District II …. !
I was the Commissioner for this District from 1997 through 2003!
It’s the oddest of all the Political Districts. It is so diverse, that it is split between the City’s wealthiest and the City’s poorest. It runs from the beach to Powerline Road, and includes the powerful beach lobby, the largest gay population, the Las Olas elite, some of Downtown, and most of the City’s Haitians.
Some of the old-timers tell me that when Districting began in the City, all the power brokers were located in the other areas, so they just picked what they wanted and called the left-overs District II.
When I was a Commissioner, I often joked that it was the “Bermuda Triangle” of political districts, because politicians often flew in and were never heard of again! (at least not in a good way!)
This go round, I’m supporting Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom.
And I realize that as Ricky Ricardo often said to Lucy …. I got some ‘splainin to do!”
So here goes:
It’s surely been quite the bizarre race.
Steve Glassman, one of the biggest beach Kahunas, was instrumental in successfully organizing beach voters for Rodstrom’s election in 2006. Now he says he was wrong, and is running hard to replace her. He has run a very effective campaign, and is Rodstrom’s only real threat. The beach vote will probably swing soundly Glassman’s way this time around.
So Rodstrom needs to capture a sizable part of the rest of the district, Victoria Park, and the important 13th Street corridor vote to keep her seat. But Glassman knows that too, and he has been spending a good deal of effort trying to prove to those communities that he’s not just a beach guy, and he’s collected a substantial amount of support there.
Now, to Rodstrom’s credit, she has been trying feverishly for the last three years to prove to the non-beach vote that they were wrong in not backing her in 2003. She has consistently moved their issues along, stayed in touch, attended their meetings, even furnished many of her constituents with her cell phone number. And in her most important issue yet, she has moved the CRA expansion to 13th Street effort to the County Commission next Tuesday for a vote. If it passes there, it will be a big win for her district.
But it’s fair to say that otherwise, Rodstrom hasn’t been all that successful in her first term. She hasn’t seemed to get the hang of the necessity of political give and take. She was often the only vote against things, and in political reality, that gets your constituents nowhere!
She often casts blame on City Manager George Gretsas, or her dysfunctional Commission (which they were!). But there will be new Commission in March, and maybe Rodstrom will have more luck with a new team that plays well together. If she doesn’t find the support to replace Gretsas among them, she’ll have to find a way to make amends and work with him.
So, in the balance, and in my humble opinion, Rodstrom deserves three more years.
If Glassman wins, he will surely be an important part of the new Commission. If not, he should stay involved in the whole of District II and wait for another chance.
Tim Note:….. After this piece was published tonight, I got some feedback that I didn’t give Howard Elfman, the third candidate in the race, a fair shake……. I do believe that Elfman has been gaining for the last few weeks, but just how much is yet to be known!
District II …. !