Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Assault Another Neighborhood


The oranges are ripening on the tree, but they’ll never be picked.  The purple impatiens sway in the wind, but there are no residents to see them. The tricycle is missing a front wheel, but there is nobody left to fix it.

Almost all the residents have left the Dr. Kennedy Homes, chased out of their public housing by Fort Lauderdale City Commission.

The Kennedy homes is just the latest neighborhood to fall victim to commissioners, who are more intent on pleasing developers than listening to constituents:

  • In Colee Hammock, residents are up in arms over the proposal to shove a parking garage and some stores into their sleepy neighborhood.
  • On the beach and along the Intracoastal, home owners are appalled by a proposed development that would ruin Bahia Mar and turn the trademark yachting destination into just another hotel and condominium complex.
  • In Coral Ridge County Club Estates, there are plans to disrupt the quality of life by putting lights at Cardinal Gibbons High. 
  • In the area near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, activists don’t want the noise and traffic that a water theme park would bring to their neighborhood.  

But Kennedy homes is the most tragic example.  That’s saying a lot with this Fort Lauderdale Commission.

It is the most tragic because the residents were the poorest of the poor.  They were forced out of homes that some have lived in for two decades.  

Oh, the city will tell you a lot of them went voluntarily.  Sure, they went after the city dangled a few hundred dollars in their faces,  promised them new homes and told them they had no choice.

The new homes? 

They are far from the old ‘hood.  They are far from residents’ schools, doctors, stores and bus routes.

Kennedy Homes are near the bus routes. When you move these folks who depend on public transportation away from buses, you are damaging their lives.

Not that the Fort Lauderdale commissioners care.   They voted 5-0 in March to bulldoze the project on the south side of West Broward Boulevard between SE Ninth and 11 Avenue, according to the

One commissioner told me that the city didn’t want the “shabby” Kennedy homes on the “front porch of Fort Lauderdale”  anymore.

Give me a break!

The Kennedy Homes is spotless compared to the check cashing and drive-in liquor store, the rundown health clinic and the seedy vacant buildings along West Broward Boulevard.  Let’s not forget the Salvation Army. 

Kennedy Homes has been around before almost anything on West Broward.  Since the 1940s.

Because it is so old for Fort Lauderdale, there have been accusations that commissioners are ignoring the historic value of the property. The Historic Preservation Board is seeking to preserve the buildings, but the city is doing everything they can to steamroll them.

This week police SWAT officers were scheduled to hold maneuvers in the largely deserted complex, kicking down doors which will open the units to the weather.

Am I too cynical if I believe these SWAT maneuvers are a deliberate attempt to thwart a law suit over the property’s historical value by ruining the units?

No, developer-friendly Fort Lauderdale wouldn’t do that. Wink wink nudge nudge.

Commissioners want the Kennedy Homes replaced by new five-story modern buildings built by a private developer.

It sounds good until you start looking deeper into the plans.

There are 132 units for very low income families at Kennedy Homes.  There will be 14 in the new complex.  

I believe the real reason for this deal is:  Somebody is making money by developing 8.5 acres on West Broward Boulevard.

The most vocal opponents to the Kennedy Homes project come from the surrounding neighborhood, Sailboat Bend.  It is one of the most diverse communities in Broward, both economically and demographically.

There are  former residents of Kennedy Homes that didn’t like the idea either, according to the Sun-Sentinel in March. 

Most of the residents, who are poor and used to be pushed around and powerless, were either cowed into submission or bought off by the insiders running the Housing Authority, say Sailboat Bend critics.  

The Housing Authority is run by members appointed by Mayor Jack Seiler.

 Seiler pointed out accurately that many of the controversial projects — including Kennedy Homes — were begun under the previous commission.  He also notes, again accurately, that the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority made most of the decisions concerning the redevelopment of Kennedy Homes.

But all the projects have enjoyed continued support under the current commission, which was suppose to be a breath of fresh air.

This current Fort Lauderdale City Commission was elected with a lot of promise just last year. It is One Big Disappointment.

Since taking office, they have unmasked themselves.  They are the lap dogs of development industry.  They are deaf to the pleas of residents whose  neighborhoods are under assault.

Can anybody remember when so many neighborhoods were unhappy with what is going on in city hall?    I’ve been around a long time and I can’t.

Something is rotten in city hall.  No, not something.  Five somethings who call themselves commissioners…for now.

37 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Assault Another Neighborhood”

  1. disenchanted says:

    its a great idea, those things are old and decrepit.

    You are wrong. I walked through the complex yesterday and it was clean and not in the least decrepit.
    You want to see decrepit? Look at some of the privately owned buildings along West Broward Boulevard.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Well done, Buddy! Good article. Wish it could be hand delivered to every resident of FtLauderdale. ~ S

  3. disenchanted says:

    didnt say they were a slum or not maintained, but they are old and if posible should be replaced with new structures that contibute to the public tax system.

  4. Politico says:

    What other city glorifies WW II era housing for returning GI’s. The property should be redeveloped.

  5. ontheequator says:

    Sounds a bit like what Obamacare wants to do with old people … just get rid of them.

  6. What About Romney? says:

    You should write how Romney Rogers sold out everybody who worked for his election by supporting First Pres’ expansion and the Bahia Mar.

  7. Floridan says:

    The sad thing about the Kennedy Homes situation is that several so-called professional historic preservationists were hired to say teh buildings had no historic value, even though they had been designated and a part of a historic district for about two decades.

    Heaven save us from our friends.

  8. Confused says:

    Buddy, I’m confused. Isn’t this property owned by the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority? I thought the redevelopment would have the same number of units as before and would still be public housing for low income households. Are you saying all but 14 of the new units will be market rate? Any clarification would be appreciated.

    The future project will be a public-private partnership with Miami’s Carlisle Development Group.

    This is from the Sun-Sentinel: “The project is to be financed mostly with federal tax credits. It would provide affordable housing for the low income — $47,500 a year for a family of four. Fewer units would be available for the very poor.”

    The $47,500 income is higher than the 2010 income levels for those classified very low or extremely low under the law. Those levels for a family of four are $23,750 for extremely low and $39,600 for very low. All the units in public housing would be open to those levels, but as I wrote only a few would be open to them in the new units, according to printed reports.

  9. Politico says:

    What is so historic about those buildings? The city that I left 30 years ago got rid of theirs 10 years before I left. Redevelop it to something in character with our city. It is a blight. I trust the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority to handle this redevelopment project. They do a wonderful job managing their properties. Let’s not even talk about the lead and asbestos abatement needed just to remove those buildings. Yes lead, lead, lead, lead. C’mon get real!

    FROM BUDDY: There was a cheaper proposal to renovate the buildings. It was rejected in favor of cutting a deal with a Miami developer. I wonder why?

    Redevelop it as something “in character with our city.” Something like Tallent Liquor across the street. Or the alcohol rehab center next door. Or the vacant, decaying motel a few blocks away. Or the shabby tire shop. Or the aging police station.

  10. Ponder This says:

    Four years and counting – we residents have been working with the Housing Authority. 115 of us signed the petition asking for new housing. A few didn’t sign, but they didn’t make any objections. Those are coming from just a few folks in the neighborhood.
    Housing Authority paid their StepUP crew to move a lot of folks for free but nicely paid them all the moving allowance. We all got a Section 8 voucher so now I can choose where to go. With public housing you live wherever they put you – that is it.
    58 families moved into Dixie Court Apt. just two blocks away. These 70 year old barracks are shot. We don’t have air conditioning or heat and the places all have mold. The paint has lead. We agree that we want to be close to the bus line. How would you feel if your front porch was 15 feet from a Bus Stop on a 7 lane highway? The new project moves the housing away from the big highway. Crooked developer? – the Housing Authority will continue to own and operate the property. They have worked really hard for us but HUD does not give them enough money to properly care for these tired old buildings. Now they have gotten $25 million to build a new, decent place for us to live. What is wrong with that? They will have central a/c and heat and laundry hookups in our apts. so we don’t have to go to the wash house when we come back.
    How are the politicians crooked for helping the poor folks? We thank them for giving us a chance to live with dignity

  11. architexter says:

    Clearly written with the usual bias – not based on the facts. Where is the research? What are the sources? In this age where journalism has died and its grave is trampled with “communication” we no longer can determine where the truth lies. Sad.

  12. About time. says:

    It is about time. It will serve many more residents, nice design, lots of open space. Nothing historic about the World “War II type barracks no one would choose to live in if they had more choices. However they kept some to show what they looked like. Even spending money on them would still be lipstcik on a pig.

  13. Fort Lauderdale Resident says:

    The comments here are missing the basic premise of this story which is that the Fort Lauderdale commissioners are betraying the residents in favor of developers.

  14. Housing Authority says:

    Dear Buddy,
    The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale is an independent unit of government. The City of Fort Lauderdale has no ownership or management interest in the Dr. Kennedy Homes. The Housing Authority has operated the site since it was built 68 years ago.
    Over the past four years we have been actively engaging a broad cross-section of the community with respect to our plans to redevelop Dr. Kennedy Homes. During that time we have participated in well over 35 public meetings – 20 of them which required formal public notice, and 10 of them were quasi-judicial. We prevailed at all but one of those hearings. We have been listening to the community in many different forums. We do not pretend that we can please everyone.
    This was a community decision and the community spoke. The vast majority are in favor of new housing at Dr. Kennedy Homes – the record reflects that over and over again.
    When Bulldog wrote his story, we appreciated his professionalism in speaking with all the interested parties. You have failed in this regard. Instead, you have chosen to take the word of a small group of unhappy neighbors.
    The Housing Authority engaged some of the most talented consultants in the area to guide us. The designer of the new Dr. Kennedy Homes lives in the Sailboat Bend neighborhood, is active in the Civic Association, and is the former Chair of the Historic Preservation Board. Additionally, by Federal law, this project has been fully reviewed and approved by the Florida Division of Historical Resources, and the Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. All of these highly qualified experts agree that this is a reasonable and responsible plan. In fact, our documentation and mitigation efforts were characterized as “exemplary” by the reviewers.
    The Housing Authority has been awarded six Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding packages in the past five years. Combined with stimulus funds, we have been awarded over $150 million to create new affordable housing for our City. In the upcoming year we plan to deliver 425 new affordable housing units. We expect to create about 1000 construction jobs as a result of these awards. We think this will have a profound impact on the local economy.
    Our Developer partner is receiving reasonable fee for their efforts. This, and all of our transactions are heavily scrutinized by multiple layers of public and private interests. It is next to impossible for a developer to make a “killing” on a tax-credit project. It is however, quite simple to blow one and lose your shirt.

    The Mayor and City Commission did nothing wrong here and there is no “man behind the curtain”. It was both uninformed and unfair of you to make sensational but vague comments about our City Officials. They have been our partners for 72 years and we share the same goal – to make a better Fort Lauderdale. They supported the majority. When the elections are over in November, how many of the losing candidates will claim they were treated unfairly? How do we appease those who did not prevail?
    The Housing Authority explored many alternatives for this site – we look for all of our sites to be sustainable economically, socially, and environmentally. In each and every project we are also intent upon providing housing that meets all current local, state, and federal health and safety standards.
    The Housing Authority worked diligently to create a sustainable solution that will perpetuate the use of the site as affordable housing. By the way – we are not shutting out any very-low-income tenants. 14 units are mandated as a minimum. All of our apartments at every site we operate are available for rent to those with very-low-income. Again,you have twisted the facts.
    The Housing Authority will continue to be an active owner/operator of the Dr. Kennedy site. There is no juicy profit here – unless you count the social benefit this affordable, clean, safe, decent housing complex will offer to our community for the next 60 years.

    Tam English, CEO
    Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale


    Mr. English,

    I appreciate your participation in the debate.

    First of all, the Housing Authority is not quite as independent as you would have readers believe. The members are appointed by the mayor.

    Second, Mayor Jack Seiler has been accused of pushing the project before commissioners even voted to approve it. According to the, Seiler signed a letter supporting demolition of the Kennedy Homes months before it was formally approved. Somewhat suspicious? Wouldn’t that lead one to believe the wheels were greased?

    Third, you would have us believe that the Miami developer is doing this out of the goodness of his heart. Does anybody believes “there is no juicy profit here,” as you wrote?

    Fourth, although you said you “prevailed”, there was certainly opposition inside Kennedy Homes to the deal. The Sun -Sentinel on March 2 stated: “Some of the residents aren’t eager for redevelopment, saying they like the existing apartments, and even more, the sense of community.”

    In the end, this site is my opinion. My opinion is that this deal is one more example of the new commission running roughshod over a neighborhood.

  15. Politico says:

    Hey Buddy,

    Your opinion is old and stale.

    Can you imagine if your only choice was to live in a 70 year old mold infested, non-air conditioned, lead painted, no washer dryer hookup, 15 feet from a major roadway, etc. apartment?

    Let us know when you are ready to move in so we can send someone to take a picture.

    Lipstick on a big is a great comparison for what the Housing Authority has been doing with these units. They are old and tired and need replaced.

    “In the end, this site is my opinion. My opinion is that this deal is one more example of the new commission running roughshod over a neighborhood.”

    Glad your opinion didn’t count!

  16. Build it! says:

    The only folks against this project are the CAVE people. (Citizens Against Virtually Everything). One just needs to go two blocks North and see the beautiful new Dixie Courts, a gleaming new Housing Authority project. If you only listen to the hand full of nay sayers you would never do anything. The silent majority is in favor of progress like this.

  17. Floridan says:

    Anyone else get the feeling that an email went out from FtLHA to the troops, telling them to email and express support for this project?

    FROM BUDDY: I do.

  18. Hey Buddy says:

    That public housing project is decades old built at a time when the “other side of the tracks” really meant something. It is a throw back to Fort Lauderdale’s segregationist Southern past.

    They painted it and added some flowers but it was designed to be a step up from slave housing. Drugs were sold there for decades. Prostitution and crime dominated the area. That entire scene is a chapter in our history we should be eager to eliminate. The housing provided shelter to generations of black families. But too few of them broke their chains of poverty, instead handing poverty down to the next generation.

    Public housing was supposed to be temporary offering low rent for a short time. You were supposed to get on your feet move on. Then the housing could help the next family. That never came to be. It became a lifestyle, generations of families fell into an ongoing cycle of poverty. The model doesn’t work, it is culturally obsolete, archeticturally meaningless, and needs be torn down.

    They have a good plan. Let Fort Lauderdale progress for all the citizens. Change for the better is not an assault. It is progress.

    There is nothing there worth preserving.


    Actually, the project orignally housed white poor. Another project was built for blacks.

    It is only later that Kennedy Homes became integrated and then largely-black.

    Remember that these homes could have been renovated. They are single story and two story buildings being replaced by apartment buildings.

    If they need to replace the homes, the authority and commissioners should have made more of an effort to get all the residents and the Sailboat Bend neighbors to buy into the project. Some feel they were railroaded by a bunch of elites appointed by city hall. The result: law suits which doesn’t do anyone any good.

  19. Robert Evans says:

    Even a CAVE man would not live in one of these “quaint cottages”.

  20. Sara says:

    Excellent article. This is very sad…and really infuriating. Kennedy Homes are built to a human scale, a far more livable place than any more recent multifamily housing I’ve seen. It’s impossible to vote most commissioners out of office no matter how devastating their decisions, and if the voters do succeed in electing someone new, the newcomer slowly or rapidly turns. We have seen this now with Kristin Jacobs on the County Commission, And who can forget Cindy Hutchinson in Fort Lauderdale?

  21. disenchanted says:

    i fully agree with the sescription of the CAVE people, from bahaia mar and to a degree the church these are improvements over what is currently there, progress is not a dirty word, i just hopr the city gets a better deal on the taxs for bahai mar than the giveaway leases tyhey oriinalyy signed. buddy if you really want to dig into something, the huge condo on the south side of gthe river by the court house how did and on what trerms did they get build it on ,i believe, county owned land. wasnt it originaly to be built in or on the park next door, remember the so caLLED INDIAN QUEEN AND HER TEEPEE THERE. sorry about the caps. check it see who was behind this deal, and doed the county still own the land.

  22. disenchanted says:

    sorry my spell check wasnt on and i type by the bible system.

  23. Cara says:

    I was against the destruction of these human-scale homes. The fronting on BB could have been buffered with landscaping. The lead could have been remediated and the houses re-roofed with white metal and otherwise retrofit to improve their energy efficiency. Residents could have been encouraged to start community gardens in the green space. They are a comforting sight to see along hideous BB! They are attractive and should be preserved. Ft. Lauderdale has destroyed most of its historic character and is a lesser place to live for it. This commission is but another in a long list of developer and big corporation (FPL)toadies.

    I live by choice in a small 63 year old house with no air conditioning (because the house was built for the climate, not as an air-conditioned, energy sucking fortress)and I hang my clothes to dry. The Kennedy homes can be renovated as a example of community,sustainability and beauty. It would likely cost much less and certainly be more environmentally friendly. Ft. Lauderdale government is a travesty and an embarrassment.

    Thanks for shining a light on their disgusting conduct.

  24. Kevin Cregan says:

    Dear Buddy:

    I wanted to provide a couple of comments about the redevelopment of Kennedy Homes based on my agency’s experience with redeveloping Public Housing properties. You commented that there were 132 units for very low income families at Kennedy Homes but there will be only 14 in the new complex. Those 14 represent a net gain to the community since Section 8 vouchers were provided for the 132 units to be demolished. (There is also a net gain of 118 units for families between 30% and 60% of the Area Median Income.) Those vouchers will stay in the community for other low-income families to use in the future.

    I would not consider the families who were relocated from Kennedy Homes as being “bought off by insiders running the Housing Authority”. Most families who are offered a Section 8 voucher to move from an obsolete property are extremely happy to get them since it gives them the freedom to choose where to live. In the near future they may choose to live at the new Kennedy Homes which they can do with their voucher.

    A word on the SWAT Team – we have demolished three obsolete Public Housing properties over the past several years and, in each case, the local Police Department asked for permission to use the property prior to demolition for critical training for their SWAT Teams. I think you were being a bit cynical in looking for any nefarious motive there.

    I think my colleague Tam English and his team at the housing Authority of Fort Lauderdale have done an excellent job with their Dixie Court and other projects and that the community will be very pleased with the new Kennedy Homes when they are completed.

    They selected an excellent developer in the Carlisle Group. We have partnered with them on two projects and they do a great job for an honest fee while taking great financial risks.

    Kevin Cregan, CEO
    Broward County Housing Authority


    Thank you for participating in the debate.

  25. Rastas says:

    Or the shabby tire shop.

    If you mean the place in that deadend street on the south side of Broward to the west of Kennedy homes, they give outstanding service. Nothing shabby about it.

  26. city Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Well do you blame them for moving so fast-w/ Mr.Jordan expressing on every blog is intention to sue on behalf of his HOA. All the CIty Comm. did was approve the project. So bottom line they moved them out a little early, so what. These residents that live there the majority of them stated the place is basiclly a dump and don’t deserve to live in these conditions. New aptartments will be modern,central air dish washers etc. again The Housing Authority I believe moved them out earlier then later. Is this such a big deal?

  27. Politico says:

    Floridan says:

    September 16th, 2010 at 9:04 am
    Anyone else get the feeling that an email went out from FtLHA to the troops, telling them to email and express support for this project?

    FROM BUDDY: I do.


    You are so wrong Buddy. You must find it hard to believe that people who post to your blog actually live and work in the community, and have brains.

    ALSO from Buddy: Remember that these homes could have been renovated. They are single story and two story buildings being replaced by apartment buildings.

    Hey Buddy, Time to do a little research on the 4/2010 New EPA Lead RRP Regulations. Any outside contractor or employee of the Housing Authority who is not Lead RRP Certified can receive a $38,000 fine starting January 1, 2011 Yes sir! That’s the truth.

    Your research skills need upgrading. Perhaps it’s time to start verifying information with Google.

  28. Politico says:

    Oh and by the way Buddy, those new EPA Lead RRP regulations came into effect just because of current nationwide housing situations like Dr. Kennedy Homes.

    Those EPA lead regulations were passed to protect not only the workers repairing and renovating, but the people who live, touch, breath, and ingest the lead particles every day.

    The children and adults living there deserved better than to be breathing and touching lead particles.

    It is was it is!

  29. Got me wondering says:

    I have heard a lot of rumors about Romnery Rogers doing all he can for the Church. Also have read on different blogs that Judy Stern is tied in with the Church people as well. Must only be a coincidence that Rogers appointed Judy’s daughter to the Community Appearance Board

  30. Dday25 says:

    “Perhaps it’s time to start verifying information with Google.”

    That is just lough out loud funny. If it’s on the internet it must be true.

  31. Politico says:

    @Dday25 says:

    Google “EPA Lead RRP Regulations”.
    I’m confident what you will find is true.

    It’s as simple as pulling a government regulation from a government website. No mystery there.

  32. Cary Grant says:

    As I have said in the past, “Judy, Judy, Judy.” Stern that is.

  33. Linda Fay says:

    I have no faith that the new building(s)will be a better project than the cottages were. Look at the Riverfront project, a little more than 10 years old and there is talk of tearing it down already. Even Mayor Naugle stated that his support of that project was a mistake, and that it would have been better to have restored the original buildings on that site. Observe the success of West Las Olas, west of the RR tracks.

    The gentrification squad strikes again! The results – projects that are certain to be torn down in 10 years because of disfunctional design and shoddy construction. Who would want to live right on Broward Blvd. anyway? Shouldn’t that site have been used differently with the residential buildings located further back into the neighborhood?

  34. Hutchinson going down? says:

    I saw this on Pulp today…

    Looks like Judy is could be using her immunity with Satz that Bob Norman speculated about recently to settle old scores.

    Overheard on Las Olas says:
    Judy Stern was bragging to the folks at the table next to mine at Mangos today about all the information she gave to the State Attorney about Cindi Hutchinson and how she is the next to be indicted. She said Gretzas will not be far behind.

    Posted On: Tuesday, Sep. 21 2010 @ 1:46PM

  35. Cindi Fan says:

    Cindi was a great asset to the Commission and currently as head of the Riverwalk Trust. People like Cindi and George Gretzas called BS on Stern and Rodstrom for years. I really hope this rumored investigation is just another made up lie by Stern and Rodstrom.

  36. judy? says:

    Speaking of anti building rodstrom…funny how she says no building on the beach but in this neighborhood its ok to demolish and build…fort lauderdale is a dirty dirty place

  37. Bruce A. Cole says:

    I stumbled on this site by accident while trying to find some historical photos of the old Dr. Kennedy Homes that I lived in as a boy, ages 9 thru 14, as one entry referred to as “poor white folks” while my mother, a recently divorced woman worked as a nurse’s aide at Broward General. I lived there during the early 60’s when the segregation of the homes not only referred to black and white, but also to “with or without kids”. Sections were designated as for elderly and us kids were not to enter unless we had business in there. Those sections were well maintained by the residents and even sported flowers in pots and in planted beds. People sat on porches and kept an eye out for each other. I sometimes made an extra fifty cents by checking out an actual push mower and cutting the yard for a couple of older residents that couldn’t do it for themselves.
    I have plenty of mixed feelings regarding the times that I lived there, but if anyone has photos of the area that could be shared, I would be most appreciative.
    I can’t have any opinion of the current situation in Broward County; left there in 1965, but if anyone wants some historical insight on being a kid living there, I’m available.