Voters Have Spoken: Ft Laud’s Development Crowd On The Ropes






The hard-pressed neighborhoods and taxpayers have spoken.

Fort Lauderdale’s city election was a stunning repudiation of the downtown development crowd’s control of City Hall.

It was Fort Lauderdale residents saying they had enough of sclerotic streets and sewage pouring onto lawns from a failing system, all aggravated by new construction.

The election almost certainly meant The Wave, the multi-million dollar trolley system to nowhere, will lose its City Hall support.  Nearly every candidate is against the costly downtown street car, which would eliminate a lane of traffic and saddle taxpayers with costs for drivers and maintenance….forever.

Voters also sent a message to growth-at-any-cost City Manager Lee Feldman: Dust off your resume. It is a safe bet that Feldman will be out of a job after the election.


Lee Feldman


And the election was an overwhelming rejection of Mayor Jack Seiler’s legacy of a city intent on building more and more and more.

Slow-growth candidate Dean Trantalis’ campaign for mayor to replace retiring Seiler would have to totally collapse for him to lose the runoff in March.  He won Tuesday’s primary 46 to 31 percent over business-as-usual second-place finisher Bruce Roberts.


Dean Trantalis



The rest of the primary vote for mayor went to Charlotte Rodstrom. She promised to be even tougher on new developer than Trantalis, so it is unlikely many of her supporters would vote for Roberts in the runoff.

Word swept Fort Lauderdale’s political world in the wake of last night’s results that Roberts will ditch his campaign manager Judy Stern, who is also a development industry lobbyist. The rumor was fueled by a tweet from another political consultant:

Dumping Stern could backfire since regardless of Tuesday’s results, Stern is known as a highly effective campaign manager. “It’s not happening,” Stern texted

The other results were:

  • City Commission District 2: Again a slow-growth candidate led the field. Steven Glassman, a long time preservation and beach activist, beat Tim Smith 35-25. Smith was known as a developers supporter when he was a commissioner more than a decade ago, but he says his views have matured.
  • District 3: Incumbent Commissioner Robert McKinzie won outright. Representing portions of northwest Fort Lauderdale, McKinzie is viewed as a pro-growth vote.
  • District 4: Ben Sorensen, a pastor, led 42-31 over second-place finisher Warren Sturman, a cardiologist.  Perhaps the most interesting part of this race was the poor finish of former Dania Beach Mayor Walter Duke III, a pro-growth candidate who received 27 percent and was the darling of the development industry.


Fort Lauderdale’s development community is on the ropes. Those who make money from Seiler and Feldman’s City Hall will not go gentle into that good night.

Expect a scorched earth race for mayor. Roberts is so far behind that the only way he can win is to smear Trantalis. “He needs to turn Dean into the devil,” said one political consultant who is not involved in the Fort Lauderdale election.

Similar nastiness may even bleed over to District 2 and 4.

Developers and lobbyists will pour thousands into political committees to produce mud slinging ads. The slow growth candidates may fight back with their own viciousness.

Bottom Line: Be ready to hold your nose until the runoff on March 13.




23 Responses to “Voters Have Spoken: Ft Laud’s Development Crowd On The Ropes”

  1. Voters are smart says:

    The race is over. Trantalis is the next mayor. 3 points will happen if he doesn’t even put up a sign for the runoff.

    It wasn’t development, it wasn’t Judy, fixing city hall is why Trantalis won. He’s been trying to hold the manager accountable, and Roberts gave the manager a raise. Voters are smart and they know which candidate will be the better mayor. Trantalis in a walk. Count on it.

    And watch for Sturman to pull a Houdini and win 4. Don’t count him out!

  2. Knows For Sure says:

    Karma got Walter Duke III, the washed up Carpetbagger who thought he could bully his way into a Fort Lauderdale Commission seat like he bullied his way around in Dania Beach. Duke is all done politically. Sometimes, good things do happen. Fort Lauderdale is much better off after his LAST PLACE finish. Hopefully, Duke will ride off into the sunset and take his snarky, manipulative wife with him.

  3. Adios says:

    “Perhaps the most interesting part of this race was the poor finish of former Dania Beach Mayor Walter Duke III, a pro-growth candidate who received 27 percent and was the darling of the development industry.”

    Thanks, Buddy, for writing the perfect obituary for the end of Walter Duke’s political career in any place except gullible Dania Beach.

  4. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    As far as letting Judy Stern go now i think would be counter productive.Bruce Roberts don.t do it.You piss her off and start packing now.Concentrate on Victoria Pk.Concentrate on the Jewish population esp.on the beach.Hold say a meet and greet after Temple.Bring up the young black man working for Trantalis and the comments he stated against Israel.Concentrate on Mr.Maxy.Get with him to secure his and his supporters.Ditch the puppet(mailer).Stress no more dev.East of Federal.Have a debate at the CBA.Bring up how you cleaned up Beachplace.I have other instruction(MT.will inform).Charlotte Rodstrom unfortunately you couldn.t get enough Black supporters.Johns former negative relationship with late Carlton Moore was to much to ignore.Yeah you gave it your all.Now end one campaign and start another.Run for Chip Lamarca seat.Best of luck.Now its on to March.Those that think Trantalis is a shoe in alot could change in the next 10 weeks..

  5. Citizens Revenge says:

    DON’T EVER underestimate the voice of the little people who aren’t even middle class according to the new,America.

    We will speak loud and clear. The days if greedy, in it for themselves people like Seiler, Rogers,Roberts & the rest of the self-interest gang are coming to an abrupt halt.

    Their visions of kissing the behinds of the ultra over the people they have failed to represent are finished.

    Be gone, guys. Time for you to disappear & lie to people who buy your BS. WE DON’T

  6. Love ya Walsh says:

    Letting go of Judy would be counter productive? If there are 10 negatives about Bruce being spoken around town, she is associated with over half of them. If he got rid of her, he could get back to putting out a positive message and not have to talk about her all the time. She dimed out a black kid on a rumor he stole a campaign sign and brought the gay vote out in droves with the ECO anti gay mailer. She took a shoe in and ran the race to the ground causing Bruce only getting 32% What worse could she do to Bruce?

    For all the mistakes this “experienced” consultant has made in the Roberts race you have to wonder if she is doing it intention…shhhh….

  7. John Rodstrom says:

    My differences with Carlton Moore arose over the narrowing of Sistrunk. Carlton wanted 2 lanes and I thought that narrowing a major arterial was bad policy. We compromised on 3 lanes. I still think building more density and narrowing roads is a prescription for disaster. Back to Sistrunk,I won the support of the county commission and we contributed $2.5 million along with matching funds from the feds thanks to Congressman Alcee Hastings

  8. Proud of you Dean says:

    You are a role model to gay men everywhere, thank you for being a community leader.

  9. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #6 I agree with you however, if he lets her go now she with the reputation of being more than just vindictive she will run right to Dean and it surely will put the nail in his coffin.Bruce needs to flip these numbers.He needs Charlotte votes.I also agree the mailers with the puppet was stupid,but not homophopic or an insult to Deans sexuality.He needs to get with Mr.Maxy to draw his voters.Also over in Charlotte nevk of the woods.He has to review where he did poorly and reach out to these residents.Offer them the kitchen sink.I also have some(1) issue Bruce can bring out(see tucker).If he loses since he actually enjoys all this ,like i told Charlotte Chip Lamarca seat is going to be open soon either he or Rodstrom could and would be a shoe in.What Ken Keechl.No problem( 3000 a month to the boyfriend-bring it on).So is Bruce behind the 8 ball yes but everybody loves the underdog.Also thank you John Rodstrom for your must be proud of your son for helping his mother,that pic of the 2 of them speaks volumes if the love they have for each other.Not to worry Charlotte in old age he(son) will be there for you.For that i would lose any election..

  10. David Clark says:

    I have lived in Dania over 26 years and I’m familiar with what Walter Duke and his wife Lisa did to this little town….they both pretended to care. He and his wife manipulated the absentee ballots,got his voters to bullet vote in City wide elections and he was a bully when he was at city hall in Dania. We had constant problems with him. Terrible division in Dania was caused by him and his wife and it’s still there.Be glad you rejected him as you would have had nothing but trouble with him. I honestly believe he is a sociopath. Walter bragged he never lost an election. He has now !

  11. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The ONLY negative I know of about Judy Stern is here connection to Mark Herron’s political pornography. She didnt creat the 17th Street Traffic Catastrophe, Bahia Mar is as of right.AND SHE WAS NOT THEIR LOBBYIST AFTER THE 26 towers was withdrawn, AND I PERSONALLY DONT KNOW HIW YOU CAN TIE HER TO THE DAA CROWD’S WAVE.
    1 mistake NOT 5 or more.

  12. Bob Adams says:

    #8 – Not just gay men!

  13. Roberts is done says:

    #9 – Bruce Roberts is not a shoe in for any office in the future, let alone a county wide election. He has done nothing in Ft. Laud for 8 years except make votes that fly in the face of what the public wanted (excepting Galleria which was a vote for Judy’s client). He doesn’t care what Fort Lauderdale residents want unless you’re a developer, and thankfully it caught up with him this election. Bruce and the current Ft. Laud commission majority will go down as one of the most tone deaf commissions ever. Keep smiling at your photo ops, but know that a large majority of residents can’t wait til your gone. Unfortunately, McKinzie is still with us.

  14. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #13.Oh yes lucky 13.Think again.I have one issue coming.Give me a little more time.You will see these numbers flip very shortly in Bruce Roberts favor.

  15. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    When I followed instructions and contacted Mr. Roberts’s assistant, I was informed that Mr. Roberts would not discuss Marina Lofts with me (but he still, of course, voted on it). So much for respect. Galling that he now sends mail trashing another commissioner who at least listened to my concerns. (And note “autoreply” below going out six days after he writes that he will be back in the office. When contacted about that, again no response.)
    From: Bruce G. Roberts
    To: NICK SAK
    Sent: Sunday, August 18, 2013 1:20 PM
    Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: Question re Marina Lofts & Trucks

    I will be out of the office until Monday, 8/12/13. Please contact my assistant, Robbi, at 954-828-5033 or through email at The Commission is currently on recess.

  16. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    This election shall we call it the year we take down the diddlers,or should i say elected officals who stick up for them..Wait.Wait.Its coming…

  17. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The election shows PRIME VOTERS are OVERWHELMINGLY ANTI DEVELOPMENT in the Mayor’s n Commission 2 CD Races but not in
    CD IV and an unsettled question in I n III until we see outturns.
    BUT WHETHER NEW VOTERS or VOTERS WHO PASSED ON JANUARY WILL COME OUT IN MARCH means funerals for Roberts n Smith are premature.

  18. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    …. it will be interesting to see who Rodstrom endorses,or if she does.Play your cards wisely Charlotte…

  19. It's not complicated says:

    In terms of the final result in March, it doesn’t really matter who Charlotte endorses.

    Her voters go to Trantalis, or stay home. Neither scenario helps Roberts.

    But in terms of Charlotte staying relevant and strategic which is what she should focus on, the play is simple: endorse Trantalis early and take credit for his win (even though he will win regardless because his fundamentals are better in a runoff than the split primary, duh.)

    Coffee is for closers.

  20. Stormwatch says:

    I’d love to hop a Tri Rail train at noon in Delray, exit at Broward & 95 a half hour later, ride the Wave over to the Performing Arts Center or the IMAX Theatre, have a nice bite at Himmarshee Village or over on Las Olas, catch the Wave back to Tri-Rail, and be back home in jiffy. But, I guess that’s just me.


    Just so you know, less than 15 percent of Tri Rail expenses are covered by passenger revenue and the rest is forked over by the state (roughly half), counties and federal government. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties spent $104.1 million from 2004-2016 to support Tri Rail.

  21. More Info says:

    The Wave will not connect to Tri-Rail, so not clear what Stormwatch is talking about. Also, based on info presented at the county commission meeting of 1/23, rosiest predictions appear to be $1 fares, 3000 daily riders, approximately $12 million annual operating costs. It will cost the county about $10 for every rider, perhaps to be paid for by a new 1 cent sales tax, subject to voter approval. But that tax will also support a system beyond the Wave, which is supposed to be phase 1 of an expanded network of light rail, with similar operating subsidies.

  22. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1. Transportation is a PUBLIC SERVICE and therefore nearly always LOOSES MONEY.

    2. The WAVE opposition is political not financially or economically or technically based BUT THE BUSINESS, NO DEVELOPMENT, SUPPORTERS ARE SO ARROGANT THEY DONT THINK THEY NEED PUBLIC SUPPORT.



  23. Stormwatch says:

    Well, of course the Wave doesn’t connect with tri-rail.That would make too much sense. New York City’s subway has never turned a profit either. Is there any public transportation system that turns a profit? It pays for itself in other ways.