Fort Lauderdale's Municipal Primary Election is going down this Tuesday, February 10, which will have residents hitting up the polls to decide if they've had enough of Jack Seiler and want a fresh face representing them or if they're going to stick with the establishment and let it ride. It's a race that will be closely monitored thanks mostly to the City of Fort Lauderdale having had a rough patch recently with all the negative national press on the homeless feeding ordinance fiasco.
But there are also a couple of other races Fort Lauderdalians will be deciding on. Namely, District III Commissioner, which has three candidates battling it out for an open seat.
Here's a closer look at the candidates to help you figure which way you can vote.
Mayor (city wide):
First off, the obvious. Seiler is up for reelection and is being challenged by an old foe and a new face.
Chris Brennan: The 33-year-old former Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi worker who was fired for posting a YouTube video defending the quest to save a 100-year-old rain tree that was going to be removed to make way for the construction of a Marina Lofts condominium development.
Earl Rynerson: The former military vet and openly gay Republican has used his website to criticize Fort Lauderdale politicians and leaders. Most of those criticisms have been lobbed at Seiler, who he says lacks leadership and cares only for the white, straight, privileged in the city.
New Times interviewed all three candidates prior to Tuesday's vote.
City Commissioner District I
Bruce G. Roberts: Roberts, a Republican, is running unopposed for the District I seat, and is probably best known for being the deciding vote when City Commissioners voted to pass a resolution that endorsed marriage equality in Fort Lauderdale. Without Roberts' vote, the resolution would have failed to pass. And this, even while being Republican. The resolution passed 3-2, with Mayor Jack Seiler and Vice Mayor Romney Rogers opposed. Roberts, the former Fort Lauderdale police chief and officer, has been commissioner since 2009.
City Commissioner District III (open seat)
Donna Guthrie: A 17-year veteran in the financial industry, and president of the Melrose Park Homeowners Association, Guthrie says that economic development and crime reduction are at the top of the list for her tackle should she win election. Guthrie, who has lived in Fort Lauderdale for 20 years, says she also wants to make parks more vibrant and encourage civic engagement among residents.
"District 3 needs a person who is in touch with the people," she writes on her Facebook. "A person who listens to your concerns, attends your meetings and understands your issues."
Didier Ortiz: Ortiz is the young Green Party candidate who has been vocal about the city's homeless public feeding ordinance. Ortiz's two biggest platforms are raising the minimum wage, and a campaign he calls "Ban the Box.
With "Ban the Box," Ortiz would push to keep local companies from having a checkbox on their job applications that ask applicants if they'd ever been convicted of a felony.
Ortiz is also promising to push for the city to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour.
Robert L. McKinzie: McKinzie is the brother of former Supervisor of Elections, Miriam Oliphant (she was eventually suspended and removed from her position in 2003 by then-Governor Jeb Bush). McKinze, who was once the Campaign Director for the United Way of Broward County, was picked to serve out the remainder of former commissioner Bobby B. DuBose's term in November.
City Commissioner District IV
Romney Rogers: Rogers is Seiler's vice mayor, and was voted as Commissioner of Distric IV for a second three-year term back in 2012. This year, he's running unopposed.
A vote for City Commissioner in District II between and David Tabb incumbent Dean J. Trantalis will take place on March 10.
Polls will be open on Tuesday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
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