Statue Soap Opera!
You regular readers will remember the beautiful African sculptures that have been placed along NE 13th Street over the last 5 years.
The sculptures are a donation from African importer Ross Parker, through his company Call Of Africa, that has a warehouse on 13th.
For you newer readers, one of the three original sculptures got demolished by a motorist, who fell asleep and ran off the road a few years back.
demolished and its’ replacement!
Well, it has happened again.
This time, a hit and run at 2:45 am….. It was called into police, who are now on the hunt for the motorist.
Can anybody say drunk driver ??
This time, only a little portion of the base broke, and here is local fork-lifter Josh Mounts, taking the $35,000 sculpture away to the sick bay for repairs………
There is a reward out for the latest Statue Smasher …..
We should all be very proud of our Homeless Assistance Center on Sunrise Boulevard.
Yesterday, about 25 citizens took Tim’s Tour of the award winning facility that has taken about 18,000 homeless people off the streets and coddled them back into civilization over the past 15 years.
The City has had difficult homeless issues for decades, and the shelter has not fixed the whole problem for sure.
Popeye – this morning on Sunrise Blvd.
But the Center is putting a serious dent in the problem. The Center only admits homeless that are willing to get their lives together.
The rules at the center are stringent – in by 7:30 pm – working or preparing to work during the day.
Their “clients” each have a Case Worker, who gets to the bottom of the clients’ issues. There are psychologists, medical professionals, and the like, but it is the life skills and needs that seems to make the most difference.
They are fed well (except for the donuts!),
….they have a choice of lots of nice new clothes ( lots of shoes!), that boost their self esteem and make them more employable,
….. and encouraged to read and learn computer skills.
One of the most dynamic services is the dental facility. Here is one of the hundreds of before and after pictures that are worth a thousand words –
We should all be very proud of our Homeless Center on Sunrise Boulevard !
Former City Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson was arrested for public corruption on January 28, 2011 . Today, the State Attorneys’ Offices’ calendar says the trial might be just days away – nearly two years after her arrest.
Here is the reply I received today from an inquiry I made of the States’ Attorneys’ Office –
The Broward State Attorney’s Office has an active, ongoing case against former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson. Assistant State Attorney Deborah Zimet in our Special Prosecutions Unit is handling the case.
Ms. Hutchinson is accused of exchanging her commission votes for gifts from developers. She is charged with 11 public corruption-related charges, including unlawful compensation, official misconduct, petty theft, grand theft, conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation and perjury. That case is set for a calendar call / status hearing on 3/7 with a trial date set for 3/11.
The case against Hutchinson includes some bizarre behavior for a Commissioner once considered to be an “anti-development” hero.
Hutchinson is accused of accepting “gifts” from a developer, after voting for the developers’ large housing project in her District.
The gifts reportedly included, among other things, cash, a new stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and something she could use to completely finish off her political career –
a new toilet!
Here is an excerpt from a Sun-Sentinel article a few years back that detailed the charges against Hutchinson-
Starting in 2005, Goldstrom said he sent over a steady stream of subcontractors to do jobs for Hutchinson, including planting ficus trees, doing “marble work” in a barbecue area at the rear of her home and a $4,000 paver installation. All of it was paid for by the development company and Hutchinson never objected, Goldstrom and others said under oath.
“She had implied to me that she had some financial problems, you know …,” Goldstrom said. “And I said, well, you know I’ll take care of you and I’ll throw you some money…”
Goldstrom estimated he gave her “maybe three” separate payments of between $2,000 and $5,000 each. For the exact total, he told prosecutors to look through company records for checks made out to him which he said he then cashed and gave the money to her.
Detectives said Hutchinson lied to them when they went to her house on Sept. 9 to ask about the home improvements. She told them she didn’t know any of Wright’s associates and didn’t mention any of the work the subcontractors did for her. Minutes after they left, her cellphone records showed she called Goldstrom. Goldstrom told prosecutors that she told him there were people “sniffing around at my house” and asked if there were any records of what had been done at her home. “She was concerned,” Goldstrom said. “She called me a bunch of times.”
Hutchinson professes her innocence. Her attorney says the gifts were just gifts between friends and had nothing to do with Hutchinson political office.
The annual Fort Lauderdale – St. Paddys’ Day parade is coming up on March 9th, and there will be so much fun and frivolities!
The 13th Street Alliance ( a group of neighborhoods and businesses) has entered the parade, and are building a float!
hmmmm…… but how?
We are going to follow their float building process over the next two weeks until they finish the float by parade day. Here they are looking at their blank canvass…..
They look confused…..Stay Tuned!
Often you can tell who will win a political race by who gets the most campaign contributions.
But in the race for Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner for District II, coming on March 12th, it’s not that easy.
Dean and Charlotte in friendlier times
Both candidates have raised similar amounts of money. As of the last report, ( January 18), Rodstrom had raised $31,810, and spent $28,421. Trantalis had raised $27,390, and spent $26,829.
Rodstrom attracts the big donors more. Out of the 146 contributions she got, 118 were for the maximum amount allowed – $250.
Trantalis took in a total of 225 contributions, but only 67 were for the maximum.
Rodstrom also cornered the – big names in town category.
Donations came in from Austin, Christine, and Miles Forman – Ron and Patricia Book, Emmett and Sarah Mctigue, George and Ann Platt, Jesse, Susan,Terry, and Michael Gaddis, Milton Jones, Jim Blosser, Terry Stiles, Michael Maroone, Ray Parker, Jack Loos, Thomas Maus, and John Milledge.
Trantalis only scored from a few big shots- Lori Parrish, Ken Keechl, Ted Adcock, Caldwell Cooper, and Angelo Castillo.
But Trantalis got considerably more donations from neighborhood and civic leaders like Linda Bird, Sal Gatanio, Randall Klett, Steve Glassman, Mel Rubenstein, Rick Gibson, Shirley Smith, Marge Anderson, Art Seitz, Mark Ketchum, Donna Collins, and Mary Pat Rhodes.
Trantalis also got the oddest donation of .01 (one penny). And also the most unusual name that donated – Pati Windowmaker, (no indication of what she does for a living).
If you live in District II – Vote March 12th!
This is an update on the post of last week about Charlotte Rodstrom and the Fort Lauderdale park land addition!
It is a tangled political web weaved, and very curious.
And now, the park land money slated for Fort Lauderdale may be headed for other cities out west ( I’ll explain in a second ). –
The County Commissioner who beat Rostrom in her ill-fated run for the County Commission last summer, Tim Ryan, had an item on the County Commission agenda to move purchase funds that were attached to an unbuyable –arsenic laden- parcel on one side of a Fort Lauderdale city park, to a bigger, clean parcel on the other side of that same city park….
Rodstrom had visited County Commissioners the day before the meeting to move the funds, and asked Commissioner Stacy Ritter to pull the item off the agenda.
Ritter did Rodstrom that favor by sending this official record below. Ritter told me that Rodstrom had made the rounds that day and asked other County Commissioners to pull the item as well.
Here is the official record –
Rodstrom tried to explain why she requested the park land addition be postponed by this letter below, sent to the neighborhood President-
Dear MRT President,
In respect to the recent accusations put out on a Blog. I am providing you information regarding my work on park space.
For anyone to make an accusation that I do not want more park space would be completely wrong.
Here is why:
Since elected in 2006 I have secured funds for new parks: South Middle River Park in South Middle River neighborhood, Peter Feldman Park in Flagler Village, Middle River Terrace Park addition OS-145.
I have completed SMR park, Peter Feldman Park, Dolphin Isles park and I am awaiting for the completion of the MRT park addition.
Why would anyone think I would jeopardize funds when I was the Commissioner who worked to ensure the funds in the first place????
I also brought the first Greenway to Fort Lauderdale. The Flagler Greenway, if you count that as open space. Which equates to millions of dollars for Fort Lauderdale during the past 6 years and I followed the governmental process.
And those are just the parks/open spaces in District 2, Citywide I also agreed to much more !!! Go take a look at how wonderful those parks are and the benefit to the neighborhoods. $400 million was provided under the County Parks program in 2000. I would gladly compare my park open space record to any other district commissioner since 2000.
There seems to be a hidden agenda being promoted by a blogger. Most likely because he is supporting the person running against me in the upcoming election. I hope this information clarifies my position on the issue and is helpful to you. Thank you
I think this qualifies as a non-denial denial !
Now, Commissioner Wexler seems to be eyeing the funds for one of her cities, out west. She sent this e-mail to activist Mary Grahams’ inquiry on whether the park funds would stay in Fort Lauderdales’ column –
From: “Wexler, Lois”
Sent: Feb 11, 2013 11:31 PM
Subject: RE: ITEM #54 BCC (deferred) 02-05-13 agenda
I am sure that Commissioner Ryan will champion the property switch for District 7 however the Board has to agree. There were 6 properties that were already on the list that had not been funded.
Broward County Commissioner Distict 5
As always, I’ve tried to get Rodstroms’ side of the story, but can’t get her on the phone or by e-mail …… I can only imagine that this, below, is what she would say to me if she would call me ………..
The tour of the Homeless Assistance Center, previously scheduled for this Thursday (Valentines Day), has been rescheduled for next Thursday, February 21st. (still at 5pm sharp).
Turns out, some of my friends, including my wife, objected to the tour on the special lovers day.
With any luck, all my wounds should be healed by the 21st !
The next citizens’ tour, affectionately called “Tims’ Tours” (because I named it , will take place at Fort Lauderdales’ heralded shelter for the homeless –
…the Homeless Assistance Center. We will see what happens when a homeless person is saved from the streets in this finely structured setting.
Fort Lauderdale has had a serious long-time homeless problem, and actually had a homeless camp for a few years in the middle of the downtown, where assaults, rapes, even shootings were common place.
A few years back, Stranahan Park in the downtown was overrun by the homeless, including this man above, that was released from an Illinois jail after serving time for child murder.
To join the tour, be at the Homeless Assistance Center (NW 7th Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard), Thursday, Feb. 14, at 5:00 pm sharp.
I know I run the risk of my blog being rebilled as the” Rodstrom Report”, by running yet another post about Charlotte Rodstrom, but this little tidbit needs explaining…..
Today was the day that one of the Fort Lauderdale parks, the Middle River Terrace park, (on Dixie Highway), was set to go on the County Commission agenda for funding – to double its’ size, thanks to our new County Commissioner Tim Ryan.
The monies were to come from the last of the Land Preservation Bond Program monies that the citizens of Broward County voted for years back….
the current 4 acre park
the almost added 3 acres next door
But sadly the item was pulled off the County agenda, literally at the last minute, this morning.
Turns out that Charlotte Rodstrom was at the County building yesterday, meeting with some County Commissioners, (with her supporter Laura Crescenco in tow), and a County staffer told me that Rodstrom was talking the park addition down at a meeting with at least one Commissioner.
And a Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner told me that he received a call from Rodstrom later last night, saying the City should try and call off the County vote to enlarge the park, that there might not be a willing seller, or the seller might not take the Countys’ offer, or … the moon might be cream cheese!
And lastly, the County Commissioner who officially asked for the deferral, said that Rodstrom not only asked her to remove the item, but “went around to everybody”…
Anyhow, the nearly 3 acre park addition item was pulled – damn shame!