In the last four years, the Hollywood Commission has had to deal with budget deficits, employee turnover, citizen’s criticism for failed projects and crumbling infrastructure.
Most of those topics — especially financial stability — have been at the center of campaigning for Hollywood’s Nov. 6 election.
Because of recent charter changes, all seven seats are up, with 18 people seeking those seats.
The field of 18 includes five incumbents and 13 challengers, many of whom are new to politics.
Because of new rules, the seats will now be staggered and there will be 12-year term limits.
The candidates running for the District 1, 3 and 5 seats will serve six-year terms.
The candidates chosen for District 2, 4 and 6 seats will serve four-year terms.
The mayor will serve a four-year term.
Here is how the races are shaping up:
• Peter Bober, 39, was elected in 2008 and is an employment and personal injury lawyer. He has been criticized by the union for supporting a referendum to slash pension benefits. His priorities are continuing to strengthen city finances, improving infrastructure, addressing public safety and crime, and tackling the city’s aging housing stock. Bober, who has lived in the city for most of his life, served as a commissioner from 2000-2008. He said his strengths include coming up with out-of-the-box ideas, including his recent effort to get rid of illegal signs by using a robo-call system.
• Cliff Germano, 58, who has lived in the city for more than 30 years, has been active on city boards and in neighborhood associations. Lately, he has been on a letter-writing campaign to the state to require further testing for a canal, which was used to hold more than 20 million gallons of raw sewage after a pipe burst nearly a year ago. If elected, Germano, who retired from the tourism industry, hopes to improve the neighborhoods and look at ways to lower taxes and fees.
The eastern part of the city, including the beach and Hollywood Lakes.
• Patricia Asseff, 65, was first elected to the commission in 2008 and works as a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. Asseff, who has lived in Hollywood for 45 years, has been a supporter of development on the beach and in downtown Hollywood. She said her focus is to beautify the city, which will help bring up property values and increase the city’s tax base. Asseff said her voting record shows she has business sense and she is not afraid to vote the way she thinks is in the city’s best interests.
• Richard Valdez, 48, is a first-time candidate and works as an advertising agency executive. Valdez, who has lived in the city for seven years, is a member of the Hollywood Lakes Civic Association and decided to run because of rising taxes and the recent pension referendum, which he thinks should have been handled through labor negotiations. He said his technology background will help him with his priorities to bring more jobs to Hollywood and stabilize the city’s budget.
Covers west of U.S. 1 and includes Parkside, a portion of North Central, Liberia and Royal Poinciana.
Incumbent Fran Russo is not seeking reelection.
• Tim Burton, 47, has been a computer analyst in the Memorial Healthcare System for 19 years. He has lived in Hollywood for eight years and as a first-time candidate he wants to bring the city into the 21st Century. Burton wants to shift money toward flooding and sewer infrastructure in the district; an area that he said has been neglected. He served on the Hallandale Community Development Corp. for nine years and is active in his neighborhood association.