Hollywood Gazette recently asked the same 8 questions of each local candidate.  Their answers follow and have been edited for grammatical and spelling errors. They were each given an equal and limited amount of space to respond.  

 


Q&A Hollywood’s Mayoral Candidates

Patricia “Patty” Asseff

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

My priority is to establish a good working relationship with our Commissioners, City Manager and Assistant Managers, personal within the government, our Unions,civic leaders outside of government and the community. Building relationships with Homeowner’s Associations and listening to the people that have not had their opinion heard from, or responded to in the past. We are a great City and need to have everyone’s buy-in to understand their perspective and how we can work together to establish goals, objectives and formulate new initiatives that will result in creative measures with benchmarks that show results.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?

Experience as an elected

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 Commissioner for 8 years with internal problem solving that is invaluable. I am a true leader in every organization and committee that I have worked with in this Community, Broward County as well as the State of Florida. I am a firm believer in local government and have been involved in learning every day that I have served to bring best practices to our City with dedication, passion and Love of our Community.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As mayor, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

I am affirmative that no City Official or anyone else should enter a home without disclosing who they are and be transparent. This practice will not be allowed as it against our Constitutional Amendments and property rights. I believe in Code Enforcement and having permits for improvements but this is not the method I would ever approve.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

There has to be a long-term Coastal Flooding and Rising Tide plan in place for our City. We have implemented many processes as flood gates and flaps as well as pumps to decrease the water intrusion. This has been happening for years and will need Federal and State funds to raise the sea walls. I have been part of Seminars on Coastal flooding with 35 other Coastal Cities and their are many methods being discussed. We will need a comprehensive resiliency plan.

Recently Hollywood’s African American Advisory Council urged the Hollywood Commission to change three street names in Hollywood. How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

I will listen to all sides of this issue. I do not know how much this will cost as we do not have extra money at this time.

Pensions are significantly underfunded and the city manager has warned  “the city is at a pivotal crossroads in its life,” while balancing the FY 2017 budget.  What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

My position is that the 13th check when this was done, should have said “when the fund exceeds expectations that this check will be issued” they should have had 8% or over and the fund is solvent. We are only one of 4 cities in this State that even considered this 13th check.

The CRA district was established in 1997.   What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The CRAs are very important to this City as it gives our City [the opportunity] to improve areas that have been depressed through neglect and slum and blight. This is money that we would be giving to Broward County and the other taxing authorities, we are able to keep these funds to re-establish and restore these areas to bring up the tax base for the future benefit of our City. We do not have these dollars to make any improvements in these areas without these CRAs.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

I think my vote is private.


Josh Levy

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

Cities have many responsibilities and they are all priorities for me. Providing for top-quality public safety, clean drinking water, well maintained infrastructure including roads, sidewalks and alleys, safe neighborhoods, responsible financial stewardship, running a transparent government that implements policy decisions that are representative of the values of our constituents. These are all priorities of mine. In Fiscal Year 2016, however, Hollywood faced a $24M budget shortfall, and while a city as large as Hollywood should be on better financial footing, we are held back by a systemic budget imbalance caused by the growth of operating expenses annually outpacing the growth in our revenues. So my first priority will be to get the city’s financial health in better shape without burdening our residents with higher taxes or fees.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents? 
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Compared to my opponents, I am a better choice for Mayor because my candidacy offers to the voters a mayor who is best suited to take action and get things done. I offer voters the resourcefulness and urgency of a businessperson; the skill and know-how of an attorney; the local knowledge of a lifelong Hollywood resident who has served 12 years on our city’s Planning & Zoning Board; and the dedication to public service shown by my 12 years of civic leadership in our community. I understand the issues that our city faces. I will be a mayor who gets things done. I will represent and act on the needs and desires of our residents. I will not be controlled by the special interests. I will protect our green spaces and beach from overdevelopment. I want to ensure that our city flourishes and I will work hard everyday to accomplish our goals.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

City employees should always act ethically and be forthcoming with our residents and property owners. The practice that this question inquires about has been stopped, so we can move forward from this issue. That said, it is always necessary, over the course of the years, to remind employees of the expectation of what defines appropriate conduct in the course of city business. Ethics and customer service training should be always be ongoing with our valued city employees.

What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

Coastal flooding is a very serious issue in east Hollywood and we need take measures to protect us from saltwater flooding. We need to prepare an adaptation plan and invest in protective infrastructure. In our coastal high-hazard areas we will need to build berms and raise sea walls. We will need to install additional flap gates and pumps to prevent saltwater from making its way to the surface through our storm water system. And that’s just the start…

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

Imagine that 100 years from now, your great-grandchildren discovered that 3 streets in their city were named after the 9/11 terrorists who murdered 3,000 people on 9/11 for ideological purposes. Would you find it morally appropriate for your great-grandchildren to make their city government aware of this and demand that the 3 terrorist street names be changed? That is what members of our community (someone’s present day great-grandchildren) are asking us to do today. Let’s do the right thing.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

Pension and healthcare plans make up the largest expenses of our city’s General Fund. For the protection of the city’s financial well-being and for the protection of the city’s employees and retirees – whose livelihood is reliant upon the city’s financial solvency, our city’s pension and employee/retiree healthcare plans must be made more sustainable. We have to form a task force of all interested parties to set forth cost saving strategies and solutions to ensure the city’s ability to fund and sustain the benefits that we have committed to our employees and retirees. The recent “13th check” disbursement is in litigation and the courts will decide whether the disbursement was legal. Even if found legal, the disbursement, in my view, was unwise, given how severely underfunded the pension plans are. In order for the pension investments to grow, the funds should have been left invested. If the well dries up, we all lose.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The city’s two CRA’s (downtown and the beach) enable our city to keep the county’s portion of the property taxes that are generated in those areas, so long as the city reinvests those tax dollars back into the improvement of those areas of the city. In the case of the Hollywood Beach CRA, the CRA designation gives to us $12M that would otherwise go to the county. We would be foolish to consider giving up that money given the county is agreeable to us using the money in other parts of the city.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton


Sen. Eleanor Sobel

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

As the newly elected Mayor, my first priority would be to evaluate our fiscal accountability and transparency by looking into our budget. My Senate audit of Hollywood resulted in Hollywood doing a better job with its finances, especially with its improved bond rating. I would address environmental issues and hold a “Hollywood Drinking Water Summit” to examine the contents and supply of our drinking water. We must also examine sea level rising, our infrastructure and salt-water intrusion. We must enforce community policing in our neighborhoods. I would also make sure that we had up to date fire equipment. I would survey our high schools to see if they reflect the needs of our community. I would encourage the re-vitalization of our neighborhoods through improving housing stock, re-opening substations, and implementing more community events.

What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
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No other candidate comes close to me in policy and leadership experience, whether it was fighting for our seniors or working on behalf of children; I have a proven track record of success. I have brought millions of dollars to Hollywood for beach re-nourishment, the Holocaust Center, neighborhood lighting, parks, and transportation improvements including 441. I possess ethics, integrity, maturity and common sense and will bring numerous city interest groups together. I will be a full-time Mayor who will be the best ambassador for Hollywood tourism.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

The people of Hollywood deserve to have an experienced leader who will end this kind of behavior. Just recently, leadership in Tallahassee chose to explore filing legislation based on one of my policy proposals to protect the property rights of homeowners. Under current law, local code inspectors are not required to reveal their true identity and may impersonate or enter a premise under false pretenses in order to gain access to a residential property. This is wrong and I will stop it.

What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

It is established science that our world continues to get warmer leading to rising seas. Hollywood is on the leading edge and we must do everything possible to fortify our city. Seawalls are important to protect well fields, stop salt-water intrusion, and improve our drainage system. All options would be brought forth such as drains, pipes, and valves. We should look to other governmental partners to help us with environmental water funding. I would also consider looking at our beach CRA to help…

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

I support changing the names of the three street names in Hollywood so they no longer reflect a KKK Grand Wizard or Confederate leaders. We don’t need to honor people who acted shamefully. When I was a Hollywood City Commissioner, I helped lead the fight to remove the Confederate flag from City Hall. Many of these streets that need renaming are not connected and this change would also add consistency to our map. We are not wiping the slate clean, but we should not honor those who promoted hatred.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

I would hope that a compromise could be reached with the 13th paycheck that litigation would stop and mediation would win. The 13th paycheck has been paid out 6 times in the last 20 years going to widows or widowers, which was the original intent when the ordinance passed when I was a city commissioner. When the guarantee on return was above 8% the 13th paycheck was issued. When it went below 8% no 13th check was issued. The state believes that when this ordinance was passed it was for many years and asks the city to pre-fund their contributions. In order to make the city whole the retirees who were promised this 13th check need to agree to a lower assumption rate of return like 6%. A vote of the retirees would need to take place. The money already given out in the last 20 years, 1.4 million, will not be given back because people have spent these funds.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

As a former Hollywood city commissioner who was responsible for the creation of the Beach CRA, I would never disband the Beach CRA or the downtown CRA. CRAs are a vital tool for municipal economic development. The incremental tax dollars that stay in the city are critically important. Once tax dollars go to the County, it is quite difficult to ever get the dollars back. Recently, a broader interpretation of the CRA has included public safety dollars that I whole-heartedly promoted back in 2012.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton


Q&A with Hollywood’s District 1 Candidates

Debra A. Case

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?
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My first priority would be to address our fiscal challenges through discussions with our pension partners. As we address the fiscal side of our problem, it is important to acknowledge that our employees deserve job security, be respectfully treated for their commitment to our city, and be rightfully provided for in their retirement. This is a task of high priority given the current financial condition of our city and our responsibility to our employees.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?

As a homeowner in Hollywood for the past sixteen years, I have dedicated a large part of my time to community service while owning and operating a successful business on the beach. During those years, I have worked closely with city government and with our community leaders from both the Lakes and the Beach who helped me to experience the concerns and aspirations of our entire district. Furthermore, as president of the Hollywood Beach Business Association since 2004, I am very proud of the degree to which, working closely with City Government and the CRA, we have eliminated nearly all the slum and blight that has plagued our beach for so many years. I am very prepared to carry forward that same effort and success to the entire district 1 and our One Hollywood.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

While I am a strong advocate for code enforcement, this sort of conduct is unacceptable. To prevent any repeat of such transgression, as commissioner I would work very closely with the various department heads to stay very informed of what is happening and what is being planned so I can have effective input into the final policy decisions.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

Flooding problems in district 1 would be one of my top priorities. This is a problem I have already been dealing with through the Hollywood Beach Business Association as well as my participation in the Sea Level Rise Action Committee. Some remediation measures are already underway and I would continue working with the city and community to advance the solutions. Seeking funding for seawall construction in many areas where they are nonexistent would be one of my focus areas.

Recently Hollywood’s African American Advisory Council urged the Hollywood Commission to change three street names in Hollywood. How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

While it is very understandable why there should be an objection to some of the names that our streets are named after, (and I personally share in that objection) this is a very complicated issue as well as costly process. As commissioner I would need to learn more about what this process would involve, as well as take into consideration the sentiments of the residents living on those streets who would be directly impacted by a name change before I make any decision.

Pensions are significantly underfunded and the city manager has warned  “the city is at a pivotal crossroads in its life,” while balancing the FY 2017 budget.  On years when the fund has done well, the surplus has been given away in a 13th check, further depleting the fund. What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

Regardless of how the 13th check came about and was adopted, one thing is very clear. Our city, under the best of circumstances, cannot afford to continue this practice. Hollywood has accrued more debt than all the 31 cities in Broward County combined. Hollywood is fighting for its life as a financially solvent city. No one is exempt from the sacrifices that must be made at these urgent times. In the interest of Hollywood’s future sustainability, I don’t see how the 13th check can possibly be preserved.

The CRA district was established in 1997.   What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

Its objective is to eliminate slum & blight as well as implement the infrastructure necessary for the optimal redevelopment of a defined boundary area. The CRA is more relevant than ever. It was precisely the accomplishments of the beach CRA that served as a catalyst for the construction of Margaritaville Hotel & other redevelopment projects. Completion of the rest of its planned infrastructure improvements will help sustain our beach into the future for the financial benefit of Hollywood.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton.


Victor P. DeBianchi, Jr.

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

1. QUALITY OF LIFE: Provide a safe, secure, healthy and happy environment for our families. Address the issues of climate change including King tides, rising sea level, local flooding and beach erosion. 2. ECONOMIC GROWTH: Improve the integrity of our City, enhancing the quality of education, creating jobs, creating new business while maintaining the existing businesses, through respect, caring, honesty and pride without discrimination to any individual or group. 3. TRANSPARENCY: My full commitment to listen to the issues of all we work with; the police, fire, city employees and business and civic leaders of our community and work together to progress and create a surplus in our budget.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
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As a lifelong resident of Hollywood since 1957 and having been educated here in the city, and currently working in District 1 for the past 37 years, I am the most qualified. I have an accounting degree, a Bachelor of Business and a law degree. I have been on the Board of Directors and served on various city and county boards and as Officer and President of various organizations including Kiwanis, Jaycees, Committee of 100 One Hundred Club of Broward, Hollywood Historical Society, Art and Culture Center and Past President of the Broward Bar Association.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

If I am elected I promise nothing less than honesty and integrity with full transparency. There will be no abuse of power or authority while I am an elected City Commissioner. This is my promise, my pledge and my committment.

What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

We need to review the plan to raise the seawalls by the minimum recommended increase and to also address the sewer system which also has various issues causing the flooding. This problem has been ongoing for decades and the the time is now to take the initiative to reparir and correct the same.

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

As as a lifelong resident of Hollywood I know these street names and the time for a change is now. We must proceed in accordance with caring and respect and not let the ties of hatred and discrimination bind us or hold us down. It will take a community to work together to change the names of these streets.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

I have been endorsed by and support the police, the firefighters, the city employees and the lifeguards. The pensions must be reviewed and a committee formed so together we can work together to make the correct decision for our employees and the residents of our City as a whole. We are currently operating on a deficit, my goal is to create new business and increase our tax base to eliminate this deficit and to create a surplus. I have met with the City Manager to discuss this issue and we will work together to resolve the same.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The CRA must be reviewed and revised. I am not in favor of abolishing the CRA but changes must be implemented. In no way should any of the CRA funds revert back to the County and stay outside our City. I have met with our CRA Director and together we will work to accomplish the right plan for the CRA and for our City. It does not seem fair that certain areas progress while others recede and together the correct plan for our District and our city must be established.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

In the United States our voting choices are private and therefore decline to answer this question.


Itzhack Feldman

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

KEEP TAXES DOWN and SERVICES UP! Everyone must live within a budget– especially our government. One little thing like an additional one percent sales tax for infrastructure, as well as a three-fourths-percent sales tax increase for transportation can change the whole dynamic of our city and county.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
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I respect all my opponents. As soon as I heard Patty Asseff was going to vacate her seat I ran to city hall and was the first to apply. I have changed my life so I can serve and give back to our community. I have established a facility for Active Older Adults (“AOA”). It was very challenging for two long years to get the city’s cooperation, especially The Department of Parks and Recreation (Director Chuck Ellis and Maria Little have to go!) But I did!!! I am the guy who will get what YOU want! When UBER pulled out from Broward county I got Commissioner Beam Furr to speak with Uber general manager Mr. Kasra and they worked out a deal because that was what the people wanted! Imaging the things I can do for you when I get elected…VOTE FELDMAN and you will see cuts in every department’s top management… no more screwing the little guys!

As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

Start a program or an app (ex. “Help me Hollywood”) allowing residents to rate and reward our city employees and departments (including HPD) with background information, consumer experience and interactions with up to 5 stars, just like Uber and Yelp.

What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?
Make sure our sea walls are in proper condition and check if any are too short. Most of the water is coming from the intracoastal. Old houses should be redesigned, roads raised, tidal lagoons and solar panels can be built to generate new sources of energy for futuristic floating cities that could save humanity and our area that is an aging coastal community.

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

When the residents of Hollywood believe they are being offended and agree that they prefer a difference, those wishes should be fulfilled.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

If the city is obligated by contract to give the 13th check then they must honor their contract. Sheriff Scott Israel and his opponent Santiago Vazquez both agree on this: Hollywood deserves a better Police and Fire Department. Bring Broward Sheriff Office to Hollywood ASAP!!! I do respect our men and women who serve us… all I want is for them to change their uniforms to BSO’s and make our neighborhoods safe and get the best services we can get from our county and from the state.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

If it is not broke, leave it alone! with some exeptions! Spending our money in rental properties while we own buildings all over the city that are neglected and unoccupied is totally unacceptable. Heads of departments will be accountable for mismanagement and wrong spendings. Jorge Camejo and Lisa Liotta have to go. As Commissioner Hernandez brought up, we lost our trust with City attorney Jeff Sheffel who got caught writing checks up to $50,000 for years without the approval of the commissioners!

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Other: Wazir Ishmael


Stacey Kotzen

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

My first priority as the newly elected District 1 City Commissioner will be to address parking issues on the barrier island. Due to a lack of parking on the beach, residents, employees and visitors are parking along the residential streets of the lakes area and walking across the Hollywood Boulevard bridge. This is causing parking issues for residents both on the beach and in the lakes not to mention creating an increased opportunity for criminal activity as many people are returning to their vehicles after dark. One solution is to increase the availability of public parking off the barrier island and provide additional public transportation options to bring beachgoers to the beach. Such offsite parking will assist in reducing traffic along the A1A corridor and provide a safer alternative to the current situation.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
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As a mother of two young children I intend to look out for the best interests of our residents over the long term. I recognize that the decisions we make as leaders have long lasting implications and we should do a better job of understanding how our decisions affect our residents not just for a few years into the future but over the next several decades. I have brought that dedication and long term vision to my positions as both President of the HOA for West Lake Village and as the PTSA President for the past 3 years at my children’s school. For example, West Lake Village consists of over 700 homes and has an operating budget in excess of $2 million. During my time as President of the HOA, I focused on accountability and transparency and our community has achieved unprecedented financial success.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

We need to provide our Code Enforcement Department with the tools and training it needs to ensure that our city structures are legally safe and sound. At the same time, we need to update and streamline our permit processing procedures to ease the burden on our residents. As a Commission, we need to work together to implement all of our priorities to ensure consistency among the entire Commission as well as City Staff. Strong leadership will ensure trust among residents and staff.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

As a member of the HCLA Sea Level Rise Committee, I understand how sea level rise is affecting our area. I feel that if we do not become proactive in our response to this issue, the cost of fixing the problem will only continue to grow. There is no doubt that we must invest in repairing and maintaining the seawalls. However, we must do so in a coordinated effort that includes other sea level rise mitigation initiatives and takes into consideration the environmental impact of any such plan.

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

I am proud to live in a community that celebrates and respects the diversity of its residents and I sympathize with the African American community and their feelings in connection with the reminder of these dark periods in American history. We should look into the request to change the names of such city streets, however, we should do so while taking into account how such changes would effect the residents living on those streets and the costs associated with making these changes.

Pensions are significantly underfunded and the city manager has warned “the city is at a pivotal crossroads in its life,” while balancing the FY 2017 budget. On years when the fund has done well, the surplus has been given away in a 13th check, further depleting the fund. What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

I believe in living up to the promises we as a city have made to our union members. However, we cannot allow this situation to continue to have a devastating effect on our ability to live up to the promises made to our residents to provide essential governmental services. In order to meet our current obligations our city spends nearly 40 cents of every general fund dollar on the pension program and associated health care coverage and this is only projected to increase in the future. Such spending levels are unsustainable. Leadership involves being able to work with others to find common ground solutions to difficult problems. As your next City Commissioner, I will work with union leadership to identify a path to financial sustainability.

The CRA district was established in 1997. What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The beach district CRA has been successful and continues to provide funding for many important capital improvement projects. As many of these have not yet been completed, I am in support of maintaining the CRA through its natural expiration in 2027. This is especially true in light of the budget shortfalls facing our city as the CRA provides the essential funding necessary to bring these projects to conclusion. Our beach and the tourism it brings is essential to the future of our great city.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton


Luis H. Prada

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

Flooding by Sea Level Rising, because it damages properties (houses, cars, utilities) + infrastructure (streets, green spaces). It affects the operation of small businesses by loss of revenue and tourist revenue. Without a permanent solution flooding will increase the city’s expenses for maintenance. For my proposed solutions see question 5.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
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Due to my background, which includes 44 years in the aviation industry – as pilot, flight instructor, FAA IA – and my experience as a CAM licensed Property Manager and re-elected President of the BOD of Trafalgar Towers II for the past 17 years, having initiated, negotiated and supervised the reconstruction of the seawall and the refurbishing of the whole building and the 40 year inspection at low cost, I feel better qualified and able to achieve problem solutions for District 1 and the City. Because I am not a lobbyist and don’t belong to any business organization I will act solely in the interest of the residents and work on solutions they benefit from.

As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

As Commissioner I will insist that the commission passes a resolution which bans all abuse of power by city employees including illegal undercover operations to detect code violations.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

The first step will be to install seawalls where there are none, like at the south-east corner of South Lake – approximated 600 lineal feet – which would prevent flooding in the whole area. Secondly, the seawalls in bad shape must be repaired by increasing the height of the cap. Third, we must implement a program for continuous inspection of the drainage flaps to ensure proper functioning. To help finance flood projects I will push for cooperation of Federal-, State-, County- and City agencies.

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

I sympathise with their feelings, however we cannot change history by eliminating names. We rather educate young people about the persons behind the street names. On a practical note: Changing street names causes high costs and time to the residents of those streets – change of driving license, IDs, property titles, etc. It also affects Federal-, State-, County- and City agencies, which would put an nunecessary strain on the budget.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

I am opposed to the 13th pension check.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

I want the CRA for Downtown and the CRA for the beach area to continue operating as they are.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Other. [Did not disclose]


Q&A with Hollywood’s District 2 Candidates

Tim Burton

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

To bring a sense of togetherness for a better Hollywood. why ? because i know we are stronger together than apart.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
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First of all, I am not in the race for personal gain. I have sense for fighting for the underdog and not just a selected few. My love for the city goes beyond the seat am seeking. I seek to bring solutions, not to divide our beautiful city. I am the person who can help unite our city while making tough and sensible financial and social decisions concerning all of Hollywood

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As mayor, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

As a Commissioner we should set policy and standards and when the line is crossed there could be a price to pay. Our residents deserve better and we should treat them better.

What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

We must learn to be an aggressive partner . Seawalls and coastal flooding is a regional problem and should be handle in all parts of government with us leading the way.

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

As a resident of Hollywood we should always seek to right a wrong where ever it’s found in our city. I strongly feel this is one of the those issues where we as Hollywood residents should speak with one voice and say to our city, our county, our state, and our nation that Hollywood will not fall into the trap of racial division and will lead the way in correcting this wrong within our city limits. Wrong can only be made right and right can never be wrong.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

Based on the limited knowledge of litigation I would let it run its course. However I think a promise made should be a promise kept. No matter how the outcome both sides should be able to talk about maybe some type of payment when things are going well.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The CRA must be looked at with some fresh eyes and ears. Hollywood is in a strategic place in development where te CRA can play huge role. However in its current state it is disfuctional.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton


Peter D. Hernandez

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

My first priority is crime/safety the residents must feel safe in their home/city, as a local government we must provide that level of service. My second priority is finding a balance for financial stability, 17 million dollars this year and 19 million next fiscal year are slated to go to the Beach CRA to provide incentives for development when the rest of the city suffers, that is not right.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
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I have and will continue to represent the residents best interest not the developers! I grew up in Hollywood, have a small business, past president of the Chamber as well as the Hollywood Rotary club and past chairman of the Planing and Development Board, so I know a thing or two about development and can help promote smart development not just development per say.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

The code department was inundated with complaints about illegal conversion city wide by house flippers, when people complain to code they must investigate the complaints in order to dismiss or substantiate the allegations, they ask our city attorney if they could pose as buyers on the house that had been complained up on and where for sale and advertise as open houses, and he said yes so they did. This was done without commissioners being aware of it. That practice has been discontinued.

What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

Discuss the issue with experts, and come up with a cost effective plan to implement. Look for grants from the federal government to help properly fund the solution. We know that climate change is real and that the sea level is rising

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

I support changing the name Forrest, I do not support changing Lee or Hood Streets.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

Being that this litigation is pending am not allowed to comment, however I have faith on our current administration to bring the cost under control through negotiations. We just voted to change health care administrator and expect a minimum of three million dollars in savings per year, also this year for the first time we started addressing our health care cost for new employees for when they retire, that move will help sustain and lower the cost for our health self insurance fund down the road. This needed to be done 15 years ago!

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The CRA is to fight slum and blight, the highest property tax generating area in the City should not be considered as slum or blighted. The Beach CRA in particular is starving the rest of the City from much needed infrastructure/capital needs, at the tune of $17 million dollars this year and $19 million next year, among others, our roads need resurfacing and the trees in the right of way need trimming in order for the street lights to shine through, and we don’t have the money. That’s just wrong!

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton


Maria Jackson

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

My first priority will be to the children. They have been affected by the recent actions of our Commission which included budget cuts of special events at the Parks and Recreation centers. That means less safe and supervised activity for our youth. I will look for ways to partner with community and business to reinstate those until the City funding is put back. And recently our Commissioner banned our children who had a first offense with a charge pending from participating in our community garden to get community service hours to clear their record. I will make sure their rights are restored since they are not convicted by any court and they deserve to be part of our community garden. I will Continue with Teen Drop in Centers at Parks, Young Entrepreneur Business District and Mentorship Program, more community programs in schools.

What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
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I have invested in our community by working as a volunteer alongside our residents , nonprofits and small business owners for 15 years. I know the needs of the people that I will represent since I share their problems and their vision for solutions. I am compassionate and passionate about helping people. I am a creative problem solver who will partner with my neighbors to utilize existing resources to our benefit. The worn out phrase that “It’s not in the budget” will not be allowed by me as an excuse for neglect. For example: In spite of some who see the master plan as busy work and a waste of time, I see the neighborhood master plan as a tool to prioritize what we need and set aside the money to get it done. I will use a fresh approach to reach goals. Uncovering opportunities to enhance Hollywood life is my focus.

As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

I would ask for proposed practices to be submitted for Commissioner review and for departments to define objectives. Then we should weigh the benefits versus detriment to the residents and business owners. A policy should accomplish its objective without causing harm. Over zealous actions can be minimized when we step back and look. And the City should not be in an adversarial relationship with the taxpayers that depend on us to protect them (residents and business owners).

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

Replacing the seawalls and building them higher is the obvious solution. Other actions such as accelerate planting of dunes to reduce erosion and also provides water barrier to stop the flow of water into the streets. In addition to this beach re nourishment and flap gates are also needed at the same time

Recently Hollywood’s African American Advisory Council urged the Hollywood Commission to change three street names in Hollywood. How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

The names should be changed immediately. This has been requested since 10 years ago and there is no reason for delay. The proposal from residents would be to change the names to 3 cities instead such as Chicago, Charlotte, Philadelphia or similar.

Pensions are significantly underfunded and the city manager has warned  “the city is at a pivotal crossroads in its life,” while balancing the FY 2017 budget.  On years when the fund has done well, the surplus has been given away in a 13th check, further depleting the fund. What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

It is my understanding that the 13th check was supposed to be a bonus if the pension fund had a surplus. And that the 13th check cannot be disbursed when there is no surplus. If that was the promise made to individuals in the past then that should be honored. However, the 13th check should no longer be a part of new employees benefits package

The CRA district was established in 1997.   What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The CRA has accomplished many cosmetic objectives as well as some new developments. However, the impact of sea level rise will need to be addressed. As well as the need for thriving and stable business environment downtown which is still lacking. The CRA will need money for parking and traffic flow solutions. This needs to be accomplished in the short time left before the CRA ends and within the monies available. CRA money for City services will reimburse the general fund.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Other [Did not disclose]

Q&A with Hollywood’s District 4 Candidates

Dick Blattner

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

Continue to support the City Manager’s initiatives to address the pension liability issue. 50% of the resident’s ad valorem tax goes to support pension obligations, over $50 million this year. This is not sustainable.

What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
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This is a special time with a new mayor and possibly new commissioners. More than institutional history and memory is my ability to see the broad pictures and act reasonably. I also constantly see my responsibility to be a commissioner for all of Hollywood, not just my District.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

It has been stopped, and it has been made clear that that activity was, at least, inappropriate. However, it did clearly point out that there is a need to identify those conditions that could jeopardize the health and safety of the buyer because work unpermitted. I am interested to know how many realtors or agents have identified illegal conversions so that the City could project the community from work that was inconsistent from our codes.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

Passage of the penny sales tax would provide revenue that could be used to repair, raise etc seawalls. Remember that we don’t own them. In other actions, we are installing backflow preventers, discussing raising street levels, and must begin consider even more restrictions to development in the affected areas.

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

I appreciate the effort and would support changing the name of Forrest Street.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

13th checks have been issued, I believe, in violation of the conditions under which they are appropriate. We believe the law requires that all deficits in a plan be vacated before a supplemental check can be issued. In other words, checks cannot be issued just because there was one successful year, but the previous “x” had deficits.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

Maintain the CRA’s. BCRA is making an significant financial contribution to the General Fund and that will grow each year. There are really only a few years left. Study showed that even if the BCRA was sunset, the savings to the City would be about $2 million. The CRA has increased its contribution by more than that amount. Besides, I believe the most creative work in the City is being done by the CRA’s.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton


Barry Faske

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

I will review budget considerations projected for Fiscal Year 2017 and to see about finding a way to fund Public Safety positions with Fire, Police, and Beach Safety that are currently frozen. The safety of our citizens, residents, and visitors should not be compromised.

What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
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I have been involved at the City, County, and State levels for many years and have a great understanding of our challenges ahead. We cannot continue to have the same members on the Commission making the same decisions and expect a different result. I bring with me a technical background, strong Environmental Credentials, and no ties to any special interest groups. I am free to represent the long-term best interests of all of our residents.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

Code enforcement and City Staff must always act in a way that represents the ethics of the City of Hollywood. The issue of work done without Permits could rise to the level of a Public Safety Issue along with the possible lost revenues. I would like the Board of Realtors to find acceptable language for a property listing disclaimer that would allow buyers and sellers to agree as to how any correction for work or Permitting will be handled so that sales can move forward and all sides are protected.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

We will not stop nature regardless of how much is spent. The key is to find a way to live with and adapt to these changes. We should encourage the use of living shorelines wherever possible in addition to seawalls. There must be a place created that is able to contain these waters. As a member of the Broward County Climate Change Task Force I am part of that discussion including the Dutch Dialogues and Adaptation Action Areas together with our partners in Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties.

How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

I know this is extremely important for many residents of our City. I know that the change of name will also have some unintended consequences and costs to many citizens as they change their Drivers License, Voter registration, etc. … I am not sure how best any changes should be funded, but I feel that Robert E. Lee who was promoted to Colonel by Pres.Abraham Lincoln, fought next to Ulysses Grant in the American-Mexican war and was recognized by our nation at least 5 times on Postage remain.

What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

The cost of Pensions and Public Safety are the first place we look to control costs since they are the highest numbers of any area in our budget. I am hopeful that negotiations can proceed to find a SUSTAINABLE way to adjust our costs moving forward and allocate some of the savings for a reserve fund administered in a way that would allow a safety net for our Public Safety and Union members who face a severe challenge. I know of at least one officer and his family that lost their home due to previous cuts. Numbers are important, but we need to recognize that lives and families are affected by our decisions. Negotiate the future of the 13th check, but don’t affect the past.

What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The Beach and Downtown CRA Districts were established to help improve blighted areas in our city. Many find it difficult to currently consider the Beach a blighted area. There remains another 10 years in which the taxes generated in the Beach & Downtown CRA must remain and be spent (according to specific guidelines) in these areas. The benefit is that monies that would normally have gone to Broward County stay in Hollywood. The City Manager continues to find ways to improve these details.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Other – I choose not to disclose.


Q&A with Hollywood’s District 6 Candidates

Jeffrey “Jeff” Ladner

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

To meet with city leadership to review extensively city issues and the status of items the city is currently managing such as budgetary items. Should the penny sur-tax pass, I would work to establish a Hollywood oversight board to prioritize and approve projects to present to the County oversight board for infrastructure improvements sorely needed in Hollywood. The role of the local oversight board would be to ensure these funds are spent wisely and following an established priority process. I would also set up a council for District 6 consisting of community leaders, police, fire, code, as well as other relevant city staff along with non-profit organizations that operate or function within District 6 to formulate an short and long-term action plan of priorities for District 6 neighborhoods.

What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
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I bring over twenty years of healthcare operations management experience. I will come prepared to city commission meetings with regard to decisions to be made, and especially which involve expenditure of funds to ensure we are fiscally responsible to the residents of Hollywood. I will also work diligently to increase our tax base and increase property values throughout the city. I will bring thoughtful, analytical thought process to the commission with fresh perspectives along with consensus building between members of the commission in order to do what is right for Hollywood and move the city forward and to make City Hall fiscally responsible. I will be an advocate for the residents of Hollywood and listen to their concerns and ensure the city listens. I will work with our business community to create job growth.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

I would work with the city manager to ensure the commission is involved and aware of all functions of city staff to ensure our city charter is upheld. I would work to create an internal quality review panel to investigate and address any abuses of power. And I would create an environment where city employees feel empowered to report items to management. Although we need new and innovative ideas to protect and serve the citizens of Hollywood, we must be remain true to our mission and charter.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

Ocean level rise is something with which we must adapt, but at the same time not ignore. I would work with city staff to develop a review and comprehensive plan to address deteriorating seawalls and also look into code and zoning to address future development that would less prone to ocean level rise. We must address our storm-water system to ensure high tides cannot impact our city and our residents by installing back-flow restriction devices.

Recently Hollywood’s African American Advisory Council urged the Hollywood Commission to change three street names in Hollywood. How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

Obviously, we need to do a thoughtful evaluation and review of this process along with the cost and the impact of residents who live along those streets.

Pensions are significantly underfunded and the city manager has warned  “the city is at a pivotal crossroads in its life,” while balancing the FY 2017 budget.  On years when the fund has done well, the surplus has been given away in a 13th check, further depleting the fund. What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

I feel that retirees also have a vested interests to ensure the city remains solvent. This is something that needs to be explored and vetted thoroughly to ensure that once we restore the funds to preexisting levels, or better, that we again don’t find ourselves facing the situation we are in now.

The CRA district was established in 1997.   What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The objective of the CRA was to address and eliminate blight. We have to reevaluate current CRA boundaries and acknowledge “mission accomplished” in certain areas. Boundaries need to be redrawn to ensure the CRA functions as designed. The beach is an economic engine of this city, and we must ensure that it is attractive for tourist who visit our state. But, we also need to address the downtown area and make that equally attractive to tourist and residents.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Regardless who one votes for, I urge everyone to vote. That is the way our democracy works. We are an example of where the citizens of a country determines the course of government.


Linda Sherwood

As a newly-elected official in Hollywood, what will be your first priority and why?

The most important issue is keeping our budget under control by working together with union officials to keep pensions under control.

What makes you a better choice than your opponent?
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My experience far surpasses my opponent’s. Aside from many volunteer opportunities I have been the chairperson for the citywide master plan on economic development and redevelopment for the city. That gave me clear vision as to what our city was, is and could be. My decision making over the last 9 years has helped the city to move forward on the right tract.

Recently Hollywood code enforcement went undercover as prospective home buyers to cite homeowners with code violations. As an elected official, what steps would you take to mitigate abuse of power by municipal officials?

Due to state legislation it is difficult for a code officer to implement his job. However, we put a stop to this practice as soon as we found out about it.

Hollywood’s seawalls are in bad shape. What are you planning to do to reduce flooding in east Hollywood?

We have already been installing pumps to push the water back out to the ocean. We also have plans for repairing the sea walls. If the penny tax passes we will be able to implement the repair sooner rather than later.

Recently Hollywood’s African American Advisory Council urged the Hollywood Commission to change three street names in Hollywood. How do you feel about changing the street names that reflect a KKK Grand Wizard and Confederate leaders?

At this point I am remaining neutral on this. We have had many opinions and facts for pro and con. Keep in mind there would be costs in money and time to each individual who reside on that street.

Pensions are significantly underfunded and the city manager has warned  “the city is at a pivotal crossroads in its life,” while balancing the FY 2017 budget.  On years when the fund has done well, the surplus has been given away in a 13th check, further depleting the fund. What is your position on the 13th pension check perk currently in litigation?

The city cannot sustain paying out this check. It was a decision made in the 90’s that did not take into account the city’s future.

The CRA district was established in 1997.   What is your position on the objectives and relevancy of the CRA today?

The CRA was formed to decrease slum and blight. We have done quite well on the beach but the downtown needs more help. These neighborhoods need lighting, street and sidewalk repair. We can offer grants to homeowners to improve property standards. We are in negotiations with the county for an inter local agreement which would allow the city to move beach money to the western portions of the city from the beach fund. This agreement would allow the CRA not not have to refund money to the county.

Which presidential candidate has your vote?

Hillary Clinton