Her High Hopes
On an ominous night in May, as thunder grumbled and growled outside, the Devil of Davie arrived wearing turquoise.
Into the council chambers she strode, plopping down third row from the back, in front of the rodeo posters and between the portraits of the bucking bulls, one with the cowboy holding on, the other with the cowboy tumbling off.
The Devil's name was Judy Stern, and in the room that night were those who believed she had been on top far too long, had finally been thrown from the backs of the people of Davie, and now should be trampled or at least run out of town. In Stern they saw a political gunfighter -- her soul in her cell phone -- the personification of evil: a lobbyist!
Thankfully, Goodness already appeared to have triumphed in the Town of Davie and now sat propped up by a pillow. From that height Councilwoman Judy Paul could better see and be seen, for to the rebels of the West she was the Hope of Davie's Past -- a schoolmarm on horseback -- surprise winner in the town elections in March. She would supply the crucial vote to preserve the open land, clean up town government -- and drive out the dreaded Stern.
Florida Launch vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks
TicketsSat., Jul. 15, 7:00pm
Florida Launch vs. Charlotte Hounds
TicketsSat., Jul. 22, 7:00pm
Intl. Champions Cup pres. by Heineken: Paris Saint-Germain v Juventus
TicketsWed., Jul. 26, 8:30pm
EL CLASICO MIAMI: Real Madrid CF v. FC Barcelona
TicketsSat., Jul. 29, 7:30pm
As ceiling fans above spread the gentle breeze of change, Paul made her first official statement of the evening, informing the council audience that she was immersing herself in town government by observing its employees in action, reporting, "Every child's dream: I got to ride on the fire truck."
In the analyses following the March 1998 elections, political writers viewed Davie as an example of the political upheaval taking place in Broward County as suburbanites moving into the western cities begin to demand more say in local government, begin to challenge the politicians and political hired guns whose power was tied to the heavily Democratic senior-citizen condo machines.
In Davie, first-time candidate Paul, age 58, a Broward school administrator with little initial backing, joined with another winning newcomer, lawyer Richard Weiner, to form a "reform" council coalition, promising to open up town decision-making, leading the Sun-Sentinel to proclaim, "Newcomers upset Davie status quo."
The status quo being upset included the influence of countywide lobbyist and campaign consultant Judy Stern, age 45, who had close political ties with incumbent Davie council members. After helping them win elections, she turned around and represented corporate clients who won council votes on such controversial issues as telephone towers, garbage collection, and ambulance service.
Because of this dual power role, the Weiner-Paul forces accused Stern of running Davie from behind the scenes, circulating campaign fliers portraying her as a puppet master pulling the strings of the council members. A month after its victory, the reform coalition proposed stringent new lobbyist-disclosure regulations aimed directly at limiting Stern's influence.
In this debate Stern symbolizes the long-time hold of the hired guns on Broward power, and Paul the heroine of the common people. The battle lines were drawn in separate New Times interviews.
Beneath an office picture of Stern chatting with President Clinton, the lobbyist dismissed talk of fundamental change with the philosophy of a pro: "Sometimes you just have to wait it out," she shrugged. Then, continuing, she said that Paul "lacks the vision to look at the whole picture of the community.... Davie can't stay the way it was 25 years ago.... Hopefully she will learn."
To Paul, the antilobbyist ordinance, to be discussed at a council workshop June 24, heralds the return of the real Davie. "The perception people had is that they lost control of their town," she explained in her new town hall office. "After the election people were so excited. They said, 'Thanks so much. The people have taken back their town.' I got tears in my eyes."
Asked about her relationship with Stern, Paul looked away, then softly said, "That's a touchy subject.... She can be intimidating."
Ah, the Devil of Davie and Goodness, dueling beneath the western sky.
When next observed, Goodness was mucking the horse stalls. "I call this 'Pauldarosa,'" the councilwoman laughed, hose in one hand, cordless phone in the other. As her appaloosas, Tanya Lee and the Lone Ranger, munched grass in the side yard, constituents called about a controversial horse trail. Spraying water as she talked, Paul explained, "I've gotten six calls in less than an hour. The big question is who owns the ten feet, the town or the homeowners."
On the following night, as 25 or so horses stood outside, more than 100 residents packed town hall to debate the trail, proposed for 142nd Avenue between Southwest 14th and 26th streets. Homeowners argued that in 1990 the town promised not to build a trail along the ten-foot easement behind their properties, that deeds showed they controlled the land. But trail supporters, some wearing yellow T-shirts with slogans like "Horses are just hikers with four feet," told of being forced to ride on roadways where delivery trucks spook their mounts. One of them lamented "with overwhelming sadness that Davie is becoming Tamarac."
As they listened council members sat before the carved wood of the town seal: a horse, an orange tree, and a Western building, accented by horseshoes. It is this culture of the West, a connection with the past, that distinguishes Davie -- a "town," not a city -- from the other municipalities of Broward County.
Speeding along I-595, it's difficult to comprehend how isolated Davie once was. The first permanent settlers didn't arrive until 1909, when Florida Gov. Napolean Bonaparte Broward began to drain the swamps. For most of the next decade, folks usually traveled east by canal boat, until a narrow rock road opened between Davie and Fort Lauderdale in 1917. By 1925 Davie still had only 2000 residents; it was a land of farms, citrus groves, and ranches. In the '30s, as horse professionals opened stables, Davie became a center for breeding and training thoroughbreds.
Preserving that open-space heritage, Davie restricts the zoning in many residential areas to one-acre lots. In 1989 the town's voters approved a $10 million bond issue to buy and preserve hammocks and ridge land, and to build a trail system linking the nature preserves.
In downtown Davie, town ordinances require that buildings feature Old West signs and architecture, and at council meetings they talk of the bull-riding events at the Bergeron rodeo grounds, of "preserving the dignity" of a two-lane road. Davie even has an official belt buckle, and long-time residents in the west refer to traveling to downtown Davie as going "back east," as though heading from California to New York.
Paul represents Old Davie, and it is threatened. Since 1990 the town has grown from 47,000 residents to more than 60,000 and is projected to jump another 10,000 by the year 2000. That growth is apparent in Paul's council District 4, south of I-595, from Flamingo Road west to I-75. Although drivers still see horses grazing behind country fences, even more evident are the frames of houses rising behind development walls. Along Flamingo Road flags announcing "New Homes" wave across the street from nurseries offering plant sales, and on Griffin Road, Burger Kings and Super Shells crawl toward the citrus groves.
On a secluded one-acre property off Southwest 145th Avenue, Paul has built behind her home an Old Davie retreat: roofed stalls, tack room, paddock, and riding ring, a retreat she shares with the two appaloosas, three dogs, and six cats. Her pride is Tanya Lee, who comes from foundation stock of the appaloosa breed and also has in her some thoroughbred; indeed, according to the genealogy Paul had traced, Tanya Lee was crossbred with one of the sires of the legendary race horse Man o' War, who died in 1947. On Paul's council office wall hangs a picture of Tanya Lee pulling a horse-show cart.
These horses are what brought Paul to Davie. Growing up in Teaneck, New Jersey, she started riding at age nine, and remembers, after her family moved into an apartment, trying to persuade her mother to let her keep a pony in the bathtub. When she visited relatives around Paramus there was a nearby stable presided over by a stable master who rode up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt, and who taught kids to hold tightly to the horse by having them put quarters between their legs and the horse. If the quarters dropped, the stable master kept them, and no more quarters meant no more riding.
"I use to beg my mother for quarters," Paul recalled. "She'd say, 'Four quarters and that's it. You'd better learn how to ride.' And I did."
In 1972 Paul moved from New Jersey to teach in Broward public schools and first lived in Pembroke Pines. Two years later she bought Tanya Lee and stabled her in Davie. She remembers seeing real cowboys work the ranches in far west Davie, then riding into downtown on a Friday night to drink and carouse at the Long Branch Bar. Back then she could ride Tanya Lee from Davie to Pembroke Pines. "If I tried that now," she says, "I'd get squished."
In 1980 she bought the Lone Ranger and kept him in the Davie stable as well. Over the years she got more and more involved in Davie horse issues and in the effort to save the town rodeo grounds. Finally she concluded: "I spent so much time in Davie. My horses lived here. I decided I wanted to have a say." In 1986 Paul bought her Davie acre and began to develop "Pauldarosa."
On weekdays she leaves Pauldarosa at about 6:30 a.m. for the 35-minute drive to Fort Lauderdale High School, where she coordinates the Pre-Law and Public Affairs Magnet Program. With more than 400 enrollees, the program is designed for students interested in legal, government, and law-enforcement careers.
In Davie, Paul's involvement with horse-related issues led to her appointment to the town's Open Space Advisory Board, the duties of which include the critical function of approving the location of horse trails. She was later appointed to the Charter Review Board, which was responsible for adding a charter clause to preserve Davie's rural character and equestrian lifestyle.
In late 1997, as the March council elections approached, Paul and friends talked about the effort to unseat Councilman Monroe Kiar, whose opponent was retired law professor Dean Alexander, a well-known candidate who had almost defeated Kiar in 1995. Although Paul had "tongue-in-cheek" conversations about a council run, neighborhood activists convinced her that by entering the race she risked splitting the anti-Kiar vote, which would permit him to be reelected. Then Kiar dropped out, so there was no incumbent. It was a wide-open race.
"I'm a great believer in fate," Paul said. "Things happen if they are meant to be. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. I just felt I should seize the opportunity."
Entering the District 4 race, she pledged "to serve all the people equally and fairly and to be a protector of all the reasons Davie is in our hearts."
In the beginning she printed campaign fliers using her home computer, raised about $400 from friends, and went door to door. "I felt embarrassed having to tout myself," she remembered. "But only one person slammed the door in my face." At first she even campaigned without one of the fundamental weapons of local politics: a list of registered voters. Why waste time with people who weren't registered? said the pros. But Paul felt differently.
"I basically went against all the recommendations. Everyone said, 'You're crazy.' But how can you walk down the street, see people working in their yards, and not stop and say 'hi' just because they're not on a list?" She figured that by talking to everyone she'd find residents who hadn't voted before but were attracted to her message of change.
Initially Paul was the "stealth" candidate, less well-known than Alexander or the third District 4 candidate John Pisula, an insurance reinspector being groomed by the county Republican Party for a long-term political future. An early voter survey by pollster Jim Kane -- a big-league county power close to Judy Stern -- showed Paul with little support. "They more or less discounted me," she said. "They left me alone. Early on it was a grassroots campaign. I was not getting any backing from big money, the major groups. I said, 'I don't ever want to be a politician.' I told my friends if they see me waving my arms up there on the council to give me a swift kick.
"Of course, there are certain things you do for survival purposes."
With that said, the conversation turned toward a less-inspiring subject: Was Judy Paul's election a victory for the common people or, like politicians everywhere, did she sell out to a special interest group -- in this case, Davie's powerful firefighters?
During the council campaign, the most volatile issue facing candidates was whether emergency medical service (EMS) should continue to be provided by a private company -- and Judy Stern client -- American Medical Response, which won a $684,000-a-year contract in 1996. Although the previous council argued that contracting with American Medical saved money, angry Davie firefighters have fought to regain control, and Weiner, the firefighters'-union lawyer, campaigned heavily in support of their position.
Early in the campaign Paul was noncommittal on the EMS issue. But in mid-February, she suddenly became a strong advocate for the firefighters' position, won the union's endorsement, and immediately received campaign help, including more than $1800 in firefighter-related contributions. Together Paul and Weiner campaigned on reform -- but with an organization dominated by firefighters.
"Their endorsement turned everything around for me," Paul said after her victory. "It's like getting an entire family behind me."
Around Davie the question was whether Paul was now in the pocket of the firefighters' union, and political cynics would have noted with glee that the bend-the-rules expediency common to Chicago City Hall, and the Broward County Commission, was alive and well at the May 6 Davie council meeting.
On that night the issue was whether to begin the process of returning EMS to the firefighters by letting them take over one of the town's three stations, the Flamingo Road facility in western Davie, on October 1. The takeover meant an extra unbudgeted five-month cost to the town of $192,000 to hire two paramedics and buy two used ambulances.
As firefighters looked on from the back of the council chambers, Paul and Weiner faced their first crisis: Whether to honor a campaign pledge to require competitive bidding on major contracts and purchases, such as spending $130,000 on two used ambulances. Buying the ambulances through the normal process would take several weeks -- too long, warned the ambulance representative, swearing they were "hot commodities" that would be lost to another buyer if Davie didn't act immediately.
Surely, good-government purists might expect, the new leaders of Davie -- mindful of their "competitive bid" position -- would wait, would explain to the firefighters that principle was more important than self-interest.
Oops. Suddenly the "reformers" discovered an "emergency."
Under Weiner's prodding the town attorney determined the ambulances could be purchased immediately if Town Administrator Robert F. Flatley declared an emergency affecting "life, health, property, or the public peace" -- a legal provision meant to be used during such crises as hurricanes, floods, and riots.
More mindful of election results than legalities, Flatley, although a former Catholic priest, displayed the integrity of a Brooklyn precinct captain, decreeing, "For the sake of 'public peace' I think we could declare an 'emergency.'"
After that, Weiner moved to waive competitive bidding, and reformer Paul, adopting of the age-old logic of political expediency, chimed in: "The fact that they're hot commodities, that satisfies the aspect of the bidding process."
All this brought objections of "being railroaded" from council member Kathy Cox, who won reelection with the campaign help of Stern. To Paul and Weiner, Cox declared, "I know the firefighters are anxious to take over stations, but I think you're rushing forward and bringing on a lot of costs.... We all know the firefighters helped get you elected. I consider firefighters a special-interest group."
As Cox defended the existing ambulance contract, Stern, attired in blue jacket and turquoise blouse, while not exactly pulling puppet strings, nodded her head in vigorous approval. Behind her the firefighters chorus on the back row cheered on Paul, who, holding up a copy of the town's contract with American Medical, responded to Cox by saying, "It says the firefighters could take over the stations when ready."
"Give it to her, Judy," sang the firefighters. "Give it to her."
In an office interview several weeks later, Paul was asked about her sudden campaign tilt toward the firefighters and acknowledged, "A lot of my detractors thought that was a last-minute thing that happened."
By then a visitor had noted that on Paul's council desk stood a model of an old horse-drawn fire engine, and on the wall hung a large painting of nineteenth-century firefighters battling a barn fire by drawing water from a pond, as the fire horses watch. Was this a blatant attempt to curry favor with both the horse people and the firefighters?
Pointing to another portrait, a commanding presence in a turn-of-the-century firefighter's uniform, Paul said it was her grandfather, Chief Charles Weinberg, who started the fire department in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. "I've always been around firefighters," she announced. She remembered that, as a girl in Teaneck, she'd watch firefighters stand on the corner and raise money for the Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy telethon. One year she got her own bucket, collected $32, and, with pride, handed it over to the firefighters.
"People have always trusted firefighters," Paul said. "They're our lifeline. They save us if our house catches fire or we have a heart attack. They help a child stung by a bee, a cat caught in a tree. Ooh, I made a poem." Given this background her support of the firefighters' EMS takeover was natural, she said. "When there's a safety and fire threat, the public needs to be in control, so the government can be accountable."
Why then did it take her so long during the campaign to back the firefighters?
"I started out with fluff," she confessed, with her first fliers addressing nothing more than what a nice person she was. "I was told by certain persons to stay away from EMS.... But I took notes as I walked door to door, and that's what people were talking to me about. I decided if I'm the candidate of the people I have to address the issues they're concerned about."
Those who favor Davie firefighters handling EMS argue that the firefighters are closer to the people of the town, care more about them, so will be more responsive in an emergency. They're also more accountable to the public than a private contractor. In mid-February, in an article in Davie's weekly paper, the Community News, Paul took this position and came out in support of the firefighters. She later commented, "I was moving into the fray as far as EMS was concerned." The article spurred in-depth discussions with the firefighters, who then offered their campaign support.
From that article also rose the "Judy Stern issue."
Prior to the campaign, Paul and Stern had a "professional relationship" built around the Fort Lauderdale High public-affairs program. As Paul remembers it, about two years ago she met Stern, talked about lobbying, and asked Stern to address her class because "I never had a lobbyist speak to the kids before." After the talk Stern joined the magnet program's adult advisory board, which mentors and helps find job opportunities. "She did nice things to help the kids," Paul said. "They got to meet influential people. I hoped to keep the school and the campaign separate. I don't agree with what she's done in the town, but she knows a lot of very important people."
According to Paul, everything changed during a showdown at Robbins Lodge, a park facility in western Davie. After the Community News article appeared, Paul said, she was working at the lodge on a charity ride-a-thon for the Davie Boys and Girls Club when Stern walked in and brought up Paul's criticism of her EMS client.
"She confronted me," Paul recalled. "She said, 'I take it very personally.' She is a very strong person. She can be intimidating."
This led to Paul's campaign crisis of the soul: "I wrestled with myself, whether to go full forward with the EMS issue. I didn't want to hurt the kids at school; that's my job, and Judy Stern is such a formidable person."
Paul claimed that, because of the stress caused by the Stern incident, and because she wasn't sleeping or eating properly during the campaign, she started to have heart palpitations. So she checked herself into Memorial Hospital for four days, then rested for another week at home as she contemplated abandoning her campaign or at least scaling back. Instead, "I decided if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it the right way. I didn't like sitting on the fence. What I don't like about politicians is they never give you a straight answer."
She returned to walking the neighborhoods, as a result losing 34 pounds, and expressed total support for the firefighters. Stern meanwhile left the school advisory board, saying, according to Paul, that she was too busy with other things.
On March 10, Paul won the District 4 election by 74 votes, took her council seat, and immediately discovered her legs were too short to reach the floor. She now rests her feet on a stool and props a pillow behind her back to keep from sinking into the big council chair.
Despite her victory the Stern wars continue: Following an EMS workshop, Stern filed a public-records request demanding Paul's private notes, and at the new council's goals-setting workshop a big sign announced, "Lunch compliments of Judy Stern Consulting."
"I didn't eat her sandwiches," Paul defiantly proclaimed, "but it indicates that Judy Stern still has control over individuals at town hall."
The nefarious sandwich strategy! Clearly it was time to give the devil her due.
Command center for Stern's evil empire turned out to be a windowless room in an office suite shared with a real estate firm along a strip of warehouses and auto repair shops in eastern Davie, near the cluttered intersection of State Road 441 and Griffin Road.
Understatement not being a Stern trademark, the office decor included, in addition to a photo of her conversing with President Clinton, a framed Miami Herald story with the headline, "When Judy Stern phones, politicians take her calls." But the best indicator of Stern's status in Broward County politics was a photo featuring super power broker Hamilton Foreman, for decades a dispenser of campaign megamoney and influence. In the photograph he's smiling and has his arm around Stern, a sign that even if she is driven from Davie, she probably won't lack for clients.
When a visitor arrived, Stern was talking with a slightly lesser power, the mayor of Davie.
"Say hello to Harry," she chirped toward the speaker phone, which sat next to the picture of her with Al Gore.
"Hello, Mayor," the visitor said.
"My office is making me sick!" boomed Harry Venis, whose voice then started to crackle and fade.
For once ignoring her, the mayor continued: He'd had respiratory problems, traced the cause to "sick building syndrome" in his town hall office, where he'd ordered the ceiling tiles replaced after discovering the town had been restaining old ceiling tiles, storing them and using them again and again. Stern commented: "That's Old Davie for you."
In the Stable of Fame of Davie politics, Stern and Venis share a saddle for the campaign of 1997, when Venis, then a councilman, won the first direct mayoral election in Davie history with Stern as his campaign manager.
Among the campaign hurdles they jumped were revelations that in June 1996 Venis, an accountant and professional wrestler whose nicknames include "Dirty Harry," had been caught by police leaving a Dania massage parlor. After initially claiming that he only had been getting a massage, Venis later admitted in a sworn statement that several times he had visited a prostitute there for sex.
In what became known as Davie's version of the "Bill Clinton strategy," Venis apologized, said he and his wife had worked things out, that he loved his family, and that his town council record spoke louder than his police statement. This strategy was aided by having a weak opponent, Paula Twitty, owner of a medical-equipment business, who was fined $130,000 by Medicare for audit irregularities. Politics in Davie being subtle as a branding iron, that discovery resulted in a Venis-Stern campaign flier depicting Twitty's face behind jail bars.
In the recent council campaign, Stern helped the losing incumbent Terry Santini, remembering, "The firefighters came out in cars following us around, snapping pictures. It was just typical immature behavior."
According to Stern's analysis, the Davie results represent less a return of power to the people than the effectiveness of targeted special-interest politics. Rattling off the variety of unions represented by Councilman Weiner's Miami law firm, Stern said the Weiner-Paul forces engineered special campaign mailings to union members. "I've used that strategy in Pembroke Pines, going after the special-interest group, reminding them, 'Hey guys, this is one of our own.'"
Noting that only about 4300 of Davie's more than 33,000 registered voters bothered to go to the polls, Stern said: "I think it shows that people are basically content with their lifestyles here.... But you have to look forward and build your economic base, because the taxpayers don't want to support the entire community, the level of service they want. Homeowners aren't going to want to pay for it."
Stern also worries Davie is not taking advantage of being home to the South Florida Educational Center, a 650-acre complex that includes the campuses of Nova Southeastern University and Broward Community College, and branches of the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Florida International University.
Said Stern: "You have one of the largest educational sections in South Florida, and it's not being promoted properly on the town's behalf. You have to start creating some business incentives to get corporate headquarters here and tying in the educational complex so you can attract the medical community, research community, pharmaceutical companies.
"If you don't provide those incentives, business is not going to come here. We may have the last land in the county.... You can't stop development. The best thing is to negotiate that development so you don't look like Pembroke Pines or Miramar."
Of the criticisms of her power in Davie, Stern sees it as a "healthy community partnership" between business and government. "I don't think I'm an evil lobbyist. Have I pissed off some people? Absolutely. What can I say. I'm sorry if I've been successful on some issues that people haven't been in favor of. Do I control a vote? No. Do I get the respect of at least having my issue listened to, and have the ear of someone and being listened to? Yes."
Finally Stern was asked about her "confrontation" with Judy Paul, during which, according to a postelection Sun-Sentinel article, she "threatened" Paul and "warned that Paul's political career was over because she dared to challenge the lobbyist's power."
"That was the most insulting statement," Stern exploded. "It never happened. I don't know where it came from.... What I did say to her was I asked her before she makes any decision to at least take the time and go out and visit American Medical Response to see for herself, instead of just having one side of the issue."
While Paul denies she ever said Stern "threatened" her, she's never publicly refuted the newspaper account, leading Stern to insist, "That one I took as a very personal attack. She owes me an apology."
With that the Devil of Davie offered one final statement for the reformers and reporters seeking signs of political change in the attempts to limit her influence: "The real power is doing the same thing, and no one ever sees you."
On June 24 Davie council members and residents will discuss stringent new lobbying restrictions aimed at forcing public disclosure of Stern's role in the town. In a draft of the proposed ordinance, the preamble reads like Davie's version of the Declaration of Independence: "Whereas... open and responsible operation of municipal government requires that the fullest opportunity be afforded to petition and freely express to their elected and appointed officials their opinions on legislation.... Whereas, in order to preserve and maintain the integrity of the governmental decision-making process, it is necessary that the identity and activities of certain persons who engage in efforts to influence Councilmembers... be publicly and regularly disclosed."
The ordinance requires disclosure not only of the legislation the lobbyist "seeks to influence" but also of "any business, professional or familial relationship" the lobbyist has with council members, appointed officials, or town employees. That would include disclosing any campaign consulting fees paid to the lobbyist by council members.
To residents pushing reform, the lobbyist legislation is an attempt to tell Stern her days of control are over. Among those active in the effort is Daniel Barr, an 18-year resident who first got involved in town politics over the location of a horse trail behind his house, then helped organize a group called United Neighbors of Davie to focus on broader issues, such as the garbage-collection contract, EMS, campaign money -- and Judy Stern.
"When you start drawing links on all these issues, every time we turned around, she just kept popping up," said Barr, an accounting consultant. "We said, 'Wait a minute, who's running this town?'"
From four initial members, United Neighbors has grown to more than thirty, Barr says. During the council campaign, the group organized phone banks to call voters, bringing together volunteers from all sections of Davie interested in diverse issues but linked by a general dissatisfaction with town government.
Said Barr: "A lot of factions came together with a common theme that, 'Hey, nobody's paying attention to us, they're not listening to us,' that there was a certain aura of arrogance about the council, that special interests, the developers and the lobbyists, were getting the ear of the council and the general public was not."
With Weiner's and Paul's council victories, Barr sees the beginning of a process that will bring more public involvement. "The good-old-boy network I don't think is going to fly any more here in Davie," he said. "There are young, upcoming professionals moving in. They're new residents, so it takes them a couple of years to get acclimated, but they're looking around and seeing what's going on. I think there's going to be a change. People are already sitting up and taking a little bit of notice, and we're going to keep the pressure on."
Like many Davie residents, Barr was surprised at Judy Paul's victory. "Ms. Paul, quite frankly, we didn't think she was a very viable candidate," he explained. "She was relatively unknown."
So why does he think she won?
"Strictly on her position on EMS," he said. "Those firefighters put a lot of time and energy into that campaign, and they really carried her.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Find out about upcoming events and special offers happening in South Florida.