Commissioner Dean Trantalis announced this week that he is a candidate in Fort Lauderdale’s mayoral race, promising “a new voice and a new direction” for the city.
So far, Trantalis, a longtime LGBT activist who represents District 2 and operates his law firm in Wilton Manors, is the only openly gay candidate for mayor. Former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom and current Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts have opened campaign accounts. The official time period to file is Nov. 6 to 13. Current Mayor Jack Seiler is term-limited and can’t seek re-election. The mayor and commissioners each serve three-year terms.
Trantalis, who was a commissioner from 2002 to 2006 and 2013 to now, has made infrastructure one of the issues he promises to fix if elected. The issue is aging water and sewage pipes which have caused numerous flooding issues throughout the city. City officials have been accused of diverting funds meant to maintain those pipes on other budget items, including new parks.
Rodstrom and Roberts have also made infrastructure part of their platforms but Trantalis has been much harsher in his criticism of the city. “We don’t need to look far to see the poor stewardship of our city these last few years,” he said in a statement released this week.
“Sewer and water pipes break constantly, leaving raw waste in people’s yards and leading the state to impose a repair plan and threaten fines. Money for upgrades to our utility infrastructure is pilfered to cover an unbalanced budget. Debris remains piled up from a hurricane that occurred over a month ago.”
Trantalis also said there was “absentee leadership at City Hall” and blamed a commission majority for not putting a temporary halt on development until infrastructure needs could be assessed. He also promised to address issues related to affordable housing, and mass transportation.
“We need meaningful change, not superficial change. I promise to be the people’s mayor.”
The city’s municipal primary election will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. If one of the mayoral candidates gets 50 percent of the vote plus 1, he or she will be elected mayor. If not, a run-off of the top two vote-getters will be held during the municipal general election on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
Mayor Seiler has had a contentious relationship with the LGBT community. LGBT activists have criticized the mayor over the years for not supporting marriage equality and more recently for attending a prayer breakfast that featured an anti-LGBT speaker.