Battles Over Big Buildings Coming Back!

     Good times appear be coming back to Fort Lauderdale,  because some residents are starting to complain about  big buildings again!


     During the 1990’s and 2000’s, Fort Lauderdale’s economy was on fire. Everyone wanted to build something in the City, and the pressure of growth was constant.

     Many citizens that had lived in the City for a long time weren’t happy with the changes the City was seeing. They began to fight to stop the larger projects, even developed a slow-growth language. Proposed projects were monstrosities, giant houses were monster homes, or mega-mansions, condos on the water created concrete canyons, a concrete jungle!

And politicians that voted for those monstrosities were often tossed out of office!

        Commissioner Jack Latona  replaced by  Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson

     Mayor Jim Naugle
, a native Fort Lauderdalian, led the Stop the Growth forces ( and the gays aren’t really happy campaign) . I term- limited myself out of the District II Commission seat and ran against Naugle.

     I was ( and am) a proponent of redevelopment. Naugle called me Tower Tim in his (developer sponsored !) TV commercials and he won his 5th term.

                                         Mayor  “NO” Jim Naugle

Then came the recession.

     No projects came forward. The building department had little business. Rough neighborhoods that had been seeing progress, fell backwards. Many at the beach, which had been the most anti-development, started regretting their no-growth platforms when the boom dried up like the proverbial old prune!.

     Naugle was finally term limited out, and a new more progressive Commission was elected.

                                         mostly pro-growth Commission

     But the pro-growth Commission seldom had a chance to vote for projects. There were few proposed.

     But now that pro-growth sentiment might be about to stifle before it had a chance to get going. Projects are being proposed, property values are up! The towers are about to return! And the opposition is gearing up.

                     Here’s two examples of what’s coming, and the opposition –

  1.)   Last week, a group of concerned citizens met to develop a strategy to stop a proposed giant building planned on the New River.


     The smaller building in the distance is the Esplanade, where many of its’ residents are opposing the neighboring behemoth, the Marina Lofts. Ironically, that Esplanade was nearly defeated as a monstrosity itself in the approval hearings in the1990’s!

2.) The City Administration held a meeting at the International Swimming Hall of Fame last week to unveil a new proposed parking garage on the beach at Las Olas and  A1A on the current surface parking lot there.


     The condos near the new proposed parking structure came out in force to oppose it. They said that the beach didn’t need any more parking, specifically not any that would create more traffic and block their view of the ocean.

     One of the opposition leaders, Jack Newton,  in a prepared piece he brought to the meeting, went as far as saying that the City would be sued over the garage, an “attractive nuisance …rape victims … would sue….. persons who slip and fall into vomit might also sue  …it would be the old HOLIDAY INN ON WHEELS”.

     I won’t miss those coming Public Hearings a bit!


School Meeting Tense

     Last night’s meeting between residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Fort Lauderdale High School and school officials was ….well, quite a meeting !

                         busses jamming residential streets

     Over a hundred folks filled the school’s meeting room that, ironically, the neighborhoods used to meet in before the school instituted an onerous insurance fee to use.

     The meeting centered around just the latest problem between the school and its’ surrounding neighborhoods – the busses – ( SEE ABOVE!)

     The school is under construction and decided to send the busses to the adjacent neighborhood streets to stage for student pick-up and drop-off. Neighbors complained that they often couldn’t get out of their driveways, were tired of the belching diesel fumes, and drivers’ misdeeds.
     The (soon to retire) School Board member Maureen Dinnen led the slugfest, and apologized to the crowd for many of the perceived slights –  (she deserves credit!)

     Lots of other bigshots filled the room with residents on one side, and school board supporters on the other-

                Dinnen                                  Rodstrom – Me                Leach
               Seiler – Feldman                                           Trantalis

     Dinnen and school personnel had arrived early and prepared to show a power point exalting the accolades and awards that Fort Lauderdale High had won, but the residents wanted no part of the dog and pony show.

      Instead, the hour plus meeting centered around the busses idling just feet from people’s bedrooms, lack of access of school facilities, and poor communication between the two sides.

     The school’s transportation division agreed to find other options for the busses staging area while the school construction continues, and a follow-up meeting was planned.

Good History News!

     Have you noticed?


     The historic Shippey House, once the residence of  Broward’s second Judge, Fred Shippey, looks like it will actually make it onto its’ footings in its’ new location in the historical district,  before an eventual hurricane takes it away!


     Fred Shippey was appointed to fill the post of Judge when Broward’s first Judge died in 1920. Shippey was not a lawyer then, but those little details didn’t matter, back then! He became quite well known during the land boom of Broward in the 1920’s, when he presided over marriage ceremonies, misdemeanors, probates, and juvenile cases.

     The houses sat for years, crumbling, on SW 7th Avenue just across from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

     Congratulations are in order to the citizen activists and their supporters that saw this successful relocation of this important house to its’ new digs! 

     Can we paint the sucker now?

School Still Misbehaving

     Some residents of Middle River Terrace are really mad at Fort Lauderdale High School  ……..   again!

     You’ll remember that the school mangled their large Mahogany trees this summer, much to the chagrin of area residents.


     Now, the School Board has found a new way to infuriate the neighborhood. They decided that the best place for dozens of school busses to park is in front of people’s houses!!!!


     This picture was taken yesterday afternoon. Some neighbors say they can’t even pull out of their driveways!

     At first, the busses stayed running, creating a diesel plume in the air, but at least now they turn them off, leave their busses, smoke cigs and chat.

     The School Board’s construction division says it’s the neighbors fault, ( yep, that’s what they say!) – that if the residents didn’t complain about the School massacring the Mahogany trees this summer, their construction wouldn’t have stalled, and the busses could go home!

                   Dinnen                               Leach  

     There is a meeting next Monday between school Board members Maureen Dinnen and Katie Leach, the City Commissioner for the area Charlotte Rodstrom, and area residents – should be interesting!

Mayor Seiler’s Financial Disclosure

     Last week, I received an e-mail from District II Commission candidate Robert Walsh.

     Walsh had filled out a public records request for the financial disclosure form of Mayor Jack Seiler, and he wanted me to have it.

                Here’s exactly what Walsh wrote to me –

     “No wonder the City finaces are such a mess, but Mayor Seiler’s certainly ar enot. Its all about Jack.”  It’s apparent that Walsh does not much like the Mayor.


Anyhow, Seiler’s financial disclosure form is good reading. Jack has done well, and that’s fine with me!

       Here are a few highlights – 

     ….. Seiler has a home in Fort Lauderdale, and a home in Tallahassee 

                         Tally Home – fit for a Governor?

     …..  Seiler owns part of the building in Wilton Manors where his Law Office is – 


     Seiler is also heavily loaded up in stocks – this is just a sampling!

       AT&T – 17 shares
       Best Buy – 200
       Comcast – 350
       Eli Lilly – 200
       Pfizer – 200 

       …… and remembering what Seiler used to look like


   …..  it was no shock that he also owns …

           ……. Krispy Kreme Donuts – 200 shares


Fun ….Fun …. Fun

     The Guerilla Art Day on NE 13th Street was a blast!

     About 100 people showed up for the opportunity to paint cars ugly, buildings purple, sidewalks chalky.

                         Old airport Taxi donated by Sunshine Junkyard

    The participants also ate donuts (and apples), drank coffee, and listened (while painting),  to Tim’s band, Sunday’s at Five ( Mayor Seiler joined the band to sing Simon and Garfunkel’s – the Boxer, then immediately asked us to burn the audio tapes … 

                               building before it was purple

               building after being made purple  (fingers saying 13th Street !)                  

     There was also a contest for the best work in Sidewalk Chalk Art, $100 prize, judged by Mayor Jack Seiler, Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, and City Manager Lee Feldman. 


     The event was a kick-off of a new Art Program for the 13th Street corridor, where $30,000 will be spent on Public Art. The area already has many sculptures and murals adorning it. 

District II Special Election Costs Rise!

     The “Special Election” in Fort Lauderdale’s District II, has just gotten more expensive!

                                         Commissioner Rodstrom

     You’ll remember that there has to be an election to fill the seat that Commissioner Rodstrom resigned from to run for her husband’s County Commission seat. (Rodstrom lost that race and is now running to regain her City seat).

     Fort Lauderdale’s City Clerk Jonda Joseph told the Mayor and Commissioners late this afternoon that the costs for the Special Election have risen now that Hallandale canceled their Special Election and Fort Lauderdale couldn’t cost share with them.

     The Election is now expected to cost Fort Lauderdale $212,685.

     Mayor Jack Seiler called the development “very disappointing and frustrating”.

                                       ….. frustrated Seiler


Upcoming Fun!

     So, summer is over (except for the heat ), and there will be lots of fun things to do in our wonderful city, Fort Lauderdale, this fall.

Here are just two of those fun events coming up real soon!

               1.) Guerilla Art
Have you ever had the opportunity to paint an old taxi cab, all over, windows included, in wild colors and designs, and … did you ever secretly want to paint a building purple with multi- colored polka dots ? ….. are you good enough to win $100 painting a slice of sidewalk with colorful chalk?

This Saturday, Sept 15, from 7am until noon ( to beat the heat), the 13th Street Communities are kicking off their new $30,000 Public Art Project with a day of goofy art fun along 13th Street……… Meet at the Police Substation at 500 NE 13th Street                  
                                  Be there or be square!

                2.) Pints for Preservation –
Let me see… you’ll belt a brew if you had a miserable day at work , …… you’ll sip a sudsy if you’ve got friends in from out of town, ….. you might even kick down a Keg if your dog dies!  …

     And I know there are a lot of you out there that cherish the history of our town, and would like to help save some of our important historical structures  …. so I ask ….

                              will you drink a  ….

                         Thursday … September 20th …. Maguries …… 6 to 8 pm

I’ll see you at both events ! …..     Tim


Freedom From Speech!

     He is Charlie King. By day a realtor.

    But at night, he turns into the King, the King of Criticism. You might have caught him lambasting the Fort Lauderdale City Commission on Government TV ( Channel 78) during Citizen Input , or you may have somehow landed on his sharp-tongued e-mail blasts. King reprints articles he finds in magazines and newspapers and sends them out to people with added stinging criticisms (mostly of government and it’s officials).


     But this week, more of King’s blast recipients have asked to be taken off his lists.

     King first drew attention last year when he strongly opposed stretching the street name, Sistrunk Boulevard, down to Federal Hwy. after the streets’ renovations.


     “Sistrunk Boulevard is probably the scariest street in Broward County “, King said, and added “I always thought Confederate Highway instead of Federal Highway had a nice ring to it”.

     That item led to King also criticizing some of the poorest in Fort Lauderdale – “what I have a problem with is  ….subsidized poor people”. King mused that maybe poor people should move out of Fort Lauderdale, “get out there on I-95 and start looking for a place where the cost of living and opportunity are right“, he said.

     I banned King from commenting on this blog earlier this year, and also asked him to stop sending me his missives. Others have followed suit. One well known activist ( who won’t want me to name him) had King remove him from the list, and said King responded “OK, but I’m not letting you back on”.

     This week, ace reporter Bob Norman sent King his own e-mail “Charlie, you’re sending me too much nonsense, please take me off your list”,  and Werner Kettelhack of SE Toyota  added himself to the growing list of those wanting off of King’s lists.



Updating, Etcetera

     Here is an update on a number of things we’ve been talking about this year……

          TREES etc.


       …… Most of us were appalled when the Broward School Board massacred many giant Mahoganies at Fort Lauderdale High.

     Well, the City stopped them, (temporarily), from gauging the last of them. And the picture above shows local tree champion and expert arborist Tom Chancey voluntarily trimming one of the remaining trees to show the School Board how to save them. Jury is still out on what will happen.

     ……  Now, another champion tree is at risk –


     ….. the “Rain Tree”, in Tarpon River, is in the way of redevelopment, and the developers are talking about “moving it”!

     It is the same type of tree in the movie “Swiss Family Robinson”, and the chances of successfully moving it are as remote as was the Swiss family!

     …… and, the City’s Urban Farming program is thriving in some areas in the City.

                   farmer Donna Collins of CITIFARM – hey, nice Papayas!


       ……  I told you a few months back, that the thugs that dragged my 13 year old Timmy into the woods in 2003, and beat him unconscious (to send a message to his father to stop fighting crime), were going back to trial 9 years later.

                                 thug – Hudson Joseph

     But as it turns out, the States Attorney’s office screwed up, and they weren’t able to take thug Joseph back to trial on that charge after all. They sent my son an explanation of the glitch, and Tim understands.

     On a good note, Joseph has committed another felony, soon to go to trial on that one, and he will hopefully stay in jail until he is too old to hurt others.

     Here is just one of the pages of his rap sheet, starting in the 1990’s when he was 12.