Six candidates are running to be the next commissioner in Tamarac’s District 3 which includes the Westwood communities and Kings Point. I’ve had a chance to assess four of them from personal contact and/or observation and a partial review of their history and this is my assessment and opinion of the four as well as my recommendation thus far on who should be our next representative. Please note: I have not met or observed candidates Joe Scimeca or James Franko, and am unfamiliar with their records, which is why they are not included.
Terri Andretta, has been a resident of Kings Point since 2011. She highlights as her qualifications to serve as commissioner of District 3 her membership on her condo board as its secretary, her participation in the Broward Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Observer Patrol (COP) as a driver, and membership in the Kings Point City of Hope Club as its vice president. She also participated in Kings Point’s struggle to avert a charter school being built upon the Sports complex adjacent to Kings point. She hasn’t presented any other history of community or public service, or any professional work history beyond sales for a health and beauty company. It doesn’t appear she would command a presence on the commission, nor possesses the leadership skills to represent her community and the district. According to her Sun Sentinel profile she received a bachelors degree from Florida International University in 1998.
Melvin Dubin offers in his qualification profile two years of military service wth an honorary discharge and 30 years as a licensed insurance agent in the State of Florida. He has lived in Tamarac and Kings Point for four years, however, does not report any professional work history of public service. He advocates for transparency between the city and its constituents and reports he participated at local rallies to avert the Sports Complex location of the Doral Charter School. He has indicated in his campaign ad that he has been a volunteer for the National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare.
It’s predicted that he would not be a proficient team member on the commission where clear communication and focused listening skills are necessary, and he has been observed to lack the proper temperament. According to his Sun Sentinel profile, he is a high school graduate.
Julie Fishman possesses an associates degree from Miami Dade college, but thus far has not presented a clear professional work history or any leadership career path on her own beyond volunteer work and as aide to some elected officials, and associations with others. It’s unclear what her training was, or what her professional skills are – or for how long she has been a Tamarac district 3 resident.
Of most concern and suspicion was Fishman’s lack of any participation in last year’s charter school controversy which would have been a strong indicator of compassion for District 3 residents’ affairs and quality of life. But she never spoke up. She knew she was going to run for that seat, yet still didn’t indulge the community’s concerns despite the public knowledge and passion displayed by Kings Point and District 3 residents and families. We can assume she was aware families were worried they might lose much of the sports complex and that the charter school’s proposed location would be upon that property and in their midst, yet stood by silently. This appears to be a major character flaw and a disqualifier, for which she has not addressed. One wonders whether she would be an assertive supporter for her district’s residents in the future should this – or similar issues arise where she might be required to be an independent thinker.
Gerald Heller of Kings Point stands out as the best candidate for city commissioner District 3. He is highly motivated, and possesses the commitment and dedication to serve his community well. Heller demonstrates an honest desire and ability to work well with his colleagues on the commission and with city staff, while also possessing the communication skills to go along with it. He is an extremely likable, affable gentleman, has a serene yet balanced dynamic temperament, with a kindness and caring that is apparent almost immediately. His concern for his local community District 3 during the 2015 Doral Charter School controversy was heroic, participating regularly as a calm intelligent activist leader throughout endless Kings Point and District 3 meetings with his neighbors, and the city. This is just one example of his extensive history of community service and leadership.
Furthermore, Heller is very capable of developing and presenting new ideas to the city commission, staff and city manager in the area of business for one, and is an equally proficient listener. His presence on the commission seems likely to facilitate the ability of all the commissioners as a group to bring out the best in each other during meetings and workshops. His experience as a successful lifetime businessman and a Broward Commission appointee/adviser to business committees signifies he will be a welcome competent addition to the Tamarac Commission. He is a graduate of CW Post college, having earned a bachelors degree.
Unfortunately at press time I have not had a chance to meet candidates Joe Scimeca and James Franko.
My recommendation at this time is for Gerald Heller.