The mayor and two former mayors are running to fill two commission seats on Nov. 4, with the downtown culinary arts district among the topics voters will be considering.
Incumbent commissioners Shari McCartney and John Adornato and former Commissioner Steven Arnst are competing for the two spots. McCartney currently serves as mayor, a position that is rotated annually.
Voters last year approved moving the city’s elections from March to November. Candidates don’t run for an individual seat but are grouped, with the open seats going to the top vote-getters.
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Commissioners serve a four-year term. The current annual salary is $11,866.
Adornato said the commission has operated as an “incredible team” in recent years by eliminating past rancor, advancing redevelopment activities and implementing a “positive and productive” agenda.
“We really have the opportunity to continue this amazing renaissance,” Adornato said of the city’s downtown. “It’s no longer warehouses and blight. It’s restaurants and beer.”
McCartney said she also wants to “keep the momentum going,” not just downtown, but with neighborhood drainage projects and better code enforcement. She has also taken on a push to turn around local schools, which she said is critical to the city’s redevelopment.
“The last leg of that is to get families to move to the city,” McCartney said. “They need schools that they want to go to.”
Arnst said he has more experience on the commission than any of its current members, which he said will be an asset with new, first-time City Manager David Hebert. Arnst doesn’t think the current commission is doing a good enough job watching the budget and preparing for future expenses.
He doesn’t oppose the culinary district, but he said the commission should be requiring new businesses downtown to contribute to a future parking garage.
“I agree you have to give incentives, but you don’t have to give everything away,” Arnst said.
A neighbor of Adornato’s has filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics concerning Adornato using City Attorney D.J. Doody for a personal matter involving his home property, then voting on an amendment to Doody’s city contract in August. Adornato said there was no ethics violation. He voted against increasing the attorney’s hourly fee.
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John Adornato III
Family: Domestic partner, one child
Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology, Tufts University, 1996; master’s degree in wetland ecology, University of Maryland at College Park, 2001
Occupation: Director, environmental nonprofit association
Political career: Commissioner, 2011-present; one-year term as mayor, 2013-14
Campaign coffers: $5,145 through Aug. 31
Top three non-newspaper endorsements: Equality Florida Action PAC, Hispanic Vote PAC, the Oakland Park Democratic Club
Family: Single, one son
Education: Graduated from Northeast High School, 1977
Occupation: Auto repair shop owner
Political career: Commissioner, 1993-2001; 2003-11; served one-year terms as mayor in 1996-97, 2000-01, 2006-07 and 2009-10
Campaign coffers: $1,350 through Aug. 31
Top three non-newspaper endorsements: Broward County AFL-CIO
Family: Partner, one daughter
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Florida, 1987; law degree from St. Thomas University, 1993
Political career: Commissioner, 2011-present; mayor, 2014
Campaign coffers: $6,690 through Aug. 31
Top three non-newspaper endorsements: Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors; Equality Florida Action PAC
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