By Agrippina Fadel
Resident Horatio Bryan of Banyan Lakes plans to run against Marlon Bolton for the District 1 commissioner seat in the 2024 election.
If elected, he hopes to bring “ethical leadership and actual community engagement.”
“I would do my best to create and support the community, spread love and positivity, be ethical, and encourage people to be neighborly. We need each other,” said Bryan, adding that a good commissioner “listens to the people and their needs and works on their behalf.”
Bolton, who has been accused of taking out fraudulent PPP Loans, an SBA-backed loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis, was under investigation by the city for creating a hostile work environment. He is also known for bullying the mayor during meetings, creating a fake news site to target his adversaries, mocking his colleague’s wife, and flippantly announcing at a meeting he’s converting to Judaism, with no intentions of actually doing so.
Most recently, Bolton was responsible for a long-time city attorney and a special council quitting, firing a second attorney, then hiring the city attorney of his choice —with the support of new commissioners Morey Wright and Kicia Daniel.
Bryan is already causing a stir at the city commission meetings. On January 11, during the public comments, he wanted to “lighten the mood” with a joke and proceeded to tell a story of a pheasant who agreed to “eat cow dung” just so he could fly high. When the plan works, and the pheasant flies to the top of a tree, a farmer shoots it down.
Bryan took a long pause, looked in the direction of Bolton, and said, “the moral of the story is, sometimes BS can get you to the top, but it will never allow you to stay there.”
A few weeks earlier, at the December 14 meeting, Bryan was one of the Tamarac University graduates honored by the city commission — and the only one Bolton refused to shake hands with.
Jamaican-born IT professional Bryan has lived in Florida since he was a child and purchased a home in Tamarac in 2015. (Property records do not list Bolton owning a home in the city).
Bryan runs a computer repair and IT services company BryanReality. He’s 38 and has three children.
Until recently, Bryan worked as a community engagement liaison for commissioner Elvin Villalobos, who used to be his neighbor and the president of Banyan Lakes HOA. When Villalobos moved to District 3, Bryan briefly took over as HOA president, and the two stayed in touch.
Bryan became a community engagement liaison to follow his interest in politics and later enrolled in Tamarac University, hoping it would help him serve the commissioner’s constituents more effectively.
“Tamarac University was a fantastic experience. I appreciated a chance to see the inner workings of the city and its different departments and learn about community development and budgeting,” he said, adding that he wished the program was longer, as it really helps the residents understand how much work goes into “keeping the jewel of the city shining.”
Bryan said visiting Tamarac Fire Rescue was especially important to him.
“I was, unfortunately, a recipient of their good work. When my house caught on fire in March 2022, the Fire Rescue team arrived very quickly and was able to help the family. It meant the world to me to meet my heroes,” he explained.
Bryan decided to step down from the liaison position and seriously consider running for office last fall when the city commission was discussing the budget, with Bolton and former commissioner Mike Gelin forcing their colleagues to drop the millage rate.
As he watched Gelin and Bolton “play politics” with the millage rate just so that they could say, “we lowered taxes,” despite the pleas of the heads of the departments and financial professionals working for the city, Bryan thought, “I could sit there and complain, or I could step up and do something about it. So, I resigned and decided to step up and represent my people.”
The qualifying period for interested candidates is in June 2024.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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