What to do with Nancy?


     Nancy is 50. Nancy is a drunk. Nancy has lived in one of the City parks for about 6 months now. She used to live with her mother before her mother died.


     This is Nancy’s lair. It is a little nook behind some overgrown bushes and some silver buttonwood trees.


     This is Nancy, this morning, under that blanket, on the ground.

      What should be done?


Go Ahead ….Warm Your Heart!

                        First off – Merry Christmas ! …..

                  If you are Jewish, Happy Hanukkah ……

                 and if you prefer ….   Happy Holidays!


Yesterday was a sweet day in the Middle River Terrace Park in Fort Lauderdale. A group of neighborhoods and businesses called the 13th Street Alliance, pulled off a very special event.

     About 200 people met and honored some special little kids….
     The 64 honored kids had been chosen by their schools for doing very well in school, despite tough or challenging home lives….

                   Here’s the event in pictorial form

           First there was chow 


    Everyone checked out the cool Fire Truck!


          The music played on!


           Santa and the gifts arrived!


           A dashing Candy Cane Hunt before the ceremony!


     Then the real business got underway. The kids that the schools picked, got to do their own picking, a toy of their choosing! Their number was in a hat, and when it was called, they got to work! 

     This little girl was having a hard time…Too many choices!


           She settled on Barbie!


     This little cutey had fun!


     This honoree needed carrying help with this cool train set!


    And this kid just smiled ear to ear !


Politics = Money + Private Investigator?

     The race is really on for the open seat for Commissioner – District II – Fort Lauderdale. 

One candidate has actually spent $1000.00 on a private investigator  ….read on!

     The race for $$ – (political donations) –  often tells a lot about how the political horse race is proceeding! Here is the latest on the race for campaign donations


     Rounding the corner, heading for the final stretch  …

      Dean Trantalis is ahead, with Charlotte Rodstrom hanging back on the final turn, Chuck Black running a distant third, and Lester Zalewski still in the starting block – details below!

Trantalis has collected $22,295.00

     His donors are mostly Fort Lauderdalians, though there are a sizable chunk of Wilton Manors donors, which is where the Trantalis Law Firm is located.

     Trantalis seems to have more of the grassroots leaders in the District than the other candidates.

     Donors include beach activists Mel Rubenstien, Steve Glassman, Shirley Smith, and Art Seitz –13th Street neighborhood leaders Sal Gatanio, Randall Klett, Marge Anderson and Rick Gibson, and Victoria Parkian Mark Ketcham.

Other big name donors to Trantalis include attorneys Robert Lochrie and Ken Keechl, Property Appraiser Lori Parrish, mega-property owner Caldwell Cooper, and historic preservation activist Diane Smart.

 Charlotte Rodstrom, who is trying to win back her seat after vacating it to run for County Commission has raised $17,500.00

     Her donors include the big County lawyer/lobbyists – Friedman, Poliakoff, Platt and Schiller, City land use attorneys Lochrie, Toothaker, and Crush, car magnate Michael Marrone, William Telli ( sued to overturn term limits), and local celebrity lawyer Bradford Cohen.  She is also supported by local bloviator Charlie King.

     Rodstroms’ most curious expenditure for her campaign is for private investigator Max Caulfield. Her campaign has paid him $1000.00


     Caulfield is a nationally known P.I., with expertise in many areas, including Mob investigations. He is also a Special Appointed Process Server by the Sheriff of Broward County.

     I had a quite interesting chat with Caulfield. But as expected, he said he is not at liberty to confirm or deny  ….   said he didn’t recall if he’d ever heard the name Rodstrom!  …..  told me he would get back to me should details change!

 Chuck Black is a newcomer on the political scene, but has gained some traction, mostly with the business community, mostly downtown.
     Donors include Ali Waldman, developer Alan Hooper, attorney Sam Poole, president of the downtown civic association Ron Centamore, Riverwalk big shot Mark Budwig, and beach biggies Ina Lee and Fred Carlson.

 Lester Zalewski says he refused to play the political money game, but has lent his campaign $10,000.00

Are Our Schools Safe?

    Unexplainable tragedy.

    What to do now?

    The Nation will discuss mental illness, gun control, the “climate of violence”. Hopefully our national leaders will taken action –  and now!

    In Fort Lauderdale, we should talk local. 

     I suppose we can call ourselves fortunate. The type of carnage that met the town of Newtown last Friday hasn’t happen here. 

                                  Bennett Elementary
     But we have had terrible shootings in our schools.

    An Assistant principle was shot at Dillard High years back by a student she suspended. Before he shot her he said “here’s something to suspend me for”.

     At the same school, just a few years back, a student shot and killed a classmate in the hallway over a dispute.

     An 8 year-old brought a gun to Walker Elementary, but it was reported before anything happened.

                                North Side Elementary


     We have Police Officers in our Middle and High Schools, but we quit funding them in our elementaries some years ago when budgets got tight.

     Last week, I visited a few or our elementaries, as our 13th Street Alliance is holding a special party for kids doing real well in school, despite difficult home lives. I went to the schools to meet with the School Administration to explain the program to them.

     Then I got to thinking this weekend, after watching hours of the news coverage –

     – I had walked into one of our elementaries without question, just last week. No one asked me who I was, what I was doing! I didn’t get buzzed in, and though there was a man near the door, he just sent me down the hall to the office.  

     We should take another hard look at the security of our schools – are they safe?


District II Political Debate

    For those who like political debates, the Central Beach political debate at the B Hotel last Monday night was a doozy!

It was the second debate for candidates for the open seat of District II in Fort Lauderdale. District II is an odd political district, rich and poor, starting at the beach, up through the Las Olas Isles, through Victoria Park, and west to some troubled neighborhoods.

     I represented this district and labeled it the Bermuda Triangle of political districts – most politicians flew in, crashed, and were never heard of again ( I broke that trend .


     The debate started as they usually do. The moderator, beach President John Weaver, thanked the crowd and went over the ground rules. Each candidate would have two minutes for an opening statement, then there would be some “uncomfortable” questions for each candidate to start off the evening.

     The crowd was intrigued!

     Former Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom was asked to start off with her two minute opening statement. She offered the expected, I was your Commissioner, I was successful at it, I want to finish the term I had to leave to run at the County level ….. and then –

     …… “and there is another meeting down the road about the beach erosion, so I’ll have to leave now” ……..


     ….. and out she went !


     There was an air of disbelief in the room. The remaining candidates spread out and gave themselves some more elbow room on the dais, and candidate Dean Trantalis asked the moderator if it would be alright to remove the Rodstrom name-tag from the dais. There was muffled laughter.

     The three remaining candiates gave their usual opening statements and then the first question came from the moderator.

     “The first question is for Charlotte Rodstrom, and she just left, but I’m going to ask the question regardless – “Ms. Rodstrom, you resigned your City Commission job just weeks after winning to run for the County Commission post. That move will cost the City $250,000 for this special election – how do you respond?”

     The moderator then said – “Ms. Rodstrom is not here to answer that question, but the rules call for a one minute rebuttal from any of the challengers, would any of you like to rebut?” ….
     Rebut they did!

     Each of the other candidates had tough questions prepared for them also….

 They asked Trantalis why they should elect him to a seat that he only served one term on, and resigned citing personal conflicts with that same job…

     Trantalis said he had decided not to run for re-election then as his father was dying and he thinks he made the right decision…. He continued that he was the only candidate that could hit the ground running, said District II had immediate needs and that he could best tackle them.

 They asked Chuck Black how he thought he could be competitive when no one seemed to know him. Black humorously quipped, “look at this face, I’m an everyday guy” (inferring that everyone knew him). He went on to promote his military service, world experience,  and his ability to commit to a tough job.

 They asked  Lester Zalewski about him being removed from their very own Board. Zalewski countered that there were members of the Board whom he had conflicts with, but that the residents in the area felt a different way about him.
     Zalewski went on to point to his extensive record in business and entrepreneurialism. He said he was a rebel, but that’s what City Hall needed. 

     They finished with their concluding comments, all except for Rodstrom!

Crime Fighting Meets the Jetsons!

     Meet the future!

     A space-age new crime fighting technique may be coming to a neighborhood near you, if Police Chief Frank Adderley has his way.


     Burglaries are an ever increasing and troubling crime in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere.

    Five years ago in 2006, there were 1470 burglaries in the City, last year there were 2610! Something needs to be done –

                              Enter SmartWater


The Chief wants to partner with this company, SmartWater, that has engineered a creative way to catch those pesky burglars.

     Now this Smart Water you don’t drink.
     It is a “forensic liquid” that is given out to homeowners. It comes in a little bottle that looks like a “mascara tube with brush”. You take out the brush and put a little of the invisible water on your jewelery, lap top, big screen TV, art work, even your telephone. 


     When the burglar takes your items, the items will “glow in the dark” under UV light nearly forever. They will be encoded with a number that is specifically yours, and if they try and pawn them, police can nab them. 

     SmartWater also has a spray system, that can be put in a car, or even a house. If a car thief or burglar enters, a trigger can spray the forensic liquid on them and the thieves can’t wash it off! 


     The company says they had a 100% conviction rate in the United Kingdom, where they started. They are also in Tallahassee, where the Police Chief there says the burglary rate fell 33% in the year since SmartWater was brought in.


     City Manager Feldman is as excited as the Police Chief about trying the product in Fort Lauderdale. They want to spend $15,000 out of a confiscated funds account (taken from criminals) for a pilot project in the South Middle River neighborhood, that had 275 burglaries last year. 

     It is not a sure thing though, as former City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom is raising concerns about “by passing the procurement process”, and the “lack of a competitive process”.
     The company says there are a few other companies that have the technology, but none that have perfected it and proven it as they have.    

     The item is expected before the Commission in January.                      


Governor Jack ?

     The political world is talking.

     The Florida Governors’ race of 2014 is about to take off, and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler will have to decide soon if he wants to be on that ride!


     It’s no secret that Seiler has been thinking about a return to Tallahassee, someday, but his plan has always been to serve in local politics until all his children go off to college, probably 2018.

     But 2014 could be his year.

     Current Governor Rick Scott is vulnerable. He has been an unpopular Governor, and the Democrats think this could be the year for them to retake the Governors’ mansion. If another Democrat runs and wins the Governor job, he, or she,  would probably serve two terms until 2022, possibly too late for Seiler, as Seiler will term- limit out of the Mayor’s seat in 2018.

                                        Governor Scott, Chief Adderley, Seiler

     Seiler has been talking to party officials, and thinking a lot…


     Seiler has been a popular Mayor, credited for calming the City after years of  flamboyant, outspoken, conservative Mayor Jim Naugle. Some call Seiler the “parade Mayor”, as Seiler likes positive events, like the St. Patricks’ Day Parade that he brought back to the City.

     Seiler also pushed for more activities at the beach, downtown, and in the neighborhoods.

                                                          Jog with Jack event

     Another consideration is whether Seiler could even win the Democratic primary for Governor. He has one of the biggest Democrat names in the State, but giant name Charlie Crist has become an independent, and some say is close to becoming a Democrat. If Crist decided to try and retake the Governors’ post as a Democrat, he would certainly trounce Seiler in name recognition.

                                                 Geller – Seiler – Crist – Rubio – other bigshot

     And if Seiler does take the shot at the Governors’ seat, who will run for the Fort Lauderdale Mayor seat?

     Many say most probably one Rodstrom or the other.

     And lastly,  just for fun …..  when I was looking for good pictures of Jack Seiler for this post, I came across this picture of Jack Seiler on the internet, and would suggest he consider using it on some mailer or another if he does decide to take on the tough task of running for Governor  …………



Beach Damage Lowdown – Update

     We all know by now that a piece of our precious beach has taken a serious hit from the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy.


     What we want to know, is what’s being done about it!
     This blog post is a curious story about one of the candidates for District II City Commissions’ idea for a quick temporary fix to the 4 blocks of serious erosion we have been seeing all over the news. 

      [ As an aside, there is a public meeting scheduled for Dec. 10th, at 7 pm, at the Beach Community Center (north of Oakland), that the City is holding with FDOT and the County to update everyone on the beach problem, but that’s got beach residents hopping mad, more on that in a minute. ]


     Chuck Black
is a twenty year Navy Vet, and a candidate for the open seat that Charlotte Rodstrom vacated to run for a County seat last summer (Rodstrom is also running trying to retake her seat after losing the County race).. Black says when he heard about the damage at the beach, he knew right away that he could help.

     Black says he was a “damage control team trainer” in the Navy, and just happens to know the right people to put in a temporary fix, and almost no cost to the City. 

                             Here’s the deal


     Black’s friend is Joe Farrell, of Nantucket, and says if he puts these “modules” in the ocean where the waves have taken the beach away, the sand will return.

     Farrell is a “marine salvage specialist”, and owns a company called Resolve Marine Group. He says the modules are filled with water to keep them in place, then are craned just offshore, where they protect the beach and build up the sand until a more permanent solution is taken. He says he is ready, and that the modules can be in place in 72 hours after he is given the go-ahead.

     Here is an article about Farell and his plan for Nantucket.


     Chuck Black and Farrell met with City Manager Lee Feldman a few days ago, and proffered the nearly no cost offer (the City/State would pay for the cranes- $20,000-$30,000, and Farrell would take care of the rest). Feldman sent the proposal off to the FDOT and the County for them to evaluate.

     We expect we’ll hear whether the local officials find the process doable at the update meeting on Dec. 10th…  

    ….. And the reason the beach area residents are upset about the update meeting on Dec. 10th, is because the meeting was scheduled at the exact same time as the beach is holding their candidates night – where they will be listening to the District II candidates – including Chuck Black!