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South Hollywood Floods Have Neighborhood Activist Plotting Regime Change

There were puddles all over Broward County on Monday, thanks to the steady rain over the weekend, but in Hollywood, there were lakes, as you can see in the video above.

The worst of it is in South Hollywood, where activists have long complained about poor drainage, among other infrastructure problems.

The same areas that flooded during last December's deluge were flooded again. Plunkett and 26th Avenue South was under water again, stranding a disabled man who lives at that intersection. And there was a moat around Colbert Elementary.

"You see cars with water up to their doors -- almost to the windows," says activist Andre Brown. But he's most worried about the flooding at Colbert, where children have had to wade through dirty water or leave the sidewalk to avoid getting wet.

In addition to the flooding, Brown says that South Hollywood has poor lighting, a shortage of sidewalks, and too few parks. Lincoln Park, for instance, was snatched away from the community after the city teamed up with the Broward County School Board in a deal to construct a new Montessori school, where many of the region's most powerful political figures are sending their kids.

By Brown's reckoning, these are exactly the kinds of public investments that ought to have been part of the Obama stimulus package. "What happened to federal dollars that were supposed to fix this community?" he asks. "In my opinion, somebody has misused federal dollars for this not to be fixed up."

At the very least, Brown believes that his neighborhood has been ill-served by Commissioner Beam Furr. "We shouldn't have to beg to have the community fixed up," says Brown. "It looks good in Young Circle. Our neighborhood is just south of downtown -- so why is it in horrible condition? It's a lack of leadership."

So Brown's aiming to change that leadership, saying he's "thinking" about running against Furr. Brown ran briefly in 2008. "This time if I run, I'm putting my hat in the ring for good," he says. "People need someone who's going to stand up for them in the community. It's time for change in District II."

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Thomas Francis

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