July 18, 2024

For two open city commission seats in Fort Lauderdale, the Sun Sentinel recommends Yvette DuBose in District 3 and Warren Sturman in District 4. (Courtesy)
Fort Lauderdale voters have a rare opportunity to overhaul a majority of seats on the five-member city commission in November because of three early departures. In District 1 in the city’s northeast, the Sun Sentinel has recommended John Charles Herbst, 58, a first-time candidate who was city auditor for 16 years until three commissioners voted to fire him in February.
Here are our recommendations for the other two open seats:
Fort Lauderdale will soon have a Black woman on its city commission for the first time. It took only 111 years.
Voters in District 3 in the city’s northwest (and part of the southwest) will choose among four candidates, and all have deep roots in their city and a passion for leadership. The next commissioner must be a diplomat, consensus builder and forceful advocate for an area with a long and painful history of official neglect. This position, which comes with an annual salary of $73,400, is open because Robert McKinzie sought and won a Broward County Commission seat.
All four candidates have deep roots in the city and a passion for leadership. They are Yvette DuBose, 46, a small business owner; Donna Guthrie, 65, president of the Melrose Park Civic Association, who has run twice for this seat; Nadine Hankerson, an economist with a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University; and Pam Beasley-Pittman, 57, president of the Dorsey Riverbend Homeowners Association and associate minister of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.
Each of them offers unique strengths.
The Sun Sentinel recommends DuBose, who displayed a strong command of the district’s needs and an ability to work in harmony with other commissioners. If her name is familiar, it should be: Her husband, Bobby DuBose, used to hold this District 3 seat, became a state House member and has run for Congress and against McKinzie.
WATCH: Sun Sentinel interview with Yvette DuBose and Nadine Hankerson ]
Hankerson, the candidate with the most forceful style, faults white politicians for stealing Black-owned land, for a “profit over humanity” mentality that shows a lack of respect for workers’ rights, and an agenda favoring the wealthy, like the proposed “Tesla tunnel” linking downtown and the beach.
“Black folks ain’t in y’all’s mind,” Hankerson said in a Sun Sentinel interview.
Beasley-Pittman cited an issue others did not mention: the need for burial and mausoleum space by 2025, when Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery will reach capacity. She also said communicating with residents is critical, and that many lack internet access.
WATCH: Sun Sentinel interview with Donna Guthrie and Pam Beasley-Pittman ]
DuBose, a mother of five who majored in English at Florida State University, wants more businesses in the northwest, where many residents can’t even walk to a grocery store. “We have been left behind,” she said.
That has been a refrain for what feels like 111 years since the city’s 1911 founding.
One candidate will win and three will lose. We’re confident that if DuBose wins, she has the skills to be a good listener to the others’ ideas.
The deepest field of any Broward city election this cycle is right here, close by the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel. Seven candidates are competing to represent an affluent, politically aware area that lies generally south of the New River, including the neighborhoods of Rio Vista, Tarpon Bend and Harbor Beach. The key issues include homelessness, traffic, overdevelopment and neighborhood compatibility and upgrading the city’s infrastructure.
The candidates are Kevin Cochrane, 50, a website entrepreneur and software executive; Ted Anthony Inserra, 66, a chef and city native; Kathleen “Kitty” McGowan, 59, a marine industry advocate and motivational speaker; Mike Lambrechts, 32, a financial advisor and co-founder of Clean Waterways; Ed Rebholz, 72, a retired business executive and former high school football coach; Jacquelyn “Jackie” Scott, 72, a real estate agent, long-time civic activist and chairman of the city zoning board; and Warren Sturman, 64, a cardiologist and civic activist.
McGowan did not answer our questions or participate in interviews.
WATCH: Sun Sentinel Editorial Board endorsement interview for Fort Lauderdale City Commission, District 4 ]
It’s a credit to Fort Lauderdale that it attracts so many capable candidates. In this diverse field, the Sun Sentinel recommends Sturman, a well-informed and tireless advocate for the district. He was president of the Rio Vista Civic Association for 14 years and founded the city’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.
He’s also a strong supporter of preserving open space, including fighting a proposed courthouse at Hardy Park in District 4. He also came within a whisker of winning this seat two years ago, losing to Ben Sorensen by 55 votes, and is running as an anti-developer candidate, backed by public safety unions, teachers and fellow doctors.
“I am getting no developer support,” Sturman says proudly. “I don’t need their support.”
This newspaper endorsed Sturman four years ago, and many of the same arguments remain true today. He’s not a professional politician and his medical background, community activism and contacts in county government will serve the city well.
Sturman strongly opposed the One Stop Shop project downtown that in our opinion was far too generous to a private developer, and he correctly said the city should have conducted a wide search before hiring the current city manager.
RELATED: This land is your land, Fort Lauderdale. Keep it green, all of it | Editorial  ]
After Sturman, we were impressed by Cochrane’s command of city issues and his fierce opposition to overdevelopment. He lacks the many years of civic involvement that sets Sturman apart, and as a show of independence, he has put $200,000 of his own money into his race. He advocated a moratorium on growth until the city’s broken water and sewer pipes were fixed.
Rebholz has an impressive business background and a no-nonsense approach. Scott, a resident since 1959, has four decades of institutional knowledge, great affection for the city and knows its successes and failures. Rebholz said he will donate his city commission salary of $73,400 to local nonprofits.
The candidates’ detailed answers to important policy questions are online in questionnaires, and will help voters reach the right conclusions.
Fort Lauderdale is at a crossroads. The city needs new leaders who will promote a culture of accountability and civility and will champion smart development and fiscal responsibility. The Sun Sentinel recommends Yvette DuBose and Warren Sturman for the City Commission.
Editorials are the opinion of the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board and written by one of its staff members. The Editorial Board consists of Editorial Page Editor Steve Bousquet, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Dan Sweeney and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson.
Copyright © 2022, Sun Sentinel
Copyright © 2022, Sun Sentinel


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