Congress? Who Needs It When You Are Mayor?




Congress?  Who needs it?

Certainly not Dean Trantalis, who announced this week he wasn’t running.

Trantalis will stay mayor of Fort Lauderdale.

“I really feel my place is right here in Fort Lauderdale…Right now, this is where I belong,” Trantalis was quoted as saying.

It is no surprise when you consider this: 

There are 435 members of the House. 

There is one mayor of Fort Lauderdale, arguably one of the most dynamic cities in Florida. As mayor, Trantalis is Fort Lauderdale’s Big Kuhuna, something he would never be in Congress.


Dean Trantalis 



Yes, members of Congress deal with the most meaningful issues of the day. Everything from inflation to Ukraine is debated. 

But the debate is removed from average South Floridians.  Unless you are an aficionado of C-Span, a Fort Lauderdale House member’s comments in Washington receives little notice here. 

Trantalis? He’s speaking into microphones about everything. He’s a fixture on the Internet, on broadcast news and in the print media. He’s talking daily about grass roots subjects that directly affect every resident and visitor to Fort Lauderdale. 

He has only one vote on a five member City Commission. That doesn’t matter. 

Everyone wants to hear from the mayor. 

In the last year Trantalis was quoted on noise limits and water rates. On new road projects and bridges. On huge and small developments. On Civil Rights and Spring Break. And on City Hall’s turbulent politics. 

He spoke at openings. He spoke at memorials. He touched thousands of voters and visitors. 

Trantalis’ name pops up in the Sun-Sentinel data base twice as often in the past year as U. S. Rep. Ted Deutch, whose retirement from Congress created all the speculation.

This attention was noted by state and national Democrats. Trantalis’ name was tossed into the mix every time there was an open seat. 

Governor. County Commissioner. State Senate. And the U. S. House seat being given up by Deutch. 

A Democrat whose district covers parts of southeast Palm Beach County and northern Broward Counties, Deutch announced last month he wouldn’t seek re-election.

Trantalis was instantly right at the top of the potential list of Deutch replacements.

The mayor has everything a Democratic candidate for that seat needs. 

A solid base in the gay community. A solid base in Fort Lauderdale. A lot of markers spread around Democratic circles during his decades of work for other candidates. 

Trantalis would be a perfect new member of Congress, people said. 

With one big exception.  Trantalis doesn’t want the job. 

His decision is a benefit for Fort Lauderdale. The city faces rising tides, choking traffic and a myriad of other problems. It needs a hands-on leader.  That’s Trantalis. 

He has always been a grass roots politician. He did years of community work in the gay and general community before running for office. 

Years of night meetings, breakfasts and endless handshakes in every corner of the city. 

It paid off politically. He was elected commissioner in 2013 and then mayor in 2018. 

As mayor, he continues to work in the community every day. He lives in the community. 

Everybody Trantalis meets has an opinion. Everybody in Publix. Everybody at the gym. Everybody on the street. 

It gives him an insight on issues that a member of Congress doesn’t have. 

Trantalis says you can accomplish more as mayor than as a member of Congress.

“Anytime you’re part of a (big) legislative group you become relatively anonymous until you’ve been there awhile and you gain seniority,” Trantalis says.  

Another factor that no doubt came up during the month that Trantalis mulled over running for Congress: Democrats are expected lose control of the House in November. Being in the minority is no fun and waters down a Democratic member’s influence significantly. 

“I still have goals to achieve as mayor,” he tells Browardbeat. “I don’t know if the person who succeeds me would be as supportive of these same goals.”

Trantalis, who is 68, notes that his current term doesn’t end until 2024 and he could run for reelection. He says he got “many” emails expressing gratitude that he decided to stay as mayor. 

Perhaps the biggest reason Trantalis is staying is that he knows that when the mayor speaks, Fort Lauderdale listens. 

A member of Congress, maybe not so much.



11 Responses to “Congress? Who Needs It When You Are Mayor?”

  1. Boyd Corbin says:

    So many long term P3 projects are being done as unsolicited bids written by lobbyist Toothacher. 100 years Bahia Mar, 100 years Stop n Shop future outdoor concert hall/food court right on Andrews Ave! Not a good place for 1,800 concert goers til 2 am with no parking. Kickbacks? Bentleys don’t come cheap. And spending $400m for a finance company to partner with a builder for a new water treatment plant (drinking water) will lock us in for a 30 year contract. Another of Toothacher’s unsolicited bids written using the bogus Carollo Report which is opposite to what Reiss Engineering says. Reiss has been with the city for 30 years and says Fiveash can be fixed for less than half the price of a new plant in less than half the time. Kickbacks? Bentleys are expensive…..

  2. Omar Twerlve says:

    the best mayor we’ve ever had. All the nitpickers and complainers will never be satisfied.

  3. Tell the truth says:

    Hey Boyd, not sure how they do it in Wilton Manors but in Fort Lauderdale you just defamed someone at least twice. Toothaker does not represent the water plant deal that is Milledge, and does not represent Bahia Mar that is Milledge and Lochrie. That’s in the lobbyist records you constantly cite – so tell the truth. The rest of it? Not worth even trying to sort out the silliness and insinuations.

    Maybe lying and defaming a woman is ok to you, but it’s not to the rest of us.

  4. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Mr Corbin is right BUT let me stress Bahia Mar does NOT involve Toothacker…
    And JACK SEILER WAS A BETTER MAYOR because he won’t let Trantalis cause confusion as Trantalis lets Sorensen, and, yes, Toothfaker

  5. In The Know says:

    Praying he would run for Congress and we would be through with him. He promised to be a slow growth mayor and he lied. He is a flunky of every builder and lobbyist on Bahia Mar sell out and the One Stop Shop sell out. He is giving public land to developers for nothing near what they are worth because of his friends among lobbyists.

  6. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Here we go w/ the Bentley’s again( Glassman stated if he loses next election ( pay no attention to that man,not the Water Guy”) he will just drive around in his Bentley ,if again he were to lose.I found it interesting that both Comm.Glassman/ Moratis stated if Mayor Trantalis were to reisn to run for Congress than both of them would run for Mayor.Hold on.Trantalis as u point out is not running.Poltical ploy as Dean knew he wasn’t running ( I even stated stay put).He was riding a wave( ambition to run in the media both print/ television.Riding the wave,a short wave,non the less a wave.Good publicicy stunt here.And the car.It stands to reason for Mayor Trantalis & Glassman to be driving brand new Bentley ( very popular car amongst the Gay rich) since Trantalis salary as Mayor tripled,yes he and the rest of the commission have themselves a hefty raise.Mayor salary was what 30G to now making close to 100G,and commissioners that were making what 25 G to now almost 70G.Of course giving themselves a raise , tripling their salary etc,no surprise they r both driving brand new Bentley ( I like my Lorraine,20 yr.old converiabley BMW,I love Lorraine).So the issue pointed out how cozy Trantalis and Glassman r w/ area land use atty.Stephanie Toothacker.She s got game.I mean she had the poop sewage diseaster over in Rio Vista where she put in a half a mill dollar damage claim and was paid w/in 6 months.I never seen the city settle w/ anyone etc in that short period of time.Your talking well over a year, possibly two.She got game.She gets her clients whatever they so desire ( impressive,but your own dime Ms.,not on ours…)I will say one thing don’t get to sure of yourselves, regarding this new waste water treatment plant,which water bills for residents would double($).I asked residents on the beach if they could get rid of the yellow in your toilet (# 1 complaint) but it would cost u double in your water bill,they stated they will stick to the yellow in their toilets,than pay double.If this is enacted Mickey Mouse could best any one of them…

  7. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Again hold on because w/ my comment Mickey Mouse would beat them.They will point out that when the waste water treatment plant is built and the residents water bill doubles( yes) they will be gone.Next election for them is 2024.Tgey prevail after that they all can’t run again because they termed limited out.Sone will say ( Glassman, Moratis) will state finish one( district commissioner) & start a new 9 yr term as Mayor.Im telling u doubling the water bill trust me the residents will not forget,and elect not a one of them esp if above stated run for Mayor.Political sucide if they raise it( water).

  8. Former FtL Resident says:

    Jack Seiler (Romney Rogers and Bruce Roberts too) kept the tax rate low by ignoring the city’s needs. For years, they diverted tens of millions of dollars from the Water and Sewer fund to pay for police and fire pensions in the general fund. Repairs couldn’t be done until “effluent” was running in the streets. Those problems would still be ignored if it happened anywhere but in Rio Vista, home to the high and mighty.

    The P3 projects are a way to address funding issues without a tax increase, but they come at the expense of long-term developer subsidies. Fort Lauderdale is a low-tax city and has the ongoing problems to prove it. You get what you pay for — which in FTL is very little. But that is the city’s DNA, and similar genes are found throughout the state.

    But to Buddy’s point, who would want to wade into the cesspool of a do-nothing Congress at age 68? Trantalis is thinking clearly.

  9. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    As far as the car as a knock which one resident desperately tried to convey w/ the revelation that Mayor Trantalis bought a Bentley and evidently Glassman as well,good for them.But no way w/ their pay raise by triple ,then u raise the water bill by doubling it to pay for a new wastewater treatment plant,Hell no.Some of the negavity towards former Mayor Seiler,first he is one of us,a good man,great husband and father and esp.a good son to his parents he could run tomorrow for any elected office & prevail ( key)so that being stated get out out their Jack.To close here Trantalis was going nowhere & love him or hate him he is our Mayor.I personally,just don’t agree w/ him over the tunnel over the bridge.I got to tell u the county is doing everything to accommodate him( tunnel) because his threat to pull out of the bldg merger carried allot of weight @ the County.Yes,they r bending over backwards to accommodate him( tunnel).They r not there yet but they r working on it.They r not there yet but cancelling the Agenda item pertaining to the tunnel,says it all.I just don’t know how they r going to pay for it.I say take Covid $ from Ored.Biden.u just saw the county take 140 million $ to pay for a hotel.Id say forget about the hotel take the 140 mill and apply it to Trantalis endeavor for the tunnel.Please people ask Mayor Trantalis u want the tunnel as opposed to the bridge , fine,but how do u pay for it?.Seems to me Trantalis on down inc.commissioners is to charge the residents more money for fees/ services etc.I say enough w,/ your overchargeing the residents to pay for your ambitions etc.To close that last Ft.lau comm.meeting where Comm.Glassman was personally attacked was beyound in appropriate.1 piece of advice is never let them see u sweat…

  10. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Ft L Resident is right Seiler Rogers n Roberts kept taxes low BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THE VOTERS WANTED. HOWEVER P3s are a scam to let OVERDEVELOPMENT make Ft L a Miami Beach Highrise desert with shouldering public works costs ON THE TAX PAYERS IN THR OUT YEARS.

  11. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    #9- What a difference a day makes regarding the county being receptive to Mayor Trantalis tunnel vs.bridge.Well,Mayor Udine just stated recently that they( county) no longer interested in a bldg.merger.
    Trantalis threatened to pull out.
    The county at first heeded the warning.Staff was trying to see how they could accommodate him but Geller came on strong.He wanted to know how much($),can I see the blueprints etc.Once he discovered Trantalis has no clue how much it will cost( tunnel) he just wanted a commitment from the County that they were receptive to the tunnel plan and not to jeapordize the bldg.merger.
    Well guess what the county no longer interested in a bldg.merger.And as far as the tunnel vs.bridge w/ Mayor Udine stated bldg.merger didn’t need Ft.lau after all.In other words kick rocks.I was shocked.Dean had them last month,this month not so much..