Fort Lauderdale Elections To Set Records !

     The Voters of Fort Lauderdale will finally get chance to substantially alter their City Commission in March 2009.

     For the first time ever in the history of Fort Lauderdale, term limits will kick in, which will effectively remove three of the five members of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. In the last 97 years since Fort Lauderdale’s incorporation in 1911, city politicians could serve and serve and serve some more! Incumbents have nearly always won re-election, and most left office only for reasons of death, relocation, or indictment! 

     This is how things are stacking up so far:

     Mayor – The Mayoral seat opens after being held by Jim Naugle for 18 years. Naugle was first elected as a commissioner in 1985, which puts his tenure in elected office at 24 years. (Yikes!)

                                  

     Five are currently vying for the post. They are:

City Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson – term limited as City Commissioner
State Representative Jack Seiler – term limited as State Rep.
Dean Trantalis – former one term City Commissioner
Earl Rynerson – local businessman and former San Francisco official
Steve Rossi – local lawyer best known for his advertisements on bus benches

     There has been talk of others getting in the race, but even with the five already announced, a record has been set.


     District I –  this area covers most of the northern part of the City, and is widely believed to be the most affluent (and most Republican). It is currently represented by City Commissioner Christine Teel, who is running for re-election. If she wins, she will serve her last three year term, and be term limited herself. She has drawn two challengers so far;

 Bruce Roberts – former Chief of Police
Inger Garcia – local lawyer and Galt Ocean Mile activist

     District II – This District is the most diverse district, which swings through the beach, up Las Olas, through Victoria Park, and out into neighborhoods with serious crime problems and poorer immigrants. It is currently being served by first term Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, and though no one has yet announced their intention to run against her yet, word is that these folks are probably getting in the race soon;

Steve Glassman – Central beach Alliance President
Mike Vondermulen – Poinsettia Hgts President
Howard Elfman – Victoria Park activist and local businessman

     District III – This district encompasses the poorest parts of the City, and was configured to elect a black person to the historically all white Commissions. The current Commissioner Carlton Moore is term limited, ran for a County Commission seat and lost, and has resigned his City Commission seat effective November 4th. His seat will be filled by an appointment who will serve from November until the March election. There are currently four announced candidates for his seat and at least two others who are expected to jump in soon. They are;

Jimmy B. “O Glory” Witherspoon – local youth pastor (pictured below)
                              
                           

Bobby Dubose – local businessman 
Nadine Hankerson
Cameron L. Mizell

and expected to join race soon – 
 
Bernadette Norris-Weeks – local attorney and well known city activist
LaRhonda Ware – Dorsey Riverbend President

     District IV –  This district is the original Fort Lauderdale. Las Olas, Harbor Beach, and the rest of the areas south of the New River make up it’s constituency. It’s known to be more conservative, anti-growth, and houses most of the native Fort Lauderdalians. The open seat has attracted three candidates so far:

Romney Rogers – grandson of State Representative Rogers and local lawyer. Romney represents the conservative side of the district.

Coleman Prewitt – local lawyer and favorite of the city’s best known civic activists. 

Jim Lewis – local lawyer and famous as the lawyer for Lionel Tate.


     So that’s the scoop, as it exists today ! Twenty-one candidates and counting. But the week is young ! .. … Stay tuned!