District 2: Aronson knows her community the most
Five candidates with varying backgrounds and experience filed to run for the Broward County Commission District 2 spot in the Aug. 26 Democratic primary. No Republicans have filed to run for this seat, so the winner of the primary will be the district's next commissioner.
But, it's complicated. Because a write-in candidate filed to run in November's general election, the August primary was closed for Democrats only. Absent that write-in candidate, voters of any party would have been allowed to vote in the primary because they faced no choice in November.
However, a legal challenge revealed the write-in candidate failed to live in the district when he filed his papers, as required by law, so a judge quickly opened the primary to all voters. But Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said the ruling came too late to change the ballot, so she wants the contest decided in November, instead. An appeals judge will make the final ruling.
What a mess. It's unfair to the candidates and to the voters. But for now, the candidates' names remain on the primary ballots that Democratic voters will receive, though Snipes says the votes in this match-up won't be counted. We'll see.
In the meantime, since that the race remains on the August ballot for Democrats, we offer our assessment now.
All the candidates have their strengths, but the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board believes Lisa Aronson is best suited to replace outgoing commissioner Kristin Jacobs, who is term-limited and running for a seat in the Florida House.
Aronson, 57, is the mayor of Coconut Creek and has been on that city's commission since 2008. She is smart, hard-working and knows the district well. She is a leader in the Broward League of Cities, a member of the Broward County Planning Council and the Broward Water Resources Task Force. And she has served as executive director of two Broward County Charter Review Commissions.
Aronson would be a fresh, studious face on the commission, bringing years of experience from the public and private sectors.
"I've worked with elected officials in all cities," she points out. "I've been involved with higher education issues, worked with county government and at the municipal level. I've worked behind the scenes and on the front lines."
She's clear about where she would focus her attention. "Transportation is the first priority." Continued improvements also are needed at Port Everglades and the county's airports. She wants the county to finally synchronize the lights on major thoroughfares, plus improve mass transit. And she wants to attract sustainable industries, particularly light manufacturing, high tech development and more marine manufacturing and repair.
The other candidates are former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, attorney Mark Bogen, civil rights activist Terry Williams-Edden, and billing coordinator/home health aide Carmen Dixon Jones.
Rodstrom, 61, served three terms on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission and has worked with many county agencies. Like Aronson, she is a hard worker who understands the challenges and levers of local government. But unlike Aronson, she hasn't lived in the district, though she says she'll move from her Fort Lauderdale home if elected. (While state law says a write-in candidate must live in the district when they file to run, commissioners must live in the district at the time they are sworn into office.)
Bogen, 54, who moved from Palm Beach County to Pompano Beach in his run for the commission, has been an attorney for more than 30 years and represents many condominium and homeowner associations. He believes his experience working with contracts, vendors and other issues has prepared him for the county job. Economic development would be his first priority.
Williams-Edden, 48, considers herself an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised. Her top issue is the lack of good jobs.
Jones, who was not interviewed by the editorial board, has said that economic development, job creation and beach restoration are the most important issues.
Each candidate has something to offer, but Lisa Aronson best knows the district and has a track record of working well with others to get things done. Aronson deserves your vote.
District 4: Keechl's experience gives him the edge
A former Broward County commissioner seeking his old job back and a political newcomer are vying for the Democratic spot in the District 4 race.