Fort Lauderdale Runoff: Fight Over Gay Vote


A predicament faced Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler as the final returns from the special commission election trickled in Tuesday:

What to do about the runoff?

Should Seiler back Dean Trantalis, who ran against him for mayor in 2009?  Or should he support Charlotte Rodstrom, who sometimes was a thorn in his side during her previous tenure as a commissioner.

Seiler decided to stay out.

The mayor knows he could end up working with either on the Fort Lauderdale commission because either could win — Trantalis and Rodstrom appear evenly matched.

In the four-candidate race, Rodstrom edged out Trantalis by just 1,154 to 1,026. The other two candidates split the remainder of the 2,471 votes cast.


Former County Commmissioner Ken Keechl (left) looks over returns Tuesday with Dean Trantalis (courtesy  Facebook)

“I am not endorsing anybody in the run off,” Seiler told “I know both of them very well, and I think highly of both of them.

“I worked with Charlotte six years on the commission. Dean handled that race (against me for mayor) well and showed a lot of class after it was over.”

Key to the race could be what the gay voters do. Commission District 2  has a substantial number of gay voters in places like Victoria Park.

Trantalis has one advantage with gay voters – he is openly gay and was the city’s first gay commissioner roughly a decade ago.

However, no one should discount Rodstrom’s reach into the gay community.  She has voted solidly with gays on their issues and has numerous supporters among LGBT voters, which means that community is clearly politically divided.

Can her support among gays offset the natural affinity of voters to back candidates who is a member of their “group,” i.e., candidates who are like them?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out prior to the runoff election March 12.

28 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale Runoff: Fight Over Gay Vote”

  1. Jimmy D says:

    Watch it now: Commissioner says ‘blow me’ to resident

    Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi makes remarks during meeting to ex-commissionoer and elderly woman!

  2. Don't have a Cowan says:

    You are right, many gay voters will vote for Rodstrom because Dean, like Keechl often used his office to cash in on his position. Remember how he represented certain properties that he voted on?

    And he was not a hard working commissioner like Charlotte has been.

  3. voter says:

    If Trantalis is elected there will be three (3) attorneys on the commission. A $30k a year gig for marketing/PR platform and ascension up the political ladder to higher elected office.

    Vote smart people

  4. logic dictates says:

    It is highly doubtful that the turnout will be higher in March than yesterday. That fact coupled with the likelihood of Dean picking up all or most of the Black/Lester votes puts him in the position to beat Charlotte in March.

    I see Alan Jean aka The August Group and Dubose’s campaign manager was involved in the ECO hit mail piece on Dean. Another dud from the August Group. Of course funded by the usual cast of characters Book, Toothaker, Trip Scott, Scherer etc.

  5. Corrupt Politics says:

    Charlotte has already had her three (3) strikes this election is her fourth (4) is it corrupt politics?

    Sec. 3.02. – Creation, composition and term of commission.

    There is hereby created a city commission composed of one (1) mayor-commissioner and four (4) city commissioners all of whom shall be elected in the manner provided in this charter, shall take office on the first Tuesday following their election, and who shall hold office for a term of three (3) years, or until their successors are elected and qualified. No person who has been elected to the office of mayor-commissioner or to the office of city commissioner for three (3) consecutive terms shall be qualified for nomination or election to that office for the succeeding term. This limitation shall apply to terms which commence after the regular election of March 7, 2000. The mayor-commissioner and the four (4) city commissioners are sometimes referred to herein as commissioners or the city commission.

    (Ord. No. C-86-77, § 1, 9-16-86; Ord. No. C-98-47, § 1, 9-1-98/11-3-98)

  6. Steve Glassman says:

    First – would like to hear some analysis about the Kane poll reported here on December 5 that showed Charlotte with a 61% approval rating (higher than Mayor Seiler and Mother Theresa)and an unbeatable lead of 23% with so little time until the election.
    Second – we should all be ashamed of the 8.6% voter turnout.
    Third – While I am not impartial, I must say that Charlotte is not gay friendly and that there is no political split in the LGBT community – it is not even close. Charlotte is gay-friendly when it is easy (attend a parade or event once in a while) and can provide her an opportunity. When it comes to tough issues like the 2008 State Constitutional Amendment 2 (which among other things banned civil unions and same-sex marriage)and the recent marriage equality debate, she is silent. Dean’s contributions and work in this arena is unmatched.
    March 12 will be decided by whoever can get some folks to vote. Dean has momentum because 53% of the voters yesterday voted against Charlotte and that, coupled with the fact that she received 1,154 votes after almost 7 years in office, is very weak.


    You can just as well say 59.5 percent voted against Dean.

    As far as the poll goes, Kane can speak for himself. A survey is a snapshot in time. That time passed a month ago and there was a lot of campaigning since then.

    Just one example: The RealClearPolitics average of all polls from the beginning of October to the election had Mitt Romney ahead, concluding right before the election with the Republican winning by 1.5 percentage points in Florida. Mason Dixie had Romney up 6 percentage point Oct. 30 to Dec. 1, while The Jacksonville Times Union had Romney ahead 5 percentage points on a poll that concluded November 4.

    Obama won by just under 1 percent.

  7. just one vote says:

    To: Logic Dictates
    if your comment is correct that is because
    Alan Jean (doesn’t he work gov’t affairs for a local law firm?) and Dubose’s campaign manager was involved in the ECO hit mail piece on Dean. He doesn’t want Dobose power diluted by another lawyer on dais. As to Book, Toothaker, Trip Scott, Scherer etc. (ALL lawyers) they don’t want to placate another lawyer on dais.
    Amazing that in a city of 160k or so, 28k voters in the district and a couple thousand decide. Disinterest? Apathy? Ignorance?
    What is wrong with this picture?

  8. Logic Dictates says:

    Logic dictates that while yes all mentioned are lawyers, their bread and butter is made at lobbying…

    Obviously they could care less about having another lawyer on the dais as logic would dictate that these lobbyists
    Jean, Book, Toothaker, Tripp Scott.
    are supporting who they believe will deliver the vote their way?

    If I had to GUESS, the only one dumb enough to raise this lawyer vs non lawyer argument is Dan Lewis. Another Fort Lauderdale loss with Char last night. How is Rynerson doing? Sad that your YD card was merely a one trick gimmick and last night yet again showed you are really not very good at running campaigns.

  9. @logic dictates says:

    The turnout was low because of the holidays. But people are used to the March election date and turnout will be higher.
    How’s that dictates?

  10. experience says:

    As a gay person, I am embarassed by Ken Keechl. I won’t vote for a candidate because he/she is gay. I won’t vote for anyone who takes the public trust for granted as he did. I am disheartened that Mr. Trantalis would consult Keechl.

  11. Don't have ma Cowan is wrong. says:

    Im a striaght girl, but Dont have aCowan is either a homophobe or is just ignorant as to how powerful gays operate… Say what you want about Dean and Ken but the gays love and look up to them. There is no way Charlotte is getting the GLBT vote. The close election is a result of their influence in the gay and gay supportive straight community. I have no doubt that the Rostroms are now done..

  12. Sorry says:

    Keechl and Dean “the gay mafia”
    Using gays to line their pockets.

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Actually, Buddy, what those results indicate is that RealClearPolitics, Mason Dixon, and the (yecch) Florida Times-Union, as well as others such as (double yecch) Rasmussen, are just terrible at either the production or the aggregation of polling data.

    Look instead at the solid results generated by Public Policy Polling, The Daily Kos, and Nate Silver. Their results were very accurate snapshots in time.

    Rasmussen, etc. only produced fun-house mirrors for the benefit of anyone stupid enough to believe these clowns – and apparently many Republicans were very happy to glug down the Kool-Aid!

  14. Citizen says:

    Disparate comments and viewpoints here! Thank you Buddy for the forum! S-S had a few then made story and comments ‘disappear’. Tim Smith has some interesting ones as his neighborhood is squarely in district 2.

  15. Dan Lewis says:

    Regrettably I was attending to other matters and did not get involved in the recent District 2 special commission race except for casting my vote. However, since “Logic Dictates” Stern persists in feeling threatened, I guess I need to find the time to fully engage in the run-off contest.

    In my view, the run-off contest is not a civil war in the GLBT community or an issue about the complexities of yet another lawyer-commissioner any more than it is about gender – although candidly, each topic would make an interesting political conversation. Keechl and Trantalis would like to define members in the GLBT community by their sexuality and make that the central political issue in the contest. In fact, GLBT members are defined by who they are, their values and their community vision far more than their sexual orientation.

    It is about the relative merits of both candidates Rodstrom & Trantalis and one only need look to their respective record, conduct and effectiveness for the City and District 2 when in office for the answer. From every objective measure Trantalis was a disaster and a complete waste of a commission seat. In contrast, say what you will about Rodstrom – but while in office she took hard stands and consistently questioned both conventional thinking and the status quo. I like that and I think my friends and neighbors in District 2 appreciate it as well.

  16. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> Keechl and Trantalis would like to define members in the GLBT community by their sexuality and make that the central political issue in the contest. In fact, GLBT members are defined by who they are, their values and their community vision far more than their sexual orientation.

    Bravo! A very intelligent answer. Just don’t expect the religious fucks to comprehend such reasonable logic.

  17. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Oh Mayor Seiler less is more. Like you are a big fan of Dean Trantalis. And what i s this that Charlotte Rodstrom is not supportive etc of the Gay community. Well what about that 1500.oo bucks she and her husband give to the GLCC etc.Yes she put up like 1500.oo bucks to be a gold memebr etc. So to say that she is not suppotive of the Gay community is absurd. She answers the phone to all people of Ft.Lau. Also how quick we forget about the alleged didler(please) from the Broward House which Dino here sits on the board. What was the qoute(this Mcegennuis-whatever) Dean’s words “well he wasn’t convicted of anything, and everybody derserves a fair trial (bs) but then th e shit hits the fan and we have an emergency meeting from what I heard @ Dean”s home to finally get rid of this man, only, only after the egg was on Dean’s face. “Budwig” you are just as bad, and Angelo Costello w/ his “show me a conviction” Yeah I’d like to show you a castration(balls, cut, off). I mean come on. Chuck Black and Mr.Zalewiski supporters go w/ Charlotte. Mayor Seiler “you like both of them”. And you all can disect, and disect etc, to your blue in the face. A win, is a win, is a win. To close and attention Att.Courney Crush I would like to see more vocal support from you endorsing Charlotte. After all she ha s always been there for you($$).. Lets roll(March 12)……

  18. Danny Pryor says:

    First, as a man who is gay, not as a gay man, I am not sure there is any such thing as a “gay vote”. My support for Dean Trantalis is based on two critical factors. The first is Dean’s stellar record as an equal rights advocate. I first met him during the early 1990’s when he was marching before the county commission to bring “sexual orientation” language to the Broward Human Rights Ordinance. Eventually he succeeded, with the help of many others who latched onto the cause. The stalwart support of Commissioner Gunzberger was powerful leadership when it came for the final vote. As I recall, John Rodstrom, Charlotte’s husband, voted AGAINST the additional language.

    Keep in mind, we are not, as people who happen to be gay, looking for special treatment. We are demanding the SAME treatment as those who are not gay. The fact we are gay has been the impetus for many so-called “family values” folks to discriminate against us, often to the great sorrow of many fine and upstanding citizens.

    Dean’s work brought many of us, including me, to a more comfortable acceptance of our own personal realities, to believe that one facet of our being is not the defining element of our existence. It is, as the term suggests, one of many facets.

    However, those who perpetrate human rights abuses because of the “gay factor” are no less despicable than any racist. To counter the inequalities that could ferment within any government body, some form representation, either from a staunch advocate or an individual of the same trait as those seeking the representation, must exist. Dean is the ideal candidate for this. The wife of a man who has been on the record opposing equal rights, and a woman who has failed to consistently represent ALL of the members of the community, must not be permitted to continue to serve, where such service to some of the community population is wan or lacking.

    Secondly, Dean has continually been a strong advocate of managed development and growth, which he touts as “preserving neighborhood integrity”. His votes during his 2003 – 2006 term, which he served in full, helped to commit our city to a course of careful development that spared Fort Lauderdale the worst of the overdevelopment rampage that continues to afflict Miami-Dade County and other parts of the country. In fact, Fort Lauderdale began recovering from the housing crisis just ahead of the rest of the United States, although admittedly there are still commercial inventories that remain bloated. There are fundamental economic reasons for this, including capital shifts as the result of technological change that require less office space, as well as the lack of a truly diverse economy in Fort Lauderdale.

    Jack Seiler was supposed to help us find new diversity and bring Fort Lauderdale into new stead as the robust county seat it should be, but he has not exactly been leading the way to anything bigger and better, unless you believe the rumors of a gubernatorial bid. This is hardly in the best interests of Fort Lauderdale, per se.

    Charlotte has scarcely been a leader in economic diversification, either. There is a massive bastion of tech gurgling underneath the surface of South Florida’s travel industry. I know; I build websites and media content for these websites. Did you know that, of the three major domain industry hubs in the United States, South Florida is one? Tens of millions of domains and websites are owned from here. Why don’t we capitalize on tech to help diversify the economy, using Dean’s plan for managed growth and neighborhood preservation, to attract the kind of tech companies and employees that Silicon Valley used to get? We don’t need to necessarily headquarter every company, but Fort Lauderdale is a more relaxing city for regional offices than, say, Atlanta or Miami. It is not only juxtaposed to the so-called “Gateway to the Americas,” while being less expensive, because of our own international airport, we could also be that gateway! Why not? This is not the “Southern Town” it used to be. It’s a vibrant hub of a metropolis ready to burst at the seams!

    Then there is crime and homelessness. Nobody has tasked the city with anything other than to pretend this issue does not exist. We have a homeless and mental health crisis in this country, exacerbated in South Florida because of the temperate climate, which attracts an disparate number of homeless and mentally ill persons. Acting as though we have no such issue, or that it is entirely the fault of the homeless, themselves, is a short-sighted and self-defeating proposition. Nobody is looking to mask the problem by throwing people into institutions. Indeed, such unmitigated sweeps would be illegal. But, granting access to additional services, to help the homeless help themselves, can free up tremendous resources that are otherwise wasted. There are myriad problems that lead to homelessness, and tackling those problems serves both humanitarian and economic needs. To employ the old maxim, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    To address the conduct and effectiveness of either of these candidates, look at the most recent record of Charlotte, herself. She resigned her position only weeks after being reelected so she could take a stab at a bigger position, hoping to capitalize on her last name, hoping further the electorate was not intelligent enough to notice the name preceding the “Rodstrom” had changed. She lost. Meanwhile, she ‘elected’ to reclaim her old position on the city commission. Why? She has more money to spend?

    This kind of capricious behavior can not be dismissed so easily, unless you just blindly support Mrs. Rodstrom. Loyalty is to be commended in any relationship, when that loyalty has been earned. But committing oneself to support a woman like Charlotte Rodstrom, after what she has pulled this year, is tantamount to codependency. People who are codependent are usually saddled with issues. In the psychiatric community, codependency is a mental health issue. In politics, it’s generally an economic one. I question, with all due scrutiny, Mr. Lewis’ motivation for his support.

  19. ann says:

    I like the way Dan Lewis throws around statements like “Trantalis was a disaster” and “Rodstrom …consistently questions both conventional thinking and the status quo” without offering a single example of his “objective measure(s)” !

  20. Jurassic Park says:

    Barbra Miller Presents Fight Night!

    Dan Lewis vs. Judy Stern.

    Can we get Jack Schifrel Barry Harris and David Brown at the announcers table?

    Barbra Effman, Adele Berger and Lottie Albert, Diane Glasser as ring girls?

    Maybe Ann Zucker can bring some off brand oreos and warm watered down kool aid.


    Does the name “Jurassic Park” have to do with the age of those you mention?

  21. Dan Lewis says:

    Jurassic Park:

    As some already know – I am willing to mud wrestle Judy “Judith” stern for a worthwhile charity, even though I would have to give up a significant weight advantage and of course, she has way more experience than me in the mud.

    I think I am more agile and flexible but the outcome would be even money – except for the charity which would make a bundle on the bout.

    Maybe Buddy could be the referee, but I couldn’t guarantee his safety. 🙂

  22. Impressed says:

    @#18 … Now that was a well thought out and exquistely written post. Maybe you sir should consider a run for elected office.

  23. Beachite says:

    Before Lewis gets involved he better know that he has a fight on his hand because Seiler is backing Trantalis. The mayor wants a tame city commission that asks him no questions and Trantalis has promised to make no trouble for him.

  24. just saying says:

    the mayor probably wants alot of things like the governorship.
    TFB as it is highly unlikely since more voters show up for guv election than small time city stuff

  25. gray mafia says:

    Really? Do you think Trantalis and Keechl got elected only with gay votes? They did what ever good pol does: started with a base and expanded their support. Rodstrom can’t make any headway into Dean’s base. I predict the Rodstroms are history.

  26. anonymous says:

    Remember: the reason for this special election was Rodstrom ran for County Commission. She lost that seat and is running to get her old city seat back – costing the taxpayers (if I remember correctly) $200,000. That figure did NOT include this new runoff. So is it now costing Fort Lauderdale taxpayers $400,000? DUMP her.

  27. Charlotte Fan says:

    Charlotte ran for county commission as the only representative from Fort Lauderdale. She believed that the county’s biggest city deserved somebody on the county commission. She lost and now there is nobody from Fort Lauderdale on the commission.

  28. also a charlotte fan says:

    yes but I don’t buy the lame reasoning.
    if she ran for BCC thinking she would win, the right thing to do was resign ahead so her city seat could have been on ballot/filled in Nov 2012 election, or just not run for the 3rd term of city comm in Jan 2012. she covered her bases just like the hallandale comm did running for mayor then planning to run for his comm seat again if he didn’t get mayor gig (he did not and now he’s a private citizen just like the rest of us.
    so spec. city election is costing about 250k.
    had keechl won bcc instead of ryan, he would have/could have been a rep for city of Fort Lauderdale as he owns property in city and also WM, and had previously represented ft ldle when on bcc after he beat scott.
    is this the just desserts/paybak after the district 7 “Re-Districting” to shut out some who may have run from ft ldle for BCC?