Parkland race pits newcomer against state, city politician

A political novice is challenging a veteran state and city politician this election season.

“I’m bringing a new face to the race,” political newcomer David Gobeo said. He faces longtime commissioner Mark Weissman in District 4.

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District 3 Commissioner David Rosenof was re-elected without opposition.

All city residents can vote in the election, but the candidate must live in District 4, which is east of Parkside Drive and includes all the communities off Hillsboro Boulevard and Mecca Drive such as Ternbridge and Lakes of Parkland.

Commissioners serve a 4-year term and earn $2,400 per year.

Gobeo has been politically active, having served as co-chairman of Broward for Newt 2012 and as a board member of the Republican Business Network in Coral Springs and Parkland. This is his first run for office.

He grew up in Coral Springs and moved to Parkland in 2008.

He said his priorities include making sure development in the “Wedge” is “consistent with the rest of Parkland’s charm and beauty.”

The Wedge is a 53-acre property off Loxahatchee Road and south of the Hillsboro Canal. Parkland has already annexed 700 acres. Earlier this month, an additional 508 acres was annexed, including an area the city wants to buy for $4.25 million to turn into a park. Once the Wedge is fully built out, some estimates have Parkland’s population rising by 15,000 people.

Gobeo said he decided to run against incumbent Weissman because of “my opponent’s lack of support for the city’s residents and businesses. Despite overwhelming resident support, my opponent voted to terminate Parkland’s contract with its firefighters, jeopardizing their jobs as well as the citizens’ trust in the commission’s ability to adequately represent them. My opponent also voted to raise our taxes and has made doing business difficult for our local entrepreneurs.”

Gobeo’s campaign website also slams Weissman on the issue of taxes saying “While in the past few years our taxes have increased under my opponent’s watch, I will oppose any further tax increases and be your voice when it comes time to evaluate our city’s budget.”

Last year, taxes stayed the same last year at a rate of $4.02 for every $1,000 of property value. But the year before, taxes were raised from $4.01980 for every $1,000 of property tax. Weissman said it was to make up for an 8 percent decline in tax revenue. He said during the recession the city also dipped into reserves to “give the residents a break.”

“My goal is whenever possible to lower taxes while still maintaining the level of services our residents have become accustomed to receiving,” Weissman said.

Weissman also said he supports Parkland’s arrangement with the city of Coral Springs for fire services and didn’t vote to terminate the deal, rather he “voted to look at other options.” He said afterward, Parkland was presented “with a lower contract. You can’t say ‘I want to keep taxes low’ and pay whatever anybody is willing to ask for.”

Weissman, a Parkland resident since 1991, began his political career when he was elected vice president of his homeowners association.

Weissman cites some of his accomplishments as commissioner: pushing the School Board of Broward County to construct Westglades Middle School, Park Trails and Heron Heights Elementary schools as well as set aside land for schools to be built eventually in the Wedge area; acquiring land for city parks; and soliciting more than $1 million in donations from developers toward construction of the next fire station.

“I played an integral role in replacing our public safety department with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Coral Springs Fire/Rescue — a move which saves the taxpayers millions of dollars while raising the level of services they receive,” he said.

There could be another Parkland election coming shortly. Jared Moskowitz, a commissioner since 2006, is seeking the spot of State Representative, District 97. To do that, he resigned from his Parkland commission seat effective Nov. 5.

There are two charter questions on the city ballot Nov. 6 and one of them deals with filling vacancies on the commission. If voters approve the measure, that means the city commission will appoint somebody to Moskowitz’s seat. But if the charter item is not passed, that means there will have to be a special election to fill the seat.

lhuriash@tribune.com or 954-572-2008

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/parkland/fl-parkland-commission-election-20121014,0,5114093.story?track=rss

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