Retired civic activist Steve Glassman and developer and former vice mayor/city commissioner Tim Smith took to the podium following the mayoral candidates.
The two debated over who had the best record and vision when it came to development in Fort Lauderdale. Glassman has served on a number of Broward County boards and groups and also on the city’s planning and zoning board for six years.
Smith deemed Glassman “Skyscraper Steve” during the campaign, accusing Glassman of green lighting high-rise projects to the detriment of the community — a charge Glassman said is false.
“We need to be smart about development and have a common sense approach. I’ve been known for controlled growth,” Glassman said.
Smith said he doesn’t think developers are “paying their fair share,” and reminded the audience that he has called for a moratorium on the construction of new condominium projects on the beach. “It’s time for tourism to come back,” he said.
One of the more tense moments during the debate regarded a campaign comment Smith previously made about the “gay vote” in the district. District 2 has historically had a high percentage of LGBT residents.
Smith has been accused of saying the district doesn’t need a gay commissioner and making the comment: “Is there a gay vote and does it matter?”
“I believe you use [the term gay] as a wedge and I want to use it to unite people,” said Glassman, who is gay. “You can’t label a group of people. Labels aren’t good,” he said.
Smith said he’s an activist for the rights of “all people.”
“I truly believe you shouldn’t judge people by x, y, z, and I’ve lived that life,” he said. “No one has fought for gay rights as much as I have. You should judge people by who they are and what their character is,” he said.
Both agree street closures have been helpful in cutting back on crime. However, Glassman thinks there are some that aren’t “properly maintained.”
Annie Beck House
Glassman and Smith support solutions to bring the historic home back to a safe condition that can be enjoyed by the public.
Future of Aquatic Complex
Glassman is open to hearing what private developers might bring to the table regarding the “neglected” complex and its future. Smith said he was completely opposed to any private influence on the property, and that perhaps an aquarium could be developed there.
Glassman, a former high school teacher, said he would not renew the license for the gun show operator at War Memorial Auditorium. Smith said he wouldn’t vote for a gun show on city property until background checks are shored up and youth are not able to buy assault rifles.
“The Wave” streetcar
Both pledged to undo the Wave contract.