The Beach – The Story

     A short section of the Fort Lauderdale Beach is gone!


     In an event that came as quite a surprise, about a 4 block area of the Fort Lauderdale beach was totally overwhelmed by the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy.

      The destruction is about ten blocks north of Sunrise Boulevard.

                            removed traffic lights – base is now at edge of ocean 

no showers today!

     Mayor Jack Seiler and City Manager Lee Feldman say they are working on the problem “around the clock”.
     Feldman says we are fortunate that the Florida Department of Transportation declared the area an “emergency”, and the road is a State road, so the short term solutions should be paid for by the State.

FDOT pow wow today at the beach


     Seiler says that other local and State officials are also coming to the aid of Fort Lauderdale. Both beach County Commissioners, Tim Ryan and Chip LaMarca, say they are ready to help, and State Senator Maria Sachs has called Seiler to offer her support.


       Manager Feldman says the massive flooding and destruction just in that area might have to do with the fact that the reef system in that area is “not as elaborate” as the rest of the beach.

     But one thing is for sure. In the area just south of the destruction, where the City and State planted sea oats about ten years ago, the beach weathered the storm well. Here is the sand dune protected beach today- just blocks from the destroyed beach.

              Sand dunes protected this part of the beach in front of the State Park

      Planting the sea oats was a controversial move when it came in front of the City Commission about a decade ago, and some area residents fought it hard .
     They were worried that the sand dunes that the sea oats create would “ruin the view” of the ocean, so the Commission ( I was on it then), settled for putting the Sea Oats only in the portion of the beach in front of the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.  

     Ironically, one of the leaders of the sea oat opposition back then was no other than beach resident and infamous City Hall grumbler Art Seitz, who has been taking some amazing pictures of the beach destruction and was out there again today. 

     I took his picture as he was taking mine!


     Art says he still stands by his position that the sea oats shouldn’t be planted when the beach is replenished. 



Just Like the 60’s!

     Remember the 1960’s?

If you didn’t like what was going on, you protested! If neccessary, you’d lay down in front of the bulldozers!


     Well, the 60’s were alive and well yesterday in the South Middle River neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale.

                                  South Middle River

They didn’t lay in front of the bulldozers, but almost!


       The SMRCAians actually closed down  a major city thoroughfare –Andrews Ave – all by themselves – and redirected traffic, all with found barricades and protest signs!

     They are quite mad about some of the conditions in their neighborhood, specifically unpaved sections of streets throughout their neighborhood that have never been paved since the neighborhood was developed in the 1950’s.

     So, to draw attention to the unpaved roads, they redirected the Andrews Ave. unsuspecting motorists onto those unpaved roads as a detour!


     The City says they don’t have the $750,000 it would cost to do the paving. One high ranker told me that the neighborhood is being unreasonable.

     The neighborhood doesn’t think so. They say find the money – pave the roads.

      And if the City doesn’t? The neighborhood says they are just getting started – “wait until they see what we have in store for them next”!

The Gift of Giving

     Today starts the Christmas season.

     Over the next month or so, all of us will be out buying gifts!


     Here’s a chance to do something really good. Would you be willing to buy an additional gift, when you’re at the mall, online, or at the Flea Market,  for our Fort Lauderdale kids that really earned ’em ( and might not get them? )

                                    Here’s the deal

     The 13th Street Alliance, a group of multiple neighborhoods and businesses just north of Sunrise Boulevard,  has teamed up with the famous Christmas Palace ( at 800 NE 13th Street), to bring some joy to deserving kids.


                                      the wonderful Christmas Palace


     The group has been meeting with area elementary and middle school officials to collect the names of kids who are trying real hard in school but come from modest homes.

                                           Here’s exactly what to do to participate

       Buy ….a really cool gift for a boy or girl, aged 5 -years old to 14 -years old. Put a note on the gift saying what age kid you think should get it …… for example…..

                    [  boy – 8-10 years old – or – girl – 5 years old  ]

     ….  (also put on your e-mail address on the gift if you want, so we can send you an invitation for the Christmas party where we will be giving the gifts out)…..

     Take …. the gift (unwrapped), to the Christmas Palace, at 800 NE 13th Street, – Monday thru Saturday – 10 am until 9 pm, or Sunday from 11 am until 6 pm…. from now until December 22nd……

    Then …..we will be having the super fun party on December 23, from 4pm until 6 pm, in Middle River Terrace Park (1329 N. Dixie Highway),


    …….where Santa will be giving out the presents to the kids, munching holiday fare, singing Christmas Carols ….etc…etc….etc….

     Can we count on you?   …….

     (If you have questions, you can call me at 954-822-4727, or e-mail me at




District II …. Rumor Mill

     Today is Commissioner Charlotte Rodstroms’ last day in office  …………..
 until at least January 15, 2013.

     Rodstroms’ resignation to run for the County Commission seat that she lost in August takes effect today. At midnight, Rodstrom, and her husband John, are both just ordinary citizens, for the first time in over thirty years.

     But Charlotte Rodstrom is also a candidate to retake her seat that she vacates today, the primary scheduled for January 15th, 2013.

       Follow me now .… 

     Rodstroms’ current Administrative Aide Scott Wyman, is staying in his job after Rodstrom leaves office today, and that makes some of Rodstrom’s competitors for the open Commission seat nervous.


     A rumor is floating around that Wyman is out campaigning with Rodstrom.

    The rumor has it that Wyman is touring Rodstrom through the gay bars in town to solicit support for Rodstrom. (District II has a large gay population and Wyman is gay). Dean Trantalis, a gay rights advocate, is also in the race for the seat, and will probably command much of the gay vote.

     Wyman says the rumor about the bar tours is false.

     He says he did campaign for his boss during the County Commission race, was at an event at the Alibi”, a gay restaurant and bar in Wilton Manors, was paid “about $700” for his work during that campaign, but is staying way clear of any politics in this City race. Wyman says Rodstrom is his boss until midnight, but after that, she will have no more clout then any other resident of District II in his office.  

       Mayor Jack Seiler confirmed today


that Wymans’ position will not have any connections with Rodstrom from midnight on.

     He says all e-mails sent to either Wyman or Rodstrom will be funneled through his office to make sure everything stays ligit. He says the recording on Wyman’s voice mail message “you’ve reached Scott Wyman, aide to Vice-Mayor Rodstrom…” will be removed by tomorrow and a new, “you’ve reached the office of District II” message will take it’s place…

      Wyman says that all personal possessions of Rodstrom have been removed from the District II City Hall office.

       And lastly …  the rumor that former beach Vice President Lester Zalewski


is now in the race is a good rumor. He’s in, with a healthy $10,000 he’s lent his campaign. Zalewski ran in the last District II race, coming in third. If you want to know what he stands for, here’s a link on a story I did on him then –


Dean Trantalis Interview

     With the elections just ending, it’s hard to grasp that in just two months, residents in District II in Fort Lauderdale will go to the polls to elect a new Commissioner – well maybe – let me explain!

     You see, of the three candidates that have already announced a run for the  District II open seat, (primary on January 15th) two of them have already been the District II Commissioner before.

     The three candidates are newcomer Chuck Black, and repeats Charlotte Rodstrom and Dean Trantalis.

Black on right                             Rodstrom

     The seat is open due to the resignation of Rodstrom, who stepped down to run for the County Commission, but lost. She is now trying to return to her seat on the City Commission.

     Trantalis sat down with me yesterday for an interview.

    Trantalis lives in Poinsettia Heights in Fort Lauderdale. He is a 59 year old lawyer, with a law office in Wilton Manors.

     He is one of the most well known gay rights activist in the State, and served one term on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission – 2003-2006.

  Trantalis decided not to run for re-election to his District II seat in 2006. He said at the time that the job had stressed his law practice, strained his family relations, and that his father was quite ill and he wanted to spend time with him.

     Trantalis said that was then and this is now. He says his “life has changed“. He says his father has passed, his law firm is on solid footing (“with a great staff”), and he and his partner have split – I’m seeking a marriage with my community”, he smiled and added.

     When Trantalis first ran in 2003, he beat Rodstrom and four other candidates to win the open seat .

    The seat was an open seat, because I had decided, after serving 2 terms as the District II Commissioner, that I would voluntarily give up the seat and run for Mayor.

     Trantalis won the open District II seat, ( I lost the Mayor’s race to incumbent Jim Naugle), and when Trantalis decided not to run for re-election in 2006, he endorsed Rodstrom to fill the District II seat, which she won.
     A few years later, his relationship soured with Rodstrom. It stemmed from the verbal beatings Rodstrom was constantly giving to City Manager George Gretsas, a close ally to Trantalis.

      Trantalis said their relationship is better now, even though they are competitors for the District II seat again, but confided that Rodstrom did tell him they couldn’t “kiss each other” anymore when they meet in public.

     Trantalis says he thinks the City is troubled. He says the financial picture is “tenuous at best”. He says union pensions are “much too generous”.

     He says many of the neighborhoods are in trouble. He cites the high rate of crime in the “western” neighborhoods. Says the Police Department is not taking it serious enough. Says he wants a more proactive police plan – adds that reduction in crime is his “number one priority”.

Trantalis also says he will work hard to bring redevelopment to the inland parts of District II. Trantalis was known as a very “slow growth” Commissioner, and some say he did little to redevelop the underdeveloped parts of the District when he was a Commissioner. He says he sees it differently now, and has already met with some developers to encourage them to come into the 13th Street corridor area of the District.

     But when it comes to building at the beach, don’t count on much support for any tall buildings there from Trantalis.

      Trantalis says he has “concerns” with City Manager Feldman, but plans on giving him “the benefit of the doubt in the first year”.

     He gives Mayor Seiler much higher ratings than his predecessor – Naugle-  “without a doubt”, but is critical of Seiler for being a “mediator, not an initiator”.

      Trantalis thinks he can win the seat, but is ready for battle. He says he hopes the campaign focuses on issues, and is positive. 

     But when asked if he’ll fight fire with fire if the going gets hot, he says it depends on “how hot the fire gets”!. 

When I’m 64 !

     My son Tim called me last night chuckling.
     He had found a 1966 Fort Lauderdale High School Year Book sitting on the side of the road in a box of assorted papers. Tim is a Fort Lauderdale High alumnus – circa 2008.


So the students in the pictures below will now be the young age of 64 ….  the age in which the Beatles asked the probing question –  “will you still need me, will you still feed me – when I’m 64” ! 

                               ……    dancing at the prom!

  running for Prom Queen …. !

    Lastly, here is the Graduating Class names  … your job is to find some of them, still here in the community ….can you?


                        Let me know !  ….   Tim

Vision Effort Finale

    Today was your chance to be a Visionary, to think and plan the Fort Lauderdale of tomorrow!

     Unfortunately, very few of you took part.


       For the last few years, the City has been trying to take stock, figure out what kind of City it wants to be when it grows up.

       The Visioning effort, designed to do just that,  has been slowly, sometimes painfully, working its’ way toward todays’ Visioning finale – the Citizens Visioning Summit.

The Summit was advertised heavily, but the turn out was very weak.

     Mayor Seiler, in his opening remarks, said he was frustrated at the low turn out. Seiler said as he glanced at the crowd of about 100 people and saw the same usual volunteers that he sees around City Hall

     Seiler attended with his colleagues (except Commissioner Rodstrom, who didn’t attend) and finished his remarks by joking that he had gotten quite a few good ideas by e-mail from the citizens concerning Vision. He said he sent the good ones right off to Manager Feldmans’ email box, and put the rest in another box on his own computer!


     The Summit was well done. About ten groups talked about things like Infrastructure, Flooding, Trains and Trolleys and Culture. After the ideas were discussed, everyone got up and dot voted on the ones they liked best.

     The charts were then packed up and sent off to be tabulated.


     And in the end, the participants got a chance to listen to the children, that had been in a separate room at “Vision Camp”.


     The kids gave their names and what they wanted to be when they grew up.

     We got a good idea of what they had been doing all morning while their parents were Visioning – most said they wanted to design Legos when they grew up!

                       ( … And thanks to Art Seitz for the photography)


The Morning After

     Couldn’t wait to get up this morning and go talk politics at my local diner !

                                       Quality Diner – Wilton Manors

     Lots of important people wander into the Quality Diner in Wilton Manors.

    Wayne Huizenga, King WilkensonTerry Stiles,  FLPD  retirees, business people, reporters, and lots of local politicians eat there occasionally – but this morning I was quite shocked at who cozied up and sat down to eat some eggs, and chat with me and my friend Bruce!


     Geez that guy gets around!

     PS ….   we voted down the bad amendment that increased the terms for Fort Lauderdale politicians !  …Good work all around!

About Tuesdays’ Voting

     I’ve already voted, and you probably have too!


     But just in case you are one of those that likes to vote – ON voting day,  I’d like to try and persuade you to vote against  just one item, just one ………..  and I’ll get to that in just a second.


     First,  I’d like to share with you something very interesting. I’d like to show just how good we have it in Broward/Fort Lauderdale, when it comes to voting, compared to some other places.

     Now many of you know that Cindy and I have a cabin business in Georgia (Bear Creek Lodge and Cabins), that we open in the summer and fall. Well I’m up here this week closing the cabins for the winter, and decided to stop in the voting precinct for  Robertstown, just a few miles north of our cabins in Helen, Georgia.

         Here is the official voting precinct


     No, I’m not making this up!

     The door was propped open, and the guy at the boiled peanuts and pork rinds shop next door said they left the door open to “air it out”, and “spruce it up” – get it ready for the big voting day!

                                        ……..  a Georgia State delicacy!

     So, I popped my head in to check out the voting booths! ………….


                   No, I’m still not kidding.  …….    I guess they hadn’t finish sprucing!

      And lastly, that item that I said I’d like to persuade you to vote against if you’re voting on Tuesday, is the Municipal Elections Amendment on your ballot.

      It will be the last item on your ballot. The amendment asks you to approve changes to how we elect our officials. There are some good parts in the amendment, but the problem is, it negates the term limit  law we finally got passed in Fort Lauderdale about a decade ago.

              So Just Vote NO! …..  (and while you’re at it, thank Dr. Snipes for the nice voting booths!)



3 Crime Bits

     Crime Bit # 1.)

     When foster kids turn 18 years old, they are summarily tossed from the foster kids program.

             The kids are often not ready to fend for themselves, and
there is a charitable organization
in Fort Lauderdale called Homes Inc. , that picks up the slack and houses them and trains them to mainstream into society.

     Yesterday, all of Homes Inc.’s Hurricane Shutters were stolen. All 50 of them!  They are distraught and ask anyone who has knowledge of who took them to call the Police. Also, if you can help Homes Inc. in any way, call Katherine Barry, the charities’ President, at 954-563-5454.

     Crime Bit #2.)

     We’ve been talking about the #1 in crime, per capita, neighborhood of Progresso lately. Well if the new President of the neighborhood, Brad Cohen, has his way, Progresso won’t lead the list for long.


     Last weekend, Progresso fought crime in a creative way – an anti -crime neighborhood picnic! Cohen says the event was a rousing success, city officials and police mixed and mingled, munched hamburgs, and registered residents’ bicycles.

     Cohen says we should recognize one of our finest, who spent all day at the picnic, playing football with the kids and talking safety, all on his day off!

Officer Fopiano

Crime Bit #3).

     The neighborhood of South Middle River is holding a rally on Friday Nov. 2, from 5:30 to 6:30, at Andrews and NW 15th Street.

                                                 South Middle River
They are rallying to demand  that the City pave the 14 street ends that have never been paved in their neighborhood. They say the unkempt, shadowy street butts are a haven for crime and criminals.