Are You Smart Enough to Be a City Commissioner? Take the Test

Uncle-Sam-Tamarac

By: Sharon Aron Baron

Answer the following:

1. Can you read this? fi yuo cna raed tihs tehn yuo aer porbably samrt eoungh ot bcemoe a  Tmaaarc Ctiy Cmmoiissenr
2.  What is 2+2
3.  Should a red light camera be placed in front of a hospital emergency room entrance?
4.  If a land developer, charter school company, person, business, anyone, gives you money for a new car what do you do?
5. What public schools are in my boundaries?
6. Is Tamarac University a real University?

Answers after article.

Why Your City Needs You

In 2016, the City of Tamarac will have two seats for City Commission on the ballot and if you are a civic-minded resident that has an interest in our local government, consider throwing your hat into the ring. And don’t think that you need to be someone who has a higher education to run for office in this City. Although it will put you ahead of  many current commissioners, it won’t make you a better people person.

Currently, we have a former telecommunications employee for a department store – which now says on the City’s website that she was a former “Director” of Telecommunications, as well a couple of commissioners with office experience along with big titles sitting on boards.

Our current mayor has a respectable background for someone in his position:  A great educational background from universities every parent would love to send their child to, and his experience in finance and public policy and employee pensions are invaluable when information is presented by the Finance Director on the budget, pensions, purchasing and contracts. Not great in the people area, but you can’t have it all.  And if you aren’t the whole package don’t fret.

Although the election is over a year away, this is the time to start planning now for a run because it takes money. Lot’s of money.  There is fundraising to do and things have to be done strictly by the book or you’ll find yourself with an election complaint and potential fine.

Are you a good communicator?  

I’m almost certain that none of our current commission members share a monthly email bulletin to residents in their districts with updates.

Are they doing anything?  Just exactly what do they do all week long?

Once while recalling a past commissioner, we asked for their calendar through a public records request.  The commissioner was extremely upset about this as if their calendar was private information.  We found exactly what we were looking for:  literally white space.  Lot’s of it.  We suspect now that her biggest fear was being found out that she truly didn’t have much going on in the course of those 90 days.

Sadly, none of our commission members are social-media savvy and find it difficult to communicate on Facebook and Twitter with their constituents. They need to get used to these things because these are now the new normal.  Unlike in Coral Springs where the City Commissioners routinely post photos and updates and share news about the events they attend. Commissioners like Dan Daley, Larry Vignola and Joy Carter routinely banter with their friends and followers online and welcome exchanges.  Even Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan is online posting away, and you can’t keep Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Angelo Castillo off of political and social debates on Facebook. He loves them. And there’s no moderating Margate City Commissioner Le Peerman: she will say what’s on her mind and people respect her for it.  She pulls no punches and isn’t pretentious in the least.  Residents learn more about the representatives and the Cities they represent, and whether they agree or disagree, the fact is, people enjoy that elected officials are accessible.

Not so in Tamarac where in the social media world you can almost hear crickets chirping except for one brief period in 2014 when Harry Dressler and Michelle Gomez had Facebook pages. Sadly, they weren’t even run by them. They were just up for the election and then disappeared after they were reelected. Both of them could have kept them going and engaged their constituents but it was like they didn’t care after the election. Harry Dressler’s page is now gone and Michelle Gomez last posted a Snoopy card on Valentine’s Day, before that, on New Year’s Day, then back on Christmas.  Real engaging. It was also during this time that Gomez held  the “Coffee with the Commissioner” events every few weeks but those too were short-lived, because after she was reelected, they disappeared too.

Maybe our next commissioners that get elected will become more socially savvy and accessible to their constituents.

Ca-Ching!

Now here’s the bonus for applying: Tamarac pays City Commissioners generously for this part-time position, but of course, who do you think votes for their salaries?  They do!  This is why it would be a shame to see someone pass this opportunity because they were worried about lost income from their first jobs. In 2014, a City Commissioner in Tamarac made $29,000 a year, plus they received hefty $700 a month car allowance, plus a host of other benefits as well.  You’ll have it made!

District One

Currently, Pam Bushnell has served in District One since 2008 after Commissioner Marc Sultanof was termed out.  Tamarac Talk thinks it’s time for someone else to to step in this area that runs east of Rock Island on Commercial Boulevard to NW 16th Ave.

Bushnell typically votes along with the mayor, doesn’t bring new ideas to the table, and recently voted to abolish Tamarac’s first ever safe neighborhood district without once attending a meeting of that district which was created in 2010.  No other district in the State has been abolished by a City. I mean, who does this?  Was it too much trouble for her to “run” this from the dais?

While she’s doing a respectable job for her district, it’s time for someone with more experience and passion that can move the eastern portion of Tamarac forward as well as beautify that area.

District Three

Percy Johnson who is employed by Glasser was arrested in 2012 on a single count of Grand Theft, a third degree felony and now serves on the Parks Committee

Percy Johnson who is employed by Glasser was arrested in 2012 on a single count of Grand Theft, a third degree felony and now serves on the Parks and Rec Advisory Board

Diane Glasser will be stepping down in 2016 and it’s time. Back in 2012 at former City Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad’s trial for corruption she testified she had long term memory problems. 

What?  How long had she known this?  Obviously a few years which shows that having long-term memory is not a prerequisite for being a City Commissioner in Tamarac.  You just need short-term memory to remember to show up.  Thankfully she doesn’t have a long-term memory, because as the Democratic State Committeewoman, she would have been shocked to find out that she was employing someone who was arrested for stealing funds  from the very own Democrats that she served and continues to do so today.  

District three isn’t all just Kings Point, there are parts of Westwood and other communities, but whoever wins over Kings Point residents is going to be the victor.  And whoever runs and gives these residents their word that they will vote no to the Doral Academy Preparatory School at the Sports Complex will have their ear. 

Just last month, without so much as doing any research, Glasser recently voted to abolish Tamarac’s first ever safe neighborhood district. No other district in the State has been abolished by a City.

Are You Smart Enough?

If you are interested in running for City Commission you must live in the district you are running in. Next, you will need to find a campaign treasurer open a campaign account. Contact City Clerk Pat.Teufel@tamarac.org for more information.

Residents deserve a choice in selecting their elected officials. When no one files and runs against the current commissioners, residents do not get that choice.

Answer key:

1. If you can read this then you are smart enough to become a Tamarac City Commissioner
2. 4
3. Yes!  
4. Say no and run to safety’
5.  Tamarac commissioners think that if you live in Tamarac you attend Tamarac schools!  But that’s OK if you don’t know it because schools aren’t a big deal here.
6.  Yes! Tamarac U is a real University according to commissioners interviewing commission candidates for open seats. To someone with a high school education it’s a good judge of academic achievement.

If you received anyone of these correctly, wow!  You may have a future in politics!

 

 

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident’s a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That’s why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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