City Commission – Where to Start?

     The tasks must surely seem daunting.

    High hopes are riding on the success of the new five!

                                 Rogers…. Dubose…. Roberts……
not Rodstrom….. Seiler

And as they get down to work, suggestions are being made about just where they ought to start. Sure, they’lI have the budget, normal purchases, and ongoing things to attend to, but I’m talking big picture here. I’m including a few of my own suggestions below, and I hope you will comment  (be brave!) and add your own thoughts to the list.

                     Election Reform – While it’s still fresh in our memories, we should change the way we elect our Commissioners and Mayor. A dismal 12% of  the City’s registered voters bothered to come out and vote on March 10th. That’s disgraceful.
We should change election day to November to coincide with the Presidential elections. We will need to change the length of the terms for the Mayor and Commissioners to four years (it’s now three) to make it work.  We  should probably adjust the term limits to (2) 4 – year terms instead of the current (3) 3- year terms. Critics say the City might get lost in the shuffle if we move the elections to November, but could we really be any more lost than 12%?

And while we’re at it
, new restrictions on those shadowy groups that contribute outside the City campaign finance system should be instituted. 

                       City Manager
–   It’s no secret that Commissioner Rodstrom wants to oust  City Manager George Gretsas. The question is whether she’ll have two more votes to accomplish that with her new colleagues. It will be unsettling for all if the answer isn’t evident up front, and soon. It sounds like a majority want Gretsas to stay under certain conditions. If that’s the case, spell out the conditions for Gretsas staying and get on with it. If there are three that want to hire their own Manager, then get on with that.

                        The Vision Thing
– It was a staple at all the debates. What should the City look like in the future?  What is the plan?  Is there consensus?  Should the citizenry be included in the answer? The only sensible answer is YES ! … Figure out a public process to reach City-Wide consensus on what the City wants to be when it grows up!  Do it sooner than later and you’ll have a game plan to follow that has fresh citizen buy-in! 

Land Use Code Changes – This issue has been moving in an excruciatingly slow fashion for the last few years.
      It was started by an amazingly broad-based  group of Fort Lauderdalians some years ago and sent off to the Commission for review. It proposes changes to the City’s rules about building most everything. (Large townhouses need to be set back at the second floor, where’s the place for garbage cans to sit when they’re not at the street, green building techniques should be encouraged , those sorts of things). The old Commission sent it into committee/consultant hell and little has happened. We should make the changes to the planning rules now while things are slow, and we’ll have a more agreeable citizenry when things heat up again..

                       ………. OK, there’s a short list from just one citizen. I hope you will add to the list. The Mayor and Commissioners have been known to read this blog! …………..Tim

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