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The next mayor of Fort Lauderdale will have his/her work cutout for them

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The next mayor of Fort Lauderdale will have his/her work cutout for them

Will it be Democrat Charlotte Rodstrom  or Dean Trantalis or the Republican Bruce Roberts for mayor

By Bobby R. Henry, r.

On Jan. 16, voters in Fort Lauderdale will choose a new City Commission in a vital election concerning the city’s future.

“We have an opportunity to elect those who won’t be influenced by developers and special interest people,” stated Elizabet Rolle.

The election concerning commissioners or con-missioners has been one of extreme controversy and one that has split the historic Black community and District 3 of Fort Lauderdale.

It is reported that campaign signs have been torn down, stolen and placed on homeowner’s property without their permission thereby trespassing which, has led to police reports filed for theft of signs from Commissioner candidate Donna Guthrie and home owner Robert Larsen.

Donna stated, “Those signs cost a lot of money and I had no other choice than to file the reports. Not only were my signs stolen I had them torn down and replace with my opposition and his team signs.”

Robert Larsen who is out of town said by phone that he had not given permission to McKinzie or Roberts to put signs on his property. “I didn’t give them permission nor did I allow them to go inside my gated yard to place any signs, that is why I filed a police report.

Some campaigned materials have been omitted of facts that partially tell the true story. The one in particular is the one that says Commissioner Trantalis who is now a candidate for mayor, voted to not rename a portion of Sistrunk that crossed into a ‘White ‘ neighbor. That’s true because he did what his constituents wanted however, he later changed his vote to the renaming.(see photo)

Yes, this particular race is one of concern that has cracked the foundation of this community by using unscrupulous tactics.

Both democratic candidates Rodstrom and Trantalis are against developers coming in and removing the current footprint of the Black residences but, Mckinzie and Roberts have opposing views.

Regentrification is at our doorsteps and most of our current commission is acting like a welcoming doormat; economic development, crime, homelessness and law enforcement are areas of interest from the citizens that need immediate attention.

Charlotte Rodstrom, a mayor candidate says she is for keeping and improving culture communities.

“I am for preserving history and landmarks throughout the city including the historic Sistrunk Corridor. I think more can be done to beautify and enhance the corridor and surrounding neighborhoods. Keeping in the scale that the community desires.”

“Our community is suffering, no jobs, can’t find  homes that we can afford and our Black businesses need  a helping hand  and not a handout,” says residence Louis Griffin.

City of Fort Lauderdale does not seem to understand how to adequately deal with its homeless problem. There are way too many finding homes in parks, under bridges and  living on the streets.

“I’m homeless not helpless but when I ask for help people think that I’m just no good,” homeless man that wants to remain anonymous.

“Let’s stop this social engineering. We should address the actual needs of our community and not try to dictate them. We need to be tough on overdevelopment while allowing the city to grow smartly in ways that respect our neighborhoods, the character of our community and our quality of life,” says Dean.

Dean has often been the sole voice of the current commission in the battle for accountability from City Hall to its citizens.

“During eight years as a city commissioner, I’ve been the strongest advocate for responsible redevelopment, maintaining the character of our neighborhoods and keeping them safe,” says Dean.

The present condition of the city’s storm water, sewer and water systems is inexcusable because of years of neglect.

The disastrous infrastructure crisis keeps getting worst. The city has spent over $12 million the past months trucking sewage from one man hole to another because the main sewer line has collapsed through downtown.

According to sources the city is paying private contractors to run some 40 sewage trucks round-the-clock at a fee of $250,000 a day in the after math of Hurricane Irma.

According to campaign information from Dean: “More than 20 million gallons of sewage has spilled into our streets, yards and waterways over the past two years as a result of broken pipes. The state Department of Environmental Protection has now mandated that we make repairs and stop putting at risk the health and welfare of our citizens. We are threatened with major fines if we fail to do so. Some $16 million has been spent on this task alone.

“As a perspective business owner of I would wanna have my business located in the heart of the Black community to show our young people that there is hope  and they too can be business owners. But most importantly I would like to be in a ‘safe’ neighborhood,” says owner of Not Your Average Girl Apparel, Tawanna Taylor.

Fort Lauderdale Police Department, has a 40 percent vacancy right now as compared to last year and no permanent chief.

The Sun-Sentinel reported this headline: “Fort Lauderdale ranked the least safe of 182 U.S. metro areas”

“Fill the vacant police positions immediately, before crime worsens to the detriment of our residents. Even though one of my opponents is a retired police chief, he has done nothing to improve the safety of our residents. This Commission has utterly failed in their obligation to protect the public,” stated Charlotte.

Dean questioned the acts of the sitting commission when focus on police and fire unions contract. “What’s the focus of the current commission? Not to beef up law enforcement to catch criminals, but approving extremely lush contracts with the police and fire unions.”

This was done without any workshops to gain public input. The decisions came at a meeting held during the holidays when people were enjoying families and friends; it appeared to be done purposely for the lack of attention.

Charlotte continued, “My opponent has not filled  vacant police positions, which have been vacant for over a year, despite the fact that these salaries have been approved and allocated to the police department budget.”

Mayoral candidate Dean Trantalis stated, “The next mayor and commission must overcome these issues if the community is to reach its full potential as a great place to live, visit, build a

family or start a career. Some will be hard fought. We need responsive, accessible leadership with the fortitude to make the tough choices and that’s why  I am running for mayor.”

Charlotte says she’s running on the same principles that she has followed for years by giving back to the community and “Making Our Lives Better!”

The next commission will have a lot on its agenda instantly concerning these and more impending crisis. A commission that can openly work together, and make the desirable changes to uplift all communities is what is needed-RIGHT NOW.

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    About The Author

    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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