Broward Commission Redistricting Set To Begin


Broward County Commissioners will begin working next week on the issue that is perhaps most important to them redistricting.

How they carve up their nine districts will determine their political careers or that of their chosen successors.

Every district except Commissioner Stacy Ritter’s has to either shrink or grow to match the new average size of 194,229 residents under the 2010 Census.  Her district could remain the same because it contains 194,667 residents, close enough.

Ritter, who is running for re-election in 2012, may still have to adjust her district so that the whole county can achieve balance.

One to watch: Will she try to push her opponent state Rep. Ari Porth of Coral Springs out of her district and thus avoid a serious Democratic primary?  Hmmmm.

Commissioner Barbara Sharief’s southwest Broward district grew the most and is 33 percent over the average at 257,312.

Sharief has to lose residents.  My guess is that the black commissioner will retreat to the south, which has more black voters.

The big loser in all this looks like Commissioner Chip LaMarca.  The only Republican on the Board, he will have to add the most voters to his district 23,000 or so.  It will be extremely hard for him to find 23,000 Republicans to keep his seat without extreme gerrymandering.

The discussion only starts next week.  Commissioners may hire a consultant to help them draw the new districts.  The boundaries are expected to be finalized by the end of the year or early next year.


Here is the County Commission District 2010 Populations:

  • Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, District 1    185,537    –4.5 percent from average
  • Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, District 2         185,491   –4.4 percent from average
  • Commissioner Stacy Ritter, District 3             194,667        0.0 percent from average
  • Commissioner Chip LaMarca, District 4          171,111   –11.9 percent from average
  • Commissioner Lois Wexler, District 5             198,150     +2.0 percent from average
  • Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, District 6      186,116     –4.2 percent from average
  • Commissioner John Rodstrom, District 7        189,067     –2.7 percent from average
  • Commissioner Barbara Sharief, District 8       257,312     +32.5 percent from average
  • Commissioner Dale Holness, District 9           180,615     –7.0 percent from average

* Average district size is 194,229 based on 2010 Census

20 Responses to “Broward Commission Redistricting Set To Begin”

  1. RA says:

    Outside consultants equal politics..depending on what’s your interest. They went “outside” 10 years ago, threw it out and the Commission still had to decide…MONEY FOR “CONSULTANTS” CAN BE USED TO SAVE JOBS THIS YEAR!

  2. Stan says:

    I don’t see the Commission being particularly accommodating to the only Republican…10 years ago when it was Scott’s district, he had a little more credibility and support. Not this time.

    Given that everything has to shift way southwest to account for the population shift, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this east side district disappear completely as we know it, swallowed up by the needs of surrounding districts.

    Most of that area may end up being represented by an odd numbered district, resulting in a more Democratic favorable election during the presidential election rather than the current off year cycle of the even numbered districts.

  3. TamaracTalk says:

    I will definitely support Ari Porth in the Commission race if he is running. He is very popular here and well liked. I’m glad there will be some good competition in this race.

  4. Richard J. Kaplan says:

    A few months ago I came up with a plan on how the county may redistrict. It theorized that Ilene’s district would push south.

    Another option Buddy touched on. It would involve Kristin’s district taking part of Chip’s district. John would also move into Chip’s district as well. Then part of John’s district would go over to Dale.

    Though, does John or Kristin want to pick up a challenger in Chip? (Note: this is assuming that the term limit law is overturned, cause if it is upheld these options probably go out the window)

    Still somewhere Barbara’s district has to shrink because it is far to large. That’s probably the biggest problem to overcome and still try to preserve existing district lines as much as possible.

  5. anonymous says:

    I dont think they will spend the $$ on a consultant this time. Not given the economy and tight budget. Although, who at the county is qualified to do something like this?

  6. Floridan says:

    Don’t know how this will work with the numbers, but the most palatable shift in north Broward would be for Distric 2 (Jacobs) to expand to take the northeast part of Deerfield. District 9 (Holness) has plenty of areas around the edges of the district to expand into, but District 4 will have a hard time growing without encroaching on an incumbant commissioner’s power base (or home).

  7. WWJD says:

    What Will Judy Do…

    Rodstrom has alwasy been a friend to Stern but has never been a sure “YES” voter for her.

    If true, Stern played a big part in Lamarca’s win.

    Time will tell, but if Chip is desperate and willing to be a “YES” like Joe Eggs, Judy will probably sell Johnny Rods down the river.

  8. County Employee says:

    I hope the county commissioners don’t spend money on political folks, ooops I meant “outside consultants”

  9. Gerald Serrano says:

    The figures indicate to me that Chip LaMarca is a one-term commissioner.
    I can’t imagine any way to give him a safe district.
    The others will gerrymander the condos to insure the districts stay Democratic just like they did last time. That is why Sue Gunzburger in east Hollywood represents Century Village in Pembroke Pines.

  10. one reason why says:

    One reason is because after upteen years of dealing with that blowhard Rodstrom he can be put to rest by giving parts of his seat to LaMarca. Hey John was in favor of Term Limits, oh wait, that was yesterday no he sued to get rid of them. If LaMarca is 1/10 the jerk of Rodstrom he is safe.


    If he gives up parts of his district to LaMarca, Rodstrom will have to pick up residents from another contiguous area.
    Based on Rodstrom’s history election history, I assume he would like to jettison the blacks from the western end of his district which has caused him problems in the Democratic primary. Then he would replace them with Democrats from another part of Broward.

  11. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Here’s a short history of Broward County Commission District 8 as we know it today from someone who was there when those decisions were made.

    Districts 8 and 9 came about as a result of expanding the county commission from 7 to 9. The goal was to add a “black” seat in 9 and a “hispanic” seat in 8. Sorry if that sounds unpolitic, I would hate to offend anyone, but not saying it just that way would be untruthful of me. That was EXACTLY the goal. How to do it while serving other political goals was the trick.

    Sylvia Poitier had just lost her seat at the county. There was a growing concern that the Commission lacked diversity. That’s a problem that threatened other Commissioners as blacks in their areas were demonstrating a growing ability to vote in blocks.

    That’s a bear knuckles political fact that nobody was ignoring at the time. Heck, only a fool would ignore it today! Strong voices were converging to ensure that we found ways to have diversity on the commission. Rightly so.

    At the same time, the 2000 Census showed that Hispanics accounted for 20% of the county population. Today that number has grown to 24% — a fact the County Commission cannot ignore without risking legal challenge to any redistricting plan they present in 2011. Obviously, that is a community of interest with numbers so large it cannot be ignored. They needed to find a shrewd way to handle the issue.

    Dan Lewis found the answers. The county brought him in to help solve the puzzle and he was just brilliant at coming up with statistical solution. So good that everybody will tell you that District 8 was created in 2001 to be that Hispanic District. That was never the real motive.

    Those district lines were drawn specifically to avoid Sue Katz — who lived in Grand Palms — from joining Sue Gunzburger on the County Commission. Anybody that says otherwise is not telling the truth. I was a county department head at the time and later as a member of the Charter Commission. My wife was a Commission Aide. This is exactly what happened.

    The majority of the commission wanted to ensure that these two best friends did not combine to become the dynamic duo and voting block of the County Commission. So they deprived District 8 of the Century Village condo it needed to ensure a Sue Katz win. They made District 8 the only commission district without a condo. To adjust to the population decrease, they were forced to take a long narrow slice of population from the county’s southernmost boarder and take it out nearly to the ocean.

    The result was called a “Hispanic District” and it’s true that many Hispanics lived there at the time and still do. Given Miramar’s subsequent growth pattern, which ended up attracting large numbers of well-to-do and middle income African American and Caribbean residents, and given the much stronger voting patterns among those voters, 8 did not hold up as a Hispanic district for long.

    Nor is it a “community of interest.”

    SW Ranches and Weston share few goals and common neighborhood interests with NW Hallandale and West Park. Those are fine communities in their own right but they lack the basic commonality necessary to form a community of interest.

    Geographically, those of us living in West Broward know that residents living west of Hiatus Road, say, tend to have a “western Broward” orientation. In other words, they tend to shop, worship send their kids to school west of those home locations.

    Those living east of that general area tend more toward more “eastern Broward.” When they talk about natural boundaries in districting, they should also be looking at community patterns like houses of worship, medical assistance, schools, shopping. Those are among the in-commons that help create communities of interest. District 8 does not have those today and probably never did.

    Today, it is overpopulated by about 32% and as they draw new lines everyone will need to be moving south and west with their borders. My hope is the County gets it right and forms the kind of districting plan that willlive up to the very goals that we all supported in the Constitutional Amendments this past November for State and federal officials.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this is me being self-serving because I once ran for District 8. That is less important to me than making sure people remember the truth of what actually took place when District 8 was formed. And that they pay close attention to districting in the future. Also because districting is one of the top three most important considerations in any democracy, next to voting and campaign finance. I speak about that often.

    Now, fairness dictates that all communities of interest have the same right to be represented. None more than others. The same. That is a fact that can’t be ignored and it will be watched.



    Angelo’s memory concerning the drawing of the current districts are as I remember and vividly illustrate that they were largely done for political reasons.

    Sue Katz was blocked from ever challenging then-County Commissioner Lori Parrish. The lines were drawn by political consultant Dan Lewis, who had been involved in campaigns. The condos were divied up to ensure that Democrats remained in office. It was a disgusting process similar to what happened every 10 years in the Legislature. I know. I covered it.

    I would hope that the commission does a better job this year of trying to unite communities of interest and cities. I’m not holding my breath. After all, this is the Broward County Commission.

  12. Kaplan = Candidate says:

    So Mayor, where does your plan leave Dist 4 and our Commissioner?

    Do they just move into the Atlantic?

    Do you think our commissioner (who has been more active in five months than the last two in many years?

    You sure have a great deal to say for someone who is a candidate in another race.

  13. Stern? says:

    Spreading this Stern rumor must employ a full time member of Judy’s “staff!”

    Are you kidding me?

    For those who want to believe rumors, I do apologize, but Judy Stern never had any input or contact with Chip LaMarca’s campaign. Trust me, I worked on the campaign as a volunteer.

    Stern thinks that people will return her to her perch if she has more influence over the commission, which she has clearly lost with the removal of “friends.”

    Chip is just NOT one of them.

  14. County Employee says:

    Dan Lewis equals “political consultant” and that’s how we want to draw lines….with outside folks with connections….CRAZY! No wonder things aren’t fair and won’t be….and Broward residents are sick of it!

  15. Why lie says:

    Why do you Chippies keep acting like Chip has never even heard of Stern? Every lobbyist in town gave money to both candidates in that race. Its not like Stern is a criminal. The Chippies make themselves look dumb while trying to deny ties to Stern. If she helped you, who cares? You won, that is all that matters. Not a good mood to make it look like she is some carpetbagger latching on to your coattails.

    Stern backs LaMarca, that much is sure. Today I asked the GOP chair if Stern would run his campaign if he challenges Keechl. Stern, you see, can’t stand Keechl since he beat her old boy, Jim Scott, the previous lone Republican on the board. It would be sweet revenge for the bitter Stern to come back and crush Keechl with LaMarca.

    LaMarca acknlowledged he’s had conversations with Stern about the race but said that although she would support his bid, he would have others actually running his campaign.

  16. Richard J. Kaplan says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I like Chip very much. I think he can be very good and would like to work with him.

    What I was trying to do was to crunch some numbers and see how districts could re-align themselves.

    From a numbers point of view, and being a Republican in a Democratic County, makes it very difficult for Chip particularly if term limits are thrown out.

    In the long run, the population moved into the south part of the county, so the districts have to as well and consolidate elsewhere. It’s not me, its the population, so I am trying to look at it logically.

    Of course the other County Commissioners could be kind to him, but that’s a question I can’t answer. Somehow I think most elected officials look at reapportionment as a survivor test.

    As to being a Candidate? Right now I’m the Mayor of a City and that’s it.

  17. Kaplan wants Dist 1! says:

    Funny how Kaplan wants to be provide all this analysis along with Angelo. I wonder are you guys still plotting a run soon?

  18. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    I provide a link to the item itself (Agenda Item #14) coming before the Broward County Commission this Tuesday.

    The attachments are a quick and very informative read, setting forth the task and standards for how this process should be addressed.


    FROM BUDDY: They lay out possible standards. Wanna take bets if the standards are followed?

  19. Take your bets says:

    I thought Ricards thoughts on the matter were right on. As someone called them above, the Chippies my not like the reality of the situation but Chip will have problems keeping that seat as it is now and if he has to add more non republican areas. As an above poster wrote, it comes down to who do they like least Chip or Rodstrom.

  20. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    First of all Judy Stern send John Rodstrom down the river-NEVER. Secoundly Comm. Lamarca excluding what he said last week regarding parking for the Court House-is doing a great job so far. Redistricting is tricky and naturally none of the commissioners want to lose constituents. All’s well, that ends well. What they really should be focusing on besides redistricting is having an Elected County Mayor will solve all of this. I despise that just switching seats every year is dis enfranchising to the residents. Again the resident should decide who is county mayor. This should not be by appointmnet by them(comm) for this postion. I mean who ever heard of an appointed mayor. Who would be interested 1. Jack Seiler. 2. John Rodstom. 3. Lois Wexler. I mean let the voters decide.My take.