The Lobbyists’ Friend: Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Bruce Roberts

 

 

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

 

Call it interpretation. Call it spin. Call it Fake News.

But let’s call Fort Lauderdale mayoral candidate Bruce Roberts’ fund raising letter what it really is – Chutzpah.

The letter was peddling a Roberts’ campaign luncheon at $250-per-ticket, the maximum contribution allowed in the city. Lobbyist Bernie Friedman held the event this week at his 18th floor downtown Fort Lauderdale office and wrote the letter.

 

 

Bernie Friedman

 

Friedman writes that Roberts “has been a leader in advocating for infrastructure needs.”

Let’s deconstruct that phase.

If Roberts has been “a leader in advocating” for maintaining the city’s sewers, water pipes, bridges and roads, he’s done a lousy job.

Fort Lauderdale’s infrastructure is in terrible shape after Roberts’ eight years on the City Commission.

It will cost taxpayers roughly $1.4 billion to fix the sewer and water alone, according to city documents outlined in the Sun-Sentinel.

“Though the busted water pipes and leaking sewage have plagued more and more neighborhoods in recent years, the city has no plan to address it all,” wrote reporter Brittany Wallman in May.

Wallman makes it clear that while Roberts sits on the commission the city redirected “approximately $20 million a year collected from … water and sewer bills to cover other city expenses” instead of fixing the problems.

Roberts is some advocate for infrastructure!

Infrastructure is a hot topic among Fort Lauderdale voters, which is apparently why Friedman mentioned it.

Fixing the infrastructure is not the reason that the lobbyist community has embraced Roberts.  The real reason is hinted at in Friedman’s letter twice:

Roberts has worked “tirelessly to promote economic development” and will “ensure economic development” in the future.

The key word is “development.” Roberts is a vote for continued development, Friedman appears to be saying.

That may be the reason that lobbyists, builders, real estate tycoons and the rest of the development industry are coalescing around Roberts’ campaign. The commissioner is supported by those who benefit from more high rises, more crowded streets and more taxes to accommodate the ever increasing population.

Friedman is the second lobbyist doing business in Fort Lauderdale City Hall to hold a recent fundraiser for Roberts. Lobbyist Judy Stern held one in May.

Don’t blame the lobbyists and development community for backing Roberts. As Michael Carleone said in The Godfather: “Its not personal, its strictly business.”

But the next election is very, very personal for many Fort Lauderdale voters. It’s personal because sewage has flooded their neighborhoods. It’s personal because they are facing higher taxes and fees to fix the infrastructure.

Despite applause from lobbyists like Friedman and Stern, Roberts’ failure to successfully address the city’s infrastructure problems is a matter of record.

Does this record qualify Roberts to be the city’s next mayor?

The lobbyists and development community have already voted in favor of Roberts. The rest of the voters will have their say next year.

 

 



21 Responses to “The Lobbyists’ Friend: Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Bruce Roberts”

  1. Voters Arise! says:

    Lobbyists Are Trying To Buy The Election! Reject Bruce Roberts!!!!!

  2. sick of politics says:

    By virtue of any relationship with a lobbyists it should be red flag on why not to vote for Bruce, it stinks of more favors to lobbyists. He is Judy’s boy as Commissioner what can he do if he would be Mayor

  3. Commissioner Dean Trantalis' Views on Infrastructure says:

    This is Commissioner Dean Trantalis newsletter distributed this week and obtained by Browardbeat.com after the article was published:

    The evidence is everywhere, whether you read about it, see it flowing before your eyes, or worse yet, have the misfortune of smelling it. It is abundantly clear that our water and sewer infrastructure systems have crumbled.

    This is news to no one, and folks are wondering what the city is doing to correct the situation.

    A couple years ago, the City Commission directed our staff to come up with a master plan to inform us as to our water and stormwater needs. Staff requested we hire an outside consultant, and a comprehensive report was promised to the commission by June 2016. Well, that month came and went, and it wasn’t until May of this year that we finally received a report. It was 800-plus pages outlining in great detail the state of the city.

    As you can imagine, the results were not pretty.
    Let us take for example our capacity to provide residents and businesses with fresh drinking water.

    We derive much of our water from treatment plants like the Fiveash Plant. The report states that: “The city’s current water system has been underfunded for at least the last decade and now requires immediate attention.”

    As far back as 2007, a master plan for the Fiveash plant said we needed to invest $63 million over the next decade. Only $10 million was spent. The Peele-Dixie Plant and other water infrastructure needs bring the total funding gap for water to $190 million.

    That begs the question as to our capacity to deal with wastewater.

    News articles abound with stories of underground pipes breaking, sewage gurgling onto the streets through manholes, and rivers of sewage passing by while people take their children or pets for a walk. We’re not talking Somalia. We’re talking about Fort Lauderdale.

    The report states that our pipe system is at least 50 years old. In some cases, the system consists of clay pipes supported by wooden beams. The report concludes that “the city has a five-year funding gap of $151 million for wastewater.”

    What is particularly concerning is that one of the most fragile areas of underground infrastructure is downtown. The report states that we are already at full capacity, and yet the commission is being asked to approve hundreds of new units within the vicinity. The buildings may look pretty, but maybe the new owners shouldn’t expect to flush their toilets very often.

    The report goes on and on.

    Scheduled maintenance going unfunded for years, pump stations long past their useful life, and a record of emergency repairs costing the city millions and millions that could have been avoided had we been on top of the problem. In the end, we find ourselves borrowing from Peter to pay Paul even though we know that putting a finger in the dike is no answer. This is not what people in our community deserve.

    So how did we get here?

    One problem is that money collected from your water bills has been diverted to pay for other budgetary needs. Just last year alone, more than $20 million was taken out. And being totally tone-deaf, staff recommends in the next year’s budget that we take out even more – more than $23 million!

    In addition, the commission has dragged its feet on moving forward with solutions.

    Over two years ago, our Budget Advisory Board provided us with detailed alternatives on funding these and other infrastructure projects. The report has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Now, we convened yet another advisory board to provide us with infrastructure priorities and funding approaches. Y et, we’ve given the task force little direction. The commission itself doesn’t plan to discuss the issue until early fall.
    It’s pretty clear what the commission needs to be doing.

    First, we need to immediately meet to identify our most important present and future infrastructure needs. Then, we need to agree on how to pay for it, which will most likely require us to issue bonds. And finally, we need to put the brakes on further development. We cannot function as a community if the basic necessities of water and sewer capacity are not being fulfilled.

    We have a beautiful beach into which many of us dig our feet and our elbows to feel its soothing warmth. But let’s not bury our heads in it, too.

    Sincerely,

    Dean Trantalis

  4. Hey Buddy says:

    Ask Judy Stern about the talk around town that she had a poll done that some of her fellow lobbyists paid for. It is believed to have been done in June but it is said that Stern refuses to turn over the complete poll to those who paid for it.
    They may not be pleased to only see limited parts of the poll and none of the crosstabs.

    I hear it may show that Bruce has little or no name recognition compared to Dean, McKenzie and Rodstrom. It may even go on to show that Dean overwhelmingly beats Charlotte. More interesting, McKenzie has a better match up against Rodstrom than Roberts. Rodstrom and Bruce are a tie.

    If accurate, the poll also says there is a very anti incumbent air in the City. Many of the infrastructure problems, especially traffic are blamed on the current and previous office holders of the last decade.

    Depending on the interpretation, it would lead one to believe that Fort Lauderdale voters are open to an outsider candidate not tied to the developer/lobbying community.

    Of course, it seems Stern won’t show the poll, so we will never know. But if she is not showing the poll, the results for Roberts can’t be good.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Very interesting. However, a survey this early is worthless except to the pollster who is making money to conduct it.

  5. Just for Men says:

    Bruce,

    You lost sone weight, improve your golf gane…get a tan…

    Wait the carpet doesnt match the drapes between his moustache and hair on the side of his head.

    Let ot go dude, gray at 70 is distinguished.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fort Lauderdale needs help immediately and commissioners can redeam themselves by firing the city manager. City Manager Feldman must go NOW. He got the city in this mess and it is sinking as fast as the waves are rising.

  7. Dean for Mayor says:

    Dean

    Step up already, all that is running now are two duds and we are in need of a stud (candidate).

    You are the true outsider on the dais. the only one consistently to stand up to Seiler’s majority.

    You will regret it if you pass on this golden opportunity to be Mayor, if someone off the grid comes in an beats Charlotte and Bruce.

    It is time for history be made and that history is Fort Lauderdale having its first gay Mayor

  8. Charles King says:

    Bruce Roberts is a police union stooge that has sold this city out along with Romney Rogers and “Crooked” John Paul “Jack” Seiler the past 9 long years to non resident city employees, the police union, the non profiteer business and most of all the developer’s lobbyist community. That he is now claiming to be strong on “infrastructure” is beyond hypocritical. He along with his two colleagues and their diminutive servant “Little” Lee Feldman are the reason we are where we are. Bruce Roberts’ idea of infrastructure spending is a new $60 million police station for his friends to luxuriate in, while we and our children are expected to live with the saltwater and sewage invading our streets. Regime Change!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Boss Judy says:

    I don’t know too much about Bernie Friedman, but no one should have any illusions about Ms. Stern. hy would elected’s cow-tow to her to get money just to run again and do her clients’ bidding. It really makes no sense to me. Watched it for years and it never has. To my elected friends … break your bonds and be free to do the people’s bidding.

  10. Speak Truth says:

    This is why good, qualified “regular” citizens won’t run for office.

    The greed, elitism and special interest suck-ups will always come out ahead……they can be bought

  11. Duchess says:

    Bruce Roberts wants a raise ?!?!?!
    How much does he need from the city?
    How much is he making now with his pension? He could/should fund his own damn campaign.

  12. lol lol says:

    No Duchess, Comm Roberts prior to to last night wanted a raise. Then when he saw the throngs of people opposed to it, he flipped. I am sure that has nothing to do with running for Mayor or anything.

  13. Ryan Ross says:

    These corporate lobbyists think they can run our cities and counties and it’s on the electorate to vote for people who put our needs above their own profits.

  14. A reader says:

    Voters in District !V need to check out the source of campaign contributions to the former commissioner from Dania Beach who left that city in the middle of his term to set up residence requirements to run in Fort Lauderdale. Thousands of dollars have poured in from developers, corporate managers, and consultants the tri county area.

    One has to wonder where his loyalties would be if he were elected, to his constituents (left stranded in Dania Beach) or to the developers. Imagine what a team Bruce and Walter would be.

  15. Jade T says:

    What folks write about Judy Stern here gets her more clients. Businesses should understand Stern has more baggage than she is worth. Many office holders hate her. Quit writing about her! She isn’t worth the effort.

  16. City Hall Mole says:

    @JadeT
    Feel sorry for Bernie Friedman. The story is about him yet everybody is writing about Stern.

  17. Save my city says:

    All residents need to look at candidates campaign contributions before voting in 2018. Developers are pouring money into candidates pockets. Look for chameleons before you vote.

  18. not quite says:

    All the negative about Stern has been costing her business year after year. She is finished at the County Commission. She is desperately trying to hang on to something at the FTL City Commission. Look at the B and C list candidates she attracts.

    She spends more time glomming on to winning candidates trying to create an appearance she helped win their race. Go look at Gary Farmer’s expenditures, little to nothing to Stern despite her crowing around town she won his race and has Gary in her back pocket.

    The only people left who use her are people who cant see through her smoke and mirrors of the past glory.

    Look at the Judges, she claims to have ran the races of Judge Barner and Mollica but she is nowhere being paid on their campaign finance reports. Again, she just gloms on to winning candidate and bs’s everyone that she had a role in the win. Sad.

    If you want to determine who is getting the consulting business look around at who actually gets paid. More importantly, who wins. Everyone knows Stern didn’t win Gary Farmer, over the last few years Judy has volunteered (not paid on the books) for a couple of winning Judges. Ask Gibbons, Aronson, and her failed County Commission candidates how great she is.

  19. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    This whole story states money talks and bs walks. Two hundred and fifty dollar a pop fundraiser is not Bruce Roberts but Judy Stern. This fundraiser will hurt him and not help him just like what #4 points out. No buddy knows Bruce Roberts ,him and Charlotte are in the same boat. Mckinzie is more familiar w/ the residents(i’ll say when he gets arrested-its coming). and Dean Trantalis is the light at the end of the tunnel. I like to see debate sthis fall w/ all the canidtates etc. I mean who did the polster call people in South Africa. Concentrate on issues esp. th e billion dollars we will need to fix our sewer infracsture .Pathetic,but they all got their raises(3%). This will come back to haunt you Bruce. Put a shorter leach on Judy Stern. These last two weeks have been counter -productive to the tune that people are asking me to get your officer and chief pension and also your performance evulation reviews from Gretsas. This I blame on Judy Stern running such a negative campaign so earlier in the race. You want to help th e resident not keep charging them more for services like what was introduced thi s past Tuesday at 3 am. again at 3am. Pathetic….

  20. sick of politics says:

    Judy is doing a great Job, look at all here dirty deeds carried out, Beach Deal EDSA, SKANSKA, MARINA SUNTEX, and the shady Bum Mayor Shyster , 3:22 am meeting another victory for Toothtaker, this city is worst than Chicago with all of the political favors, we are going down the drain, and infrastucture, failing and defunding clean water, keep up the building, the colapse is near thanks JACK BRUCE ROBERT AND ROMNNEY

  21. cap peterson says:

    Let’s make sure Bernie gets some ink. He is a slimy little putz who bakes cookies to take to his pal, Alan Koslow in the slammer.

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