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As I start to write another article, my first attempt was full of doom and gloom as I look ahead into the New Year. There is no shortage of topics to be pessimistic about during these troubling times. 

However, I could not welcome in a new year and a new decade with such pessimistic thoughts. Voices in my head began to shout, Stop, halt, hold the presses, pull back and start anew, dont give in.” I forced myself to step away and focus on a more positive and optimistic train of thought as I make a second attempt to welcome in the New Year.

As I focus on life here in Wilton Manors I quickly get in a much happier state of mind. Its so much better to welcome in the New Year with hope and optimism than to curse it with ramblings of pessimism. Here in the Island City we have accomplished much in the last decade, and the sky seems very bright here in our Island City as we move into the new year.  

I quickly acknowledge the wonderful holiday season I have been blessed to enjoy with wonderful gatherings of friends, food, and festivities with many Island City residents coming together to enjoy and celebrate. This sense of community can bring rays of sunlight through the darkest of storm clouds. This camaraderie is not limited to just this time of holiday festivities, but also throughout the year. 

Dark troubling storm clouds on the horizon outside our borders can easily make one shudder with a sense of fear — fear from the insanity coming out of the White House, fear from a much-divided world, fear from the effects of global warming, fear from the concentration of wealth in the hands of just a few, fear from the monopolistic corporations that keep getting bigger and bigger. There is no shortage of bad news out there. 

However, we cannot allow such pessimism to consume us and to cause us not to have hope in the future.  My hope is right here in Wilton Manors.  Our city’s motto of, Life is just better here,” was not some silly creation of someone in an office cubicle. This motto came from the belief of many residents that such a reality exists here in our city, that life actually is better here. We know it, we love it, and we are committed to keeping it this way. 

As I look ahead to the New Year with hope and optimism, I look forward to seeing wayfinding signs and new city gateway signs to begin appearing around town. I look forward to seeing new development plans for the church site on NE 26thStreet. 

I look forward to getting the new zoning and Land Use changes in place for the Andrews Ave/Oakland Park Corridor. I look forward to seeing the new entrance way completed for Colohatchee Park. I look forward to trees and streetscaping along Wilton Drive. I look forward to the newly planned Fourth of July celebrations here in our city. I look forward to more public art and to finally see utility boxes wrapped with local artwork. 

I look forward to the thousands of international visitors that will be coming to the Wilton Manors/Fort Lauderdale area during the Pride of the Americas celebrations in April. There is indeed much to look forward to here in our Island City. 

 As my thoughts roam around our city, I begin to think about certain matters that warrant our unceasing attention. Keeping a strong and committed police force is vital to the public safety of our great city. Equally important is making sure our Code Enforcement stays vigilante throughout our neighborhoods.

Only by insuring safe and vibrant neighborhoods can we continue to be such a wonderful community. Residents should look to assist city staff by contacting Code Enforcement or other city departments when they notice something not right or have any questions.  City staff has always responded to my inquires with a quick follow-up. Our elected officials are all available to listen to concerns, with their contact information easily accessible on the city website. 

Optimism brings about the change we need to see, whereas pessimism guarantees no change for the better. We can make a difference if we stay involved, believe in the future and look to bring about a better tomorrow. 

This is the only way life will continue to be just better here. 

Happy New Year!