Activists Who Want Development Controlled Win Big In Ft Lauderdale Election






And the winner is….the civic group Lauderdale Tomorrow.

Tuesday’s Fort Lauderdale election was a victory for activists who have been protesting for two years against City Hall’s develop-at-any-cost philosophy.

The three winners all echoed Lauderdale Tomorrow’s call for a new way of doing business in Fort Lauderdale. They are Mayor Elect Dean Trantalis, Steven Glassman and Ben Sorensen, who will comprise a majority on the five-member City Commission.


Steve Glassman (left) and Dean Trantalis (yellow tie)… (Photo: Art Seitz)



When they first coalesced around the issue of blocking the massive Bahia Mar project, Lauderdale Tomorrow activists were scorned by City Hall pooh-bahs.

The activists were snubbed by pro-development Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts and City Manager Lee Feldman. They were belittled. They were branded as not representative of city sentiment.

Then the votes were counted Tuesday night.

The mayor’s race between pro-development Roberts and controlled growth Trantalis was largely over in December. Roberts voted for eight high-rises and six smaller buildings on public land at Bahia Mar yacht basin, while Trantalis voted against it.

The development passed, but was Roberts’ and the city’s pro-development forces Waterloo.

Trantalis victory Tuesday was huge and historic. He beat Roberts with just under 65 percent of the vote. That’s the largest margin of any first-time mayor since Fort Lauderdale began electing mayors in the mid-1980s.

(Bob Cox defeated John Rodstrom in 1988 with 52% of the vote. Jim Naugle defeated Neil Sterling in 1991 with 59% of the vote. Jack Seiler defeated Dean, Steve Rossi and Earl Rynerson in 2009 with 57% of the vote.)

Trantalis, Glassman and Sorensen will take office later this month. They join pro-development Commissioner Robert McKinzie and newcomer Heather Moraitis, who has been vague about what direction she will take.

“I seek solutions. Solutions that require thoughtful dialogue, collaboration, and action,” Moraitis tweeted Tuesday night.


Trantalis, Glassman and Sorensen’s first step may be to replace City Manager Feldman.

Trantalis and Glassman are on record stating they want new leadership in City Hall. Sorensen said the same thing to supporters, according to several sources.

As far as the rest of their agenda, Trantalis, Glassman and Sorensen may be very sorry very soon that they won. The job ahead is massive.

During the campaign, all three pledged to:

  • Stop spending of millions of dollars on The Wave streetcar. That pits the new commissioners against the downtown business community, which has peddled system for two decades in order to allow more construction.
  • Halt new construction without firm plans on how to provide sewer, water and other city services. City Hall had been accused of years of ignoring the deteriorating infrastructure while permitting acres of development.
  • Tackle the rising sea levels, which has increasingly flooded large sections of the city.
  • Protect public land against developers who want to build on it to enrich themselves.
  • Try to ease Fort Lauderdale’s crushing and business-killing traffic congestion.

Electing three new commissioners on Tuesday was only the first step. And it was the easiest.

Now Trantalis, Glassman and Sorensen must find a way to turn promises into realities.  They will need help from the activists in Lauderdale Tomorrow who helped put them in office.

The solutions to Fort Lauderdale’s many problems will be tough.  They will be expensive.  A consensus between City Hall and citizens must be forged to accomplish a more livable tomorrow.

The long, arduous and nasty city election campaigns are over.

Now the really hard work begins.




24 Responses to “Activists Who Want Development Controlled Win Big In Ft Lauderdale Election”

  1. I rent says:

    Making developers pay more and ending The Wave should provide some millions for these other needed tasks.

  2. Parachute says:

    How golden is the Feldman parachute?

  3. Seachange says:

    Yes there are huge challenges but the victory for all residents is significant. No longer will Feldman be able to operate in his usual way.

    The “dossier” that was circulated recently from an unnamed source didn’t even scratch the surface of his past behavior and track record.

    He may want to exit stage right now because he will not be afforded the same procedural or legislative luxuries from a majority of the new Commission.

  4. Greg H says:

    Go Big Go Fast to Retirement, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

  5. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I stated a couple yrs ago to both Seiler and Feldman watch these beach activist and the las olas area etc.I stated they got money, are well organized, the majority retired etc, with nothing but time on their hands.Guess what they were a force to be reckoned with.Feldman belittled them( move your beach blanket over when they were concerned that such tall bldgs.would block the sun and views) and Seiler ignored them.Trantalis and Glassman capitalized on this and ran all the way to victory.They both won fair and square.Speaking of Mckenzie i would change your attitude etc.because i will tell you the manner that you have been addressing Trantalis now Mayor Trantalis and with Comm.Glassman backing him on every move you will quickly get an attitude adjustment.My advice put your best gay face on because they are not going to put up with how you have been treating Dean.And now u don.t have Seiler to let you say and do whatever you please.Remember Trantalis now controlls the meetings.I wish them all well.Those that have been talking smack about Trantalis if i were u i would get that resume in order because in my opinion you are sent packing by summer recess…

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


  7. Give the gay vote its due says:

    Fort Lauderdale had over 16% voter turnout. Four points higher than the last high percentage in 2009 which was 12%. Why. The old anti development people were the usual people who made up the 12%. The extra voters who turned out in droves were gay voters who came out strong in the wake of the Judy Stern homophobic ECO mailers plus the Tim Smith making anti gay statements and trying out “out gay” Steve in his mailers.

  8. Change course in order says:

    The Bahia Mar deal may or may not have been a “Right to build” but one thing the commission has complete control of is the length of the lease. So if the developer wants to build the rental apartments fine. The city can knock them down in 40 years if a storm does not destroy them sooner. Then the city can take the property back.

    What would be unforgivable is if the city voted to extend the lease to 100 years. Then we would be stuck with Condos (individual ownership) with 600 owners. Try to sort that one out after the storm. Also, with rental apartments, If someone does not like the boat show they can move. With 600 condo commandos, the boat show will surely die.

    The manager was extreamly close to the developers and needs to go. The Wave needs to go. The DDA needs to be folded (The city can do this by appointing members who will use the millage to retire the debt and then terminate.

    Let’s fix the pipes and end the massive projects that the planners have been recommending to the commission. Bring in a manager who will focus on quality of life and not quantity of tax base. Remember, growth never pays for itself.

    Fort Lauderdale should highlight what makes it different from any other city in Florida, our waterways and vibrant Marine Industry.

    Good luck Dean, work hard and have fun while you are doing it.

  9. City activist Robert Walsh says:


  10. Charles King says:

    Where does perennial career office holder “Gun Show” Jack Seiler go to get his reputation, political career and future prospects back? Should be interesting watching him and his crew patting each other on the back on last time at the swearing in ceremony Tuesday. I hear they are even going to attempt one last vote to sellout the city residents to the all-important in “Jack’s” eye judiciary on access to the county courthouse parking garage. And just wait till the lobbyists and unions throw that non retirement “retirement” party for “Jack,” it should be quite the spectacle.

  11. From the sidelines says:

    One of the strangest political moves in the District 4 race was that of Warren Sturman, who supposedly is an anti development person, accepting the endorsement of Walter Duke, who failed to proceed past the primary. Walter Duke earns his income from developers, including the builder who wants to erect high rise structures all over the Bahia Mar property. Walter is an “all development” person. Ethics?? Not visible.
    Ben Sorenson now faces the task of remaining true to his “smart development” platform. He is up to the challenge.
    Trantalis, Glassman, and Sorenson are welcome additions to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. Congratulations to all three.

  12. MisCount says:

    If I remember correctly, Count Chod Chud called all of us old and outdated and was singing Seiler and his stooges praises. He made predictions that Roberts and Smith were going to win outright in the primary. Count better recount the Votes!

  13. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    #8 is totally correct, along with most comments and the post above. The community has very high hopes for the new commissioners, and will be supportive as they follows through with their commitments.

  14. Miss Marple says:

    Seiler, Roberts and Feldman simply would not listen to their constituents. They thought they were the smartest guys on the bus and were consistently arrogant towards the residents.
    I am very hopeful about Dean and Steve (ahem, Mayor Trantalis and Commissioner Glassman). They deserved to win.
    Now if we can just do something about Traffic and Mobility – who died and made Diana Alarcon queen of the roads???

  15. Las Olas Guy says:

    The challenge will be how to repair hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure without improving new buildings and not raising taxes. Miami has done an exceptional job with infrastructure but has failed with development and traffic. The truth is if we want to fix our infrastructure and have less traffic by less density we need to raise taxes. Let’s see what they do…my bet is Heather Moriatis will be the voice of balance and reason. She doesn’t owe developers, Lauderdale Tomorrow, Dolphin Democrats or DDA for her seat. She is here to serve as she has served her community without fanfare. We wish all newly elected officials best of luck!

  16. Yawn says:

    Lee Chudson aka Count Coockoo Coco did not vote in the Primary or the General.

    He did not vote for Smith.
    He did not vote for Roberts.


    “The Count” is really named Lee Chudson? Hmmmmm

  17. Balance & Reason says:

    #15 – The “voice of balance and reason” thought it was a good idea to wade into the election and endorse Bruce Roberts. Lets hope her judgment improves while on the commission and isn’t a pawn of another recently term limited Fort Lauderdale politician who also endorsed Bruce in his soundly rejected campaign.

  18. Snooze says:

    According to B. Wallman the “Count” is Lee Chudson. And that is a yawn.

  19. Tell the Truth says:

    @17 Balance & Reason
    Thank you for astute observation.
    There is a shining city on the hill now that the election is over and our candidates won. Mrs. Moraitis surely never imagined she would be in the minority when she announced June 2017, and had no challengers to defeat.
    It was a fait accompli, almost, with her district one neighbor and comrade Roberts heading to the Mayor Chair, and the assumption that another pro-development candidate would win in district 4.

    Not so fast.
    The next 3 years will likely find her on the sad end of a 3-2 vote with Mr. Mickinzie, who better learn to be respectful and civil to Mayor Trantalis and the two new commissioners.
    It’s a new day in Fort Lauderdale. The tax dollars will be respectfully allocated for sensible and prudent use. No more cronyism unchecked development. No more done deals before the agenda is even printed and posted.

    Place the order now for the police body cameras. All 500+ officers will be the lucky recipients. And about that police chief. Stay tuned.

  20. Charles King says:

    Hey Buddy, Are you going to do a story about why poor sport and electoral landslide loser “Bought & Paid For” Bruce Robert is not attending the city’s inauguration tomorrow as part of the peaceful transition of power? Seems like his way of giving the finger to voters and the city he wanted to lead just 6 days ago. I’d love to hear what 9 year co-regime member “Gun Show” Jack Seiler feels on the subject because he unlike Bruce hasn’t given up on office seeking just yet.

  21. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    #16 is full of nonsense.

  22. Russian Agent says:

    Lee Chudson age: ~72

    Known as: Lee F Chudson, Lew F Chudzikiewicz

    Has lived in: Fort Lauderdale, FLMiami Beach, FL …

    Lee Francis Chudson
    Also known as Lee Francis Chudzikiewicz, Lee Francis Waller Chudson
    Age 72
    Lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Used to live in New York, NY

  23. charlie says:

    @22, 18 and 16
    That is just freaking awesome…right out of carl hiassen novel. lol.

  24. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #20.I agree in reference that Bruce Roberts will not be attending tomorrow.In fact i was shocked.#19.Whats up with your concern with the Rick Magelione( chief).??.As far as the body cameras yes you are right i say by after summer recess at the latest rhe police force will be wearing the cameras.Which is a good thing( except for me when i have had to many screwdrivers-wow)…