Fort Lauderdale: Vote for Charlotte Rodstrom
Two former city commissioners will finally bring a costly and lengthy Fort Lauderdale election to a close on March 12.
Charlotte Rodstrom, 59, and Dean Trantalis, also 59, are competing in a runoff election for the District 2 seat after a low turnout in the January special election failed to produce a winner.
The special election and runoff, at a cost of about $225,000, were necessary because Rodstrom decided to run for the county commission — an election she lost — just a few weeks after winning a third term on the city commission in January, 2012.
In an attempt to win back her city commission seat, she and Trantalis led a five-person field in special election, but neither garnered the necessary majority as fewer than 2,500 voters showed up.
While Rodstrom should have fulfilled her commitment after winning the city seat last January, the Editorial Board still feels she is the best candidate to fulfill the remaining two years in the post.
Rodstrom understands the city must rein in spending, and is particularly concerned about union contracts.
“It’s not easy to be the one who says no,” she told the Editorial Board earlier. “We need to focus on getting our finances viable and sustainable. We need to have no tax increase. We can’t afford pay raises.”
Trantalis, who was on the commission from 2003-2006 and did not run for re-election, knows the issues and brings good credentials to the race. But city taxes rose 24 percent during his time on the commission. He said the hikes were necessary because previous commissioners kept lowering taxes and more money was needed for expenses.
The Editorial Board believes Rodstrom is more likely to hold the line on taxes, and that she is the best choice for the job.
Parkland: Vote for Hunschofsky
The big issue in Parkland is the one that is always most important to its residents — protecting its small-town appeal.
The city of about 25,000 residents is known for carefully crafted zoning laws that protect its park-like charm. The city’s Website calls it “a tranquil city nestled in a serene, wooded environment.” Longtime residents will tell you Parkland once lacked the hustle and bustle of neighboring cities on purpose, shunning such conveniences as stores and even traffic lights until sometime in the early 2000s.
The challenge facing the city’s next new commissioner will be to help balance a desire to maintain Parkland’s tiny rural character, while managing its growth, particularly the addition of traffic, infrastructure and thousands of more homes in a region commonly known as The Wedge.
That wedge-shaped area of nearly 3,000 acres in the city’s upper northwest portion is expected to sprout more than 3,100 new homes within the next decade.
Like the rapper (and husband of Beyonce) Jay-Z might say: More homes, more money, more problems.
The race for the District 2 seat has attracted two capable contenders, Nancy Robeson and Christine Hunschofsky. The winner will replace Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who resigned to successfully run for state representative.
Robeson serves as chair of the city Education Advisory Board, and Hunschofsky is an original member of that board, which was set up seven years ago to make recommendations to the commission regarding city schools. We recommend Hunschofsky because of her experience, commitment and communication skills.
With the Wedge and its challenges top of mind, Hunschofsky would ensure the annexation master plan drives smart growth that includes properly planned new schools and city neighborhoods.
She also wants to ensure the entire city is considered and covered in future planning. As she puts it, “Parkland has evolved as a city extremely well, there are no major ‘Oh my goodness issues here.’ But now, with new development, you have to pay attention to what can go wrong.”
With her ambition to host public strategic-planning sessions, stem bullying in schools and create a citywide street-lighting plan — without raising taxes — we expect Hunchofsky to become very popular with residents.
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