The Lowdown in Blacktown

     Zip Code 33311.   ……    The Sistrunk Boulevard Area

     In the City of Fort Lauderdale, it’s more accurately known as District III. With a few exceptions, it borders Sistrunk Blvd. – south and north. It’s the historically black section of town. Until the 1960’s, blacks had to stay there all the time, at least after dark.

      It once was a thriving community. But after desegregation, the area began to get worse. Many of the educated and professional blacks moved away. Commerce dried up. It’s been a struggle since then. Lots of crime, slums, blight.  It’s currently over 80% black, mostly poor. In contrast, much of the east side of town is over 80% white.

     For the last twenty years, it’s elected official, and most important leader, was Carlton Moore. Over the years, he became powerful, but controversial. He fought ferociously for his area. He bickered with Mayor Jim Naugle. He made things happen, but also did silly things like driving on a suspended driver’s license, and being in arrears on taxes. There are now 4 candidates to fill his seat, but more may get in.

     His last day was last Tuesday, and in typical Carlton Moore fashion, he went out with a bang. One colleague, Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, tried to cut his last day short by declaring his last day Monday. She had legal opinions she said, but he ignored her and stayed and voted and fought – right through his last day.

     Now he’s a private citizen and there’s a temporary replacement in his seat until the election in March. Change is coming to Sistrunk.

     I talked at length today with LaRhonda Ware, the President of Dorsey Riverbend, one of the major neighborhoods off Sistrunk. She’s considering jumping into the race for Commissioner also, says she is 98% certain, but is nagged by the “numbers”. She only wants to get in if she thinks she could win!

                                       

     Ware is quite outspoken, and has an interesting take on which of the candidates might win the seat. She thinks Nadine Hankerson, and Cameron Mizell have the best shot at the seat (if she doesn’t run). She says they are more traditional candidates, are grassroots, and “know the older people better”, the ones that vote.

     She says Bobby Dubose and Pam Adams chances are slim. She thinks one of them will get Moore’s endorsement. She says they will collect more money from the lawyers and such on the whiter side of town, but “it won’t matter”.

     She thinks our city has become a “joke”, and says her peeps are tired, and fed up. They want a grocery store, and banks. She says they want the “bad guys gone”.  She says the City isn’t totally responsible for District III’s troubles. She think’s the fault lies about 50/50, split between the City and the residents of the area. But she also said her community is changing, that new people are slowly moving in, lots of interracial couples.

     She knows she will have to decide if she will run by about Thanksgiving, and after that isn’t worried. She says the “people will speak”.