Only A Few May Get New Commissioner

     If Fort Lauderdale City Attorney Harry Stewart’s advice is taken, only a handful of neighborhoods will have a change in Commissioners.
              
                                         
                                                 
high-paid Harry

    
It’s all because the 2010 Census showed a substantial deviation between the number of people each Commissioner represented in the current make-up of the Districts, and by law, they have to have nearly the same number of folks to represent.

     Turns out, Commissioners Rogers and Dubose have too many people, and Commissioners Rodstrom and Roberts not enough, and Stewart has sent a memo to the Commission detailing a plan to correct that.

                                                  
                                                      Commission

     The proposed changes are interesting.

     The most interesting change will be two of the neighborhoods that abut Las Olas, – Cooley Hammock and Beverly Heights. They would both shift over from Commissioner Rogers to Commissioner Rodstrom.

     Figure this – Cooley Hammock has been at odds with their Commissioner Rogers over the proposed First Presbyterian Church development, slated for the south side of Las Olas,  down near the Floridian Restaurant. Whoever the Commissioner for the area is will certainly continue to have heavy pressure from the neighborhood to stop the project. If Rogers is no longer the Commissioner, Commissioner Rodstrom, who is known as the most anti-development person on the Commission, would probably try and kill ( or substantially change) the project. The pressure on Rogers will be diminished.

       Jackie Scott, long time activist and current President of Cooley Hammock , that’s been fighting the Church, says she has no problem with the Commissioner switch. She says Rodstrom ” works hard for her neighborhoods”.

     But the other neighborhood off Las Olas has a different view of the switch. Richard Mancuso, longtime President of Beverly Heights, personally opposes the switch. He says his neighborhood hasn’t had an opportunity to talk about it yet, but he says the City tried the same thing 10 years ago and they fought it then. “It’s nothing personal, nothing to do with Commissioner Rodstrom, but we are an urban neighborhood and should stay linked with the Downtown. The Downtown areas need to speak with one voice”.

     The other areas proposed for Commissioner swaps include both ends of the beach, south and north.

     One the south end, the neighborhoods of  Harbor Beach, Harbor Inlet, and  Harbor Isles would switch from Rogers to Rodstrom.

                                                           
                                                                 Ellis

     Activist Genia Ellis, from Harbor Inlet, opposes the switch, [ Genia sent in a comment after I published this post, so I’ve added it at the end of this post] as does Harbor beach activist Annette Ross.  Ross so far has sent a short response “no thank you” , but asked for time to elaborate on her opposition when she gets a chance.

     On the north end of the beach, the Lauderdale Beach neighborhood, which is on the east side of A1A and between NE 27th Street and E. Oakland Park Boulevard would switch from Rodstrom to Commissioner Bruce Roberts.

     The Commission takes up the matter Tuesday.

 
  ….from Genia Ellis ………..

Tim, when you asked me about the agenda item regarding re-districting, I
replied that there isn’t an opportunity for neighborhoods to have a
meaningful dialog on a holiday weekend. You say I am opposed however it is
more correct to say that there has been no public input or an assessment of
the effected neighborhoods needs – that isn’t exactly being opposed.

Redistricting is always difficult when trying to assess the needs of areas
to comply with mandated numbers requirements resulting from the census.
Neighborhoods work cohesively for district issues and realigning them is
always fraught with concerns. Most of which are easy to address.

During the last redistricting efforts and to assure well rounded
representation of the beach, it was determined to continue with 3 districts
addressing the beach issues to represents all of the types of residences
(single family, multi-family and including hi rise) and businesses in the
area – each defined differently by entertainment districts, CRA, BID, RS
4.4, RS 8 and a large variety of other multi-family zoning. The change
propose would certainly change that dynamic and local concerns could be
overshadowed.

Interesting that this time, the public was not engaged in
offering possible
re-alignments and recommendations are coming forward with little opportunity
or time to effectively allow that process.

While in the end, the changes may be appropriate and concerns small, it is
the public process that is lacking in the planning – something which this
Commission has continued to pride itself on. We know that time is of the
essence with elections coming forward in the 1st quarter of 2012 but perhaps
there is still an opportunity to address the needs and concerns of those
being reassigned.


Genia Duncan Ellis, tmg,CA 
“Giving back to our community
through neighborhood participation”