Trails in the Sand by Peter Traciet, the Street Detective
A new year is rapidly upon us, and Peter Traceit is clearing out the sand tunnels for easy access to news you can use. There isn’t much dirt piling up at 600 SE 3rd Avenue in Fort Lauderdale as all schools and district buildings are pretty much closed for the next two weeks. Traceit understands that the best creeping and sneaking is done in the pits of quiet darkness, so the sleuthing continues. Superintendent Vickie Cartwright was hired(February 24, 2022), fired (November 14, 2022), fired (November 15, 2022), and then rehired (December 13, 2022). But the rehire is unclean. The dirt left on the table says the searches for interim superintendent and superintendent are still underway. And to add insult to injury, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Daniel Foganholi to serve two years as District 1 Board member when Ron Velez, the winner of the seat, could not be sworn in because he failed to secure clemency for a 25 year old felony conviction. Foganholi is the former DeSantis appointed Board member who made the motion to fire Cartwright in November. What a dirty mess!
Folks are telling Ol’ Peter that Cartwright isn’t giving in. Despite all the dirty details, she is still holding on to hope that she will keep her job. The Street Detective suspects that while the entire district is taking some well-deserved rest from the sandstorm, Cartwright is digging through the sand trying to find a path to victory.
Peter is told the path to victory is getting shorter and shorter with the saga by means of the Board being forced to award PCG with a 4-million-dollar contract after it initially wanted to cut all ties with the vendor. Additionally, Peter is scratching all over trying to figure out how the district will be able to cut ties with Chuck Puleri and Associates and Herff Jones, the vendors who provide cap and gown, diplomas, and class rings. These slimy deals have Cartwright’s neck in a sling. Nothing, however, is dirtier and shadier than the most recent revelation around the Stranahan High School cafeteria. There is something cooking with this cafeteria, and it isn’t food. Traceit is following the money and it’s pretty dirty.
Zwyschovich, a Miami-based Architectural Firm, made a request to increase the budget to complete the Stranahan HS Cafeteria for an additional $6 million! That figure has the Detective’s head spinning. 6 million dollars? Peter is told that this project has been a pain from the very beginning. Reports are that the “reuse” projects have taken longer and has cost more money than just starting from dirt and building a brand-new cafeteria. Ol’ Peter is following the trails of where the money leads. Always follow the money.
Time will only tell Cartwright’s fate, all the while the students in the district are suffering.
Detective Traceit slid over to city and county government to do some detective work and found the newest and first Black female city commissioner Pam Beasley Pittman ain’t nobody’s fool… yet. Traceit is told that Beasley Pittman strategically avoided an early swearing in for her commission seat that could have placed her dead smack in the middle of a feud among the two sitting commissioners and John Herbst. John Herbst, who won the Fort Lauderdale Commission District 1 seat by a landslide, was challenged by his opponents who believed Herbst didn’t meet residency requirements.
The dirt around this ordeal is settling near Mayor Dean Trantalis who led the charge to fire Herbst when he served as City Examiner. Traceit’s digging revealed that Herbst believed he was fired due to an investigation he launched on the former police chief for doing a side job at taxpayer’s expense. When he was fired, Herbst decided to run for the Fort Lauderdale commission and won, which will make things pretty uncomfortable for the two commissioners who fired him. Sensing the drama around Herbst’s residency issues, Beasley Pittman declined an early swearing in and was sworn in almost a month after her landslide victory.
Beasley Pittman’s predecessor is in full swing in his District 8 Broward County commission seat. The Detective had observed Commissioner McKinzie playing Santa all over town
delivering Christmas presents to the kiddies. McKinzie’s face has indeed been all over the place. He has been seen at the L.A. Lee YMCA, Provident Marketplace, and school classrooms. McKinzie has been spotted walking the neighborhood and shouting out the developments on the Sistrunk Corridor that are in place and coming soon, like the 11 FYE Flavors Restaurant, Chekmate Barbershop and BBQ Trap Restaurant.
Might the Broward Commission be just a pit stop for the budding politician?
Ol’ Peter will continue sleuthing the trails in search for clues, even buds leave residue.
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