackers say, “this was for your father, tell him we’re going to kill him next”.
Timmy regained consciousness and found his way back to the street, dripping blood. A motorist stopped and brought him home. We called 911. Timmy spent the night in the hospital.
The fortunate thing was that Timmy was OK, other than the golf-ball size lumps on his head, and, he knew who one of the attackers was – in our neighborhood anti-crime walks, we would see this thug dealing drugs and call the Police, and Timmy had remembered him!
We knew him as Peter Lewis, but his real name is Hudson Joseph. His rap sheet is long – includes armed robbery with a weapon, multiple assaults, loads of drug charges etc.
Timmy and Dad in 2003, just before the attack
Well they got Lewis/Hudson in 2003, and sentenced him to …. time served
– 15 days, for two adults lying in wait and beating an innocent 13 yr. old bloody and unconscious –
– miscarriage of justice at best ! They had reduced the charge from Felony Assault to Simple Battery, because Timmy had ” no permanent disfigurement!
We were flabbergasted, and mad. But we put it behind us and moved on.
I get a call from a fabulous new State Attorney – Whitney Mackay. She said that Hudson Joseph was going to trial today for the vicious beating of Timmy in 2003!
I was confused. Hudson had gotten the ridiculous sentence of 15 days back in 2003. But it turns out Joseph wasn’t happy with that! His attorney filed a motion to have the conviction overturned!
Then, Joseph didn’t show up for that hearing. A warrant was filed, and he’s be on the run ever since.
The new State Attorney is going to fight for some real justice in the case this time around. She’s pushing for the maximum sentence – 364 days in jail.
Timmy is in college and doing great. He got real tough after that. Here he is as the Captain of his wrestling team at Fort Lauderdale High a few years back, a few years after the assault.
That’s Timmy pinning another opponent. Timmy is looking at the ref, that’s his opponent’s legs up in the air! I often wondered if the many opponents Timmy pinned were paying the price for Hudson!
We’re due back in court in July. I’ll keep you abreast.
We all see them – the Homeless Voice collectors.
You can’t miss them, in the intersection, with the yellow vests and the plastic collection tubs. We hear stories about who they are, why they are there, etc..
Well, this morning after b-fast, I decided to stop and chat up a couple of the collectors, and see if I could understand it all a little better.
That’s Cathy and Laura above, they were working the intersection at SE 17th Street and Federal Highway this morning. They say they usually work the intersection about 8 hours a day. Their cans usually have between $30 and $80 at the end of the day.
Their stories of why they are homeless are sad, but they don’t seem to be.
I first met Cathy, when she pleasantly asked me if I would like to donate to the cause. I said “no, but I’m going to come back and interview you after I have my new blueberry oatmeal at McDonalds across the street”.
Cathy looked perplexed, gave me a big smile and waved me off.
After b-fast, I walked over to the intersection where the two ladies had been hard at work. Cathy had just stopped for a break, bought a Red Bull at the gas station, and was looking for a lite for her cigarette.
She said ” let’s go over there and talk”, pointing to a bus bench across the Causeway. She introduced me to Laura, her collector compadre, and the three of us talked for about 10 minutes.
Laura, 55, has been living in the Sean Connonie homeless shelter in Hollywood since August.
She came here from Michigan after meeting a guy online. She says the relationship “never took off”, and she found herself at the shelter of last resort.
I asked her what life was like at the shelter. She says after she got a padlock for her fanny pack, life at the shelter has been OK.
Cathy, 43, isn’t currently living at the shelter. She had lived there for six months, after her boyfriend became abusive after falling back into a crack habit. She’s a native Floridian, and moved home with her mother recently , who might have cancer, to help care for her.
Turns out you don’t have to live at the homeless shelter to work the intersections for it. If you don’t live in the shelter, you get 60% of the money you collect, if you do live at the shelter, you get 60% minus $26 a day for the room and board. Connonie furnishes his collectors with bus passes to get to Fort Lauderdale.
Both girls seem to have hope. Cathy has met a new guy, and Laura is hoping to get a full time job and move out of the shelter.
It was the last of Tim’s Citizens’ tours of the season, combined with the last Jog with Jack ( the Mayor) for the season (until September)..
We went over to Holiday Park, where trained professionals (from L.A. Fitness) were there to give us pointers of how to use the park’s many exercise stations.
It was less painful than you thought – you should’ve come!
Here we are on our opening stretches, (that’s Commissioner Bruce Roberts’ assistant – Robbi Uptegrove, throwing her hands in the air when she couldn’t understand the beginning exercises!)
Much of the kudos for the success of the event goes to Malena Mayea, the “onsite wellness coordinator” for the City, who did most of the organizational work. Here she is … just looking good!
I took my lessons from the experts from LA Fitness, as prescribed!…Here I am, at age 55, learning the proper way to do a push up!
Most of the group paid key attention to the program, but some proved you can work-out, and work, both at the same time!
In the end, we were all sweaty and feeling proud of ourselves….. Fortunately, the neighborhood of Middle River Terrace was waiting for us at the finish line with some ice cold water!
… so how is it that Commissioner Bruce Robert’s assistant Robbi Uptegrove is seen here with a water in a silver can marked Coors? ….. hmmmm
It’s the umbrella organization for the neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale – the Fort Lauderdale Council of Civic Associations, and it’s President, Doug Sterner, was just forced out of office.
Here’s the sordid tale – follow closely!
The coup to oust Sterner as the associations’ head had it’s roots a few years ago, when he and Ron Centamore, another well known neighborhood activist, got mixed up in the City’s Homeless problems.
Ron on right
Ron and Doug initially told the Fort Lauderdale Mayor and Commissioners that the neighborhood they both owned propery in, Progresso Village, would approve of the City placing a homeless feeding facility there.
Only problems was – they forgot to ask their members!
Well, the feeding camping didn’t end up coming to Progresso, but most of the association’s members didn’t forget the slight. When they had a chance to remove Sterner as Progresso’s President, they did, and the Council of Civic association’s by- laws say the President must be the appointed person from a neighborhood.
Exit Sterner! Sterner reportedly resigned without any “drama”.
The Council’s Vice President, Marily Mammano, will be acting President until an election is held June 12th. Mammano says she will be running for the position.
We decided about a decade ago, that our politicians should only serve for about a decade!
Unfortunately, some politicians at the Broward County level decided they knew better than all the rest of us, and sued at the Florida Supreme Court level, to overturn the term limits that were voted in by 80% of the citizens, so they could try to serve as long as they wanted.
Today, they lost! … Our term limit’s law was upheld at the Florida Supreme Court! …. YEA !
No, …. you wait one minute John …..
John Rodstrom is one talented guy …. I hope he finds a way to give back without being an elected official……
This year’s Citizens Tours ( I like to call them Tim’s Tours, since I organize them!), have been very interesting, educational, even a blast. These are tours meant for YOU, so you can see things that the ordinary citizen seldom sees.
The intricate Sewage Treatment Plant, going deep inside the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, getting tipsy on the veranda of the Bonnett House, just as the Bartletts did in the 1920’s, how do we deserve so much fun ?
the Sewage Plant had it’s challenges!
Anyhow, the last tour (until the fall), will take place next Wednesday, May 16th at 6:30 p.m., at Holiday Park.
I want you to go over to your calendar right now and put it on there, even before I tell you about it ….. because it might scare the dickens out of you and I want you to commit! …… scroll down slowly !!
that’s right, we’re going to exercise! …. YIKES!
We’re going to be joining up with Mayor Jack Seiler, and his last Jog with Jack until the fall. You have seen how skinny Jack has gotten haven’t you?
City Manager Lee Feldman will also be joining us, as will some City employees, as part of their “Get Fit” City Program.
And don’t worry, there will be professionals there to help us with the exercise stations. And you can do as little or as much of the grueling work out as you are comfortable with.
Wear good shoes, and work-out attire.
We did a short run through with some of the drill sergeants last week!
That’s the Mayor’s assistant, Safea Ali, leaning on the push up bar!
So get ready for the fun, I been getting some private coaching to make sure I look good on the 16th!
See you at Holiday Park, at the first exercise station ( over by the football fields/ Social Center/ gym) ……
6:30 p.m. May 16
….. call me if you need more info … 954-822-4727
You might remember that Las Olas merchant Robin Merrill began a mission to save the little Las Olas Post Office from closing last year.
The U.S Postal service is in trouble (mostly due to e-mail), and needs to close down offices. Closing some Post Offices makes good sense. Offices in Muddy Ill. and Odd, W.Virginia, for example, are set to close, probably for good reasons!
But Fort Lauderdale Fla.?
Well for now the Fort Lauderdale Las Olas branch is still open, but is still on the chopping block, so Merrill is not giving up.
Merrill’s next big effort to save the station is tomorrow, when she’s planned a rally, unlike no rally I’ve seen!
Merrill has pulled out all the stops. She’s got a Seminole Chief, alligators, barefoot mailman re-enactors etc. !
I’m half expecting the President to show up!
The rally starts at noon at the Stranahan House, where the mail will be taken down river by the Seminoles, just like the old days.
For more information, call Robin at her store – Mission Gifts Fair Trade & Upper Room Art Gallery on Las Olas.