Another Candidate, And His Platform

     His name is Lester Zalewski, and he is running for the District II Commissioner’s seat.


      The seat is currently held by Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom. Rodstrom is running for re-election to the seat.

                               Here are Zalewski’s answers to my questions

     1.) What made you run, what makes you say that the current Commissioner needs to be replaced?

     I want to give back to the place I’ve called home for fourteen years.

     I’ve served overseas in our military. I’ve served on the boards of my condominium and on the Central Beach Alliance where I encouraged more inclusiveness and consensus. That’s my goal on City Commission too.

     When times were good and we needed to slow down six years back, our current commissioner was the right choice. Now times are tough, we need a can-do guy. Someone tough enough to roll their sleeves up and get the growth back. My twenty-five hard-scrabble years growing a million dollar business from scratch makes me the right choice now. A good neighbor who will fight for good neighborhoods in every part of District 2. 

     2.)What would your agenda be if elected?

     I don’t need to tell people times are tough.

     There is going to be an increasingly competitive environment for investment and government dollars. Economic development and re-development is key to all the neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale. We need to make Fort Lauderdale a more attractive place to invest, work, learn and play in.

     I want to encourage responsible re-development. Our building developers need to be good neighbors and beautify and add value to our neighborhoods. There are great examples of local developers who are showing the way already.

     It’s not just about compatible, responsible building re-development. It’s also about bringing in new industry – new jobs – fresh skills, that will boost our economy all year round – not just when the tourists and boaters are here.

     I want to expand Mayor Seiler’s campaign for citizen involvement. We need to increase not just volunteers’ hours but the quality of input.

     I’ve spoken at City Commission and committee and I’ve seen we can make better use of volunteers’ time. But we need to incentivize them – show them that we will act on their input. Committees need to be more than mere talking shops. We need to improve our meeting skills. And the City Commission needs to show our community leaders that their words have value and will lead to action.

     We need a vision for the long term too. One that will prepare us for the competition to our marine and tourism industry from cities in the US and overseas. One that will prepare us for the great challenges in the years ahead. I don’t see that leadership in our master plan. It will be if I’m elected City Commissioner.

     3.)The beach area residents have been conflicted about growth on the beach for some time. What are the issues there, and specifically what would you do about beach redevelopment if elected?

     District 2 is far more than the beach, just as Fort Lauderdale is far more than just District 2.

     Everybody should enjoy the beach. It is also an important economic engine for the city. But let’s not forget those areas that are currently being neglected.

     Walk or cycle the streets and you’ll see abandoned vacant lots – an entire community with no supermarket – unsafe sidewalks – unsafe bike lanes – historic buildings at threat. Send me your list. If elected I will do my best to build consensus to take care of it. E-mail me.

     When a group of you want to meet, let me know and we’ll schedule a meeting where you’ll do the talking. I’m going to meet as many of you as possible and hear what concerns you most.

     Help even the odds of the opposition’s big budget and well-oiled political machine and pass on copies of this letter to friends who vote.

     There are people who live in Fort Lauderdale all year round who want to enjoy their neighborhoods day and night, and not walk in fear of being panhandled, mugged or stolen from in their cars or homes. Good neighbors can make for good neighborhoods.

     On the beach I want more consultation and mixed-use thinking so people don’t have to drive over a bridge every time to get supplies.

     The people should be properly consulted on proposals like the Walgreen’s on Las Olas at the beach or the one-bid International Hall of Fame project or linking it to the Bahia Mar development so all of Fort Lauderdale can benefit. Everybody needs to be involved. Not just the special interests.

     Our right to determine the future of our neighborhoods is being lost. Don’t throw your neighborhood away. Make your voice count. Make a note to vote January 31.

     We can be the City Commissioners’ eyes and ears between elections – but Commissioners will take our vote for granted unless we shake ‘em up next month. Show ‘em you care. Make your vote matter. Or it’ll be business as usual. Good neighbors can make for good neighborhoods. A good neighbor gives back and votes. The first step forward is to vote for me, Lester Zalewski, January 31.

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