Picture shows Rep. Jack Seiler in painful run!

  
      And you thought we were talking about his recently announced entry into the Fort Lauderdale Mayoral race!

     Actually, we received this photo, from an anonymous source, of a very pained looking State Representative Jack Seiler, dragging himself (with the help of some young tots) through a Wilton Manors 5K race!




                                            


     When reached for a comment, Seiler exclaimed, “I sure hope the Mayoral race is easier than that run was” ! On a more serious note, Seiler sent in this statement…….

                


“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Fort Lauderdale in a new capacity.  Since 2000, I have been honored and privileged to represent areas of Fort Lauderdale in the Florida House of Representatives, and I have truly enjoyed my tenure in Tallahassee.  Now, I am looking forward to representing all of Fort Lauderdale in City Hall.”  


…stay tuned for more articles on the upcoming exciting Fort Lauderdale Mayoral race!

                  

Police call for “No Confidence” vote on City Manager Gretsas

     In a move that could further deteriorate the relationship between the Fort Lauderdale Police Union and the City Management/City Commission, the Union has called for a vote of “No Confidence” in Manager George Gretsas. The vote is expected to be taken at an upcoming meeting. The Union is also including Assistant City Manager David Hebert, who oversees Public Safety for Gretsas, in the “No Confidence” vote, though the Police Chief has apparently been spared.
 
                     
                             Gretsas and  Department brass


     The drastic action follows unsuccessful efforts to negotiate a Police contract. Police Union officials report that the failure to negotiate a satisfactory contract have led to poor morale and an exodus of experienced Police Officers from the force. These are some of the numbers that they state to make their case:

33
less Officers now than 2003, when the City had less residents

58
Police Officers left the force in 2007

94%
of the force claim poor or very poor morale

72% 
of the Officers are looking to move to other agencies

     Union officials complain that though they rated near the top in pay among other Departments in 2003, they currently rank last. They point to Gretsas’s
21 % increase in pay, while their standing among other Departments has fallen. 

     The Mayor and Commissioners are responsible for approving a contract, and leaks suggest that there is wide disagreement among the Commission on a solution. Early reports had Mayor Naugle and Commissioner Hutchinson in favor of accepting the Police demands, Commissioners Moore and Teel opposing, and Commissioner Rodstrom on the fence. The latest development has Teel ready to deal, but Naugle and Rodstrom at odds over the length of the contract to offer. 

     One thing is for sure. A “No Confidence ” vote next week on the City Manager is sure to cause new riffs and further instability. Stay tuned!


 

Skip Campbell impresses local activists

     Sitting outdoors at a quaint coffee shop, on the seedy edge of the trendy Victoria Park neighborhood, a group of key Fort Lauderdale opinion makers  met with former State Senator Skip Campbell, to hear him make his case for his bid to return to the Florida Senate next year. 
                                                 
                                                    
     Campbell, a Democrat, served with distinction in the Florida legislature for a decade, but saw his political career derailed in a loss for the State Attorney General post in 2006. This time around, Campbell has joined the race for the seat currently held by Jeff Atwater, a Republican. The 25th Florida Senate District seat is comprised of multiple cities, but Fort Lauderdale accounts for a hefty 40% of the District, all east of Interstate 95 to the Atlantic Ocean.

     The meeting, arranged by Randy Dunlap, a neighborhood activist and International Airport expert, and who ran unsuccessfully for John Rodstrom’s County Commission seat, was attended by a rich array of Fort Lauderdales’ leaders.
     The list included a former Mayor, former City Commissioners, leaders in the Fort Lauderdale Council of Neighborhoods, the  Publisher of the Fort Lauderdale City News,  current and former City Commission candidates, neighborhoods Presidents, and assorted other neighborhood activists. 

     Campbell used the hour long meeting to spell out his reasons for his efforts to rejoin the Legislature, which mostly centered around the States’ expensive insurance premiums, and his opponents’ percieved obligations to the Insurance Industry. Most attendees reported being “quite impressed” with not only his deep knowledge of the issues, but also his frank and honest answers to the questions posed by the group. 

     Campbell expressed a desire to meet with other groups in the City. Let him know if your group wants him to attend your meeting by calling him at 954-763-8181.

    

Former City Commissioner drags self through Half-Marathon !

                                              



                                                      

                                         Former City Commissioner Tim Smith
                       running (kind of) the Fort Lauderdale
                       Half-Marathon on February 17th, 2008  

             ….. when asked for a comment, he was only able
                            to mutter “OUCH!”  …..

Who’s Fort Lauderdale backing for President?

     Who are the rich and famous of Fort Lauderdale backing for President of the United States?

     It’s a bit complicated.

     First off, many people keep that choice a secret. You can ask (as I’ve done), but many will just tell you it’s none of your business, and they may be right. Also, some of the richest and most famous back more than one candidate, just in case!

     But thanks to the Internet, if you’ve given a Presidential candidate (or two) more than $200, your name, occupation, address, and shoe size are there for the discovery! All together, large donors in Fort Lauderdale have given about a Million Dollars, spent nearly evenly among the Democratic and Republican candidates, according to current Internet records.

     And here’s what it’s looking like so far…. on the Democratic side,
                                    
Obama,

 though seemingly catching fire on the National stage, hasn’t lit so much as a brushfire here in Fort Lauderdale among the big donors. His known local support comes from former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Tim Smith, well- known local architects Anthony Abbate, Don Singer, and Dan Fee, civic activists Joe Holland and Cal Deal, historic preservationist Diane Smart, and attorney Mitchell Berger. He has also gotten big donations from Neil Sterling  and George Platt,(Broward County lobbyists),  but they both are hedging their bets and giving to multiple candidates ,herein referred to as MD (Multiple Donors).

Clinton 

 seems to be the big favorite among the City’s powerful. John and Charlotte Rodstom have been their most vocal fans among elected officials, having held a fundraiser at their Las Olas Isles home. Also in the Clinton camp include attorneys Don McCloskey, Greg Durden, George Platt (MD), Dick Coker, John Milledge, Robert Lochrie, and former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Dean Trantalis. The developers include Ramola Motwani (beach),  Michael Shiff (Las Olas),  and Alan Hooper (downtown). The  realtors include Jackie Scott and Linda Bird, and well known VIP’s include Jim Kane (pollster),  Jack Abdo (Bank of Atlantic)  Neil Stirling (MD), Alan Levy, Geri Udell, Judy Stern (political consultant) Jim McKinley, and Elizabeth Buntrock (cousin of Wayne Huizenga) (MD).

Richardson 

  had quite a bit of support of the elite, with large donations from Michael Egan (former owner of Alamo Rent-a-Car), Russ Klenet (lobbyist) and attorneys Russ Adler (MD) and Ira Marcus, and also got money from multiple donors Platt, Buntrock, and Judy Stern.


Edwards 

  Edwards saw support from former political candidates Fred Haddad, Ken Cooper, and Bradford Cohen, attorney Jon Krupnick and VIP’s James Cummings and Elizabeth Buntrock (MD).

…….and on the Republican side


McCain 

  has seen big donations from attorneys Russ Adler  (MD), and Don Hall, realtor Ted Drum, and VIP’s Randy Avon and Clay King.


Romney

  was the favorite of Wayne Huizenga, Mike Maroone (auto dealerships), James Blosser, (who raised $100,000 for George Bush)  and VIP’s Fred Guardabasi and George Morgan (shopping center developer).

Guiliani

  saw donations from local bigshots Terry Stiles and William Schere, and attorney Russ Adler (MD) . 

Huckabee

  was the favorite of anti-gay activist Margaret Hostetter, and was recently endorsed by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle.

Thompson

  received  a donation from Naugle (MD).




 

Wanted: New Commissioner for Fort Lauderdale

In early 2009, for the first time in nearly a decade, voters in District IV in Fort Lauderdale will go to the polls and choose a new Commissioner. The District has been represented by Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson since her win in 2000. She is now term-limited and running for the open Mayoral seat.

     District IV is one of Fort Lauderdale’s most diverse districts, with a mix of people, incomes, and issues, and is commonly believed to have the most active Civic Associations in the City. 

     The district is centered in the
Downtown, where a new, dense, urban lifestyle has created conflicts with some of the oldest neighborhoods in the City, including Sailboat Bend, Rio Vista, and Tarpon River.  The District also contains the southern portion of the Fort Lauderdale Beach, with it’s upscale neighborhoods of Harbor Beach, Harbour Isles, Harbour inlet, and Breakwater Surf Club. Rounding out the District are the mostly blue collar neighborhoods that run along the State Road 84 corridor, the Riverland Road area, and the areas along Davie Boulevard, where much of the City’s Hispanic population resides.

     So who is in the hunt to represent this cauldron? ….. It’s breaking down like this:

     Charles 
Jordan, 49, ran unsuccessfully (but strongly) for the Commissioner post in 2006. He garnered 42% of the vote in that run, and might be considered the frontrunner if he decides to get in. Jordan is a longtime civic activist, past President of the Sailboat Bend neighborhood and past Chairperson of the City’s Historic Preservation Board. He is largely considered to be a slow-growth candidate, and has worked hard on a citizen-led committee to adjust the Development Regulations in the City. Jordan says that he is not sure if he will get in the race. He says he is conferring with his team from the 2006 run, gauging the current political atmosphere, and deciding if he can once again put his family and his home remodeling and property development business on hold for a difficult political campaign. He is surely one to watch. 

    
Darin Lentner, 44, past President of the Imperial Point neighborhood, and the current Vice-President of the River Oaks neighborhood, made news this past year when he agreed to bow out of the race for State Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff’s seat, under pressure from Bogdanoff and the Republican party. It is rumored that Bogdanoff promised him support for a Fort Lauderdale City Commission try if he would get out of her race. Darin says that he thinks that serving the City is a better cause, and a post that might be more appropriate for a first-time elected official. He intends to jump into the race “in a few weeks.” He says he is neither “pro” or “anti” development, but has “friends who are developers, and friends who are environmentalists”. Lentner thinks the City needs a “new vision”, and by the looks of his success as a Partner in his law firm, and his sometimes hobby of marathon running, he is one not to count out in the coming sprint.

    
Coleman Prewitt, 41, a local lawyer with his own firm, has created quite a buzz in some civic circles in the past year. The One-Community Board member, die hard Citizen Volunteer Corp participant and joint UNITE Fort Lauderdale founder is planning a formal announcement and campaign kickoff event on March 25th at the Stone Packard Museum. Pruitt, who lives in the Las Olas Grande in Downtown, cites the difficult times ahead in the City as his reason for wanting to serve as Commissioner. He cites the challenge of maintaining Public Safety, promoting Economic Development, and bringing new jobs to the City, with the looming budget cuts, as a difficult job that needs special attention. He says he feels he is “up for the job.” Pruitt is gaining support from many of the well known civic activists in the District, which makes him a force to be reckoned with.

    
Ron Centamore, a former Fort Lauderdale Police Officer and current President of the Downtown Civic Association, has been widely expected to run for the seat, but rumors abound he has changed his mind and won’t make a go for it in this cycle.

    
Expect more candidates to appear before the full roster is complete. We will keep our ear to the ground and let you know as things develop…..


                                        Ciao, Tim

Who’s the Fatest Cat ?

The Mayor or the Commissioners
    Who owns more of Fort Lauderdale?              
 
    According to the Broward County Property Appraiser Records, the five members of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission own as much as 7 million dollars worth of Real Estate in Fort Lauderdale.
 
     This is how it breaks down.   
                                                                                                        
                     
                          Christine Teel
 
     Commissioner Christine Teel wins the Real Estate value contest, with a home on the water assessed at $2,710,380 and a Co-op worth $119,710, for a joint value of $2,830,090. Teel represents District I, widely believed to be the District with the most wealth.




 


Teel Mansion


     Mayor Jim Naugle comes in second, with his home on the water worth $1,291,270 and a nearby condominium unit worth $490,810, racking up a combined value of $1,782,080. Naugle also owns numerous commercial properties on S. Andrews Ave, but that value, $1,520,060, is owned with partners, with his portion unclear, and was therefore not included in the value race with his Commission.
 
      Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, who represents District II, a district which contains the very wealthy and the very poor, fits in the middle of the pack, with her home on the water in the prestigious Las Olas Isles community, valued at $1,371,550.
 
     Commissioner Carlton Moore, representing the poorest areas of the City, District III, owns a home valued at $191,020. Moore also owns a property jointly owned, worth $158,780, but as with Naugle, that property was not included in the value race.


           
                   Carlton Moore
 
     Lastly, Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson owns one half interest in a home valued at $258,690.


 

Who will be the next Mayor of Fort Lauderdale?

      One thing is for sure. There will be a new Mayor in Fort Lauderdale in 2009 for the first time since 1991. Term limits kick in next year!

     In 2000, voters overwhelming adopted term limits (proposed by Tim Smith) for the first time in the City’s history. The Mayor and Commissioners can serve three – three year terms. The term limits were not retroactive, but started with the adoption of the new law. The current Mayor, old what’s his name, has served as Mayor since 1991 (and served as a Commissioner before that since 1985), and will retire having been the longest serving Mayor in the City’s history.

     So the fight is on. Fort Lauderdale is the largest City in Broward County, with 170,000 + residents, and a daytime population that has been estimated to be nearly 500,000 people. The Fort Lauderdale Mayoral position is arguably the highest profile job in a County of over one and a half million people.

     Cindi Hutchinson,
a Fort Lauderdale Commissioner since 2000, is the only announced candidate so far. The primary election is scheduled for February of 2009, with a run-off election in March.

     Jack Seiler, is currently a State Representative in a District that serves much of Fort Lauderdale and served as Mayor of Wilton Manors before that. He has said publicly that he intends to get in the race, though as of yet has not declared.

     There is speculation about other candidates. Many believe that Romney Rogers,
grandson of U.S. Representative Dwight Rogers Sr., is eyeing the Mayor’s race. He is a neighbor of Jim Naugle, and is rumored to have been encouraged by Naugle to enter the race. Naugle’s endorsement could help a relatively unknown candidate such as Rogers in a crowded field.
     Other names being talked about include current Commissioners Teel and Rodstrom,
though both have said publicly that they intend to run for additional terms as Commissioners.
     Two former Commissioners, Aurelius and Trantalis
, are consistent rumors, though neither have motioned any intentions of jumping in. Lastly, many believe former Commissioner Tim Smith is positioning himself for a run, but has said publicly that him “chewing glass” sounded more plausible. 

     We will continue to monitor developments. Let me know what you think.

     

       


got opinions ?

    Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 2008

     Thanks for logging onto Tim Smith’s Fort lauderdale

     The site’s mission is to keep you informed about Fort Lauderdale: it’s government, it’s elected officials, and most importantly, it’s future. It’s an especially appropriate time to launch the site, as the municipal elections are going to take place about this time next year. Term limits are kicking in, and Fort Lauderdale will have a substantially new governing body.              

     The City has been engaged in a “Identity Crisis” for years, and this election might begin to define what we will be when we grow up! The City will have it’s 100th birthday in 2011, just three years away! 

 Now about your participation. It’s expected. It’s wanted. It’s a little scary! I’m sure you are reading on because you DO have opinions, and you DO want to be heard. And this will give you a new voice. Please comment on the issues of the day, the stories you read here, and other items you think we need to cover. Keep it clean, keep it short, and keep it interesting ! And before you leave, please subscribe (see left column at the bottom), so you will kept up to date on future postings !

                                                    ciao, Tim