From candidates publicly bickering on the dais to complaints being filed with the Florida Elections Commission, the Hallandale Beach mayoral race has veered from normal city politics to personal attacks.
Incumbent Joy Cooper is being challenged by Commissioner Keith London. Also in the race: write-in candidate Jay Schorr, whose name is not on the ballot. Schorr qualified with the city, but did not pay the $50 qualifying fee, which would have allowed his name to appear on the ballot.
Cooper and London often have spats at public meetings, but it came to a climax in April when London took out his camera and put it on the dais to video record Cooper. The mayor responded by cutting short discussion on an item and saying she would research whether videotaping her was legal.
According to the city attorney, it was.
Meanwhile, a resident filed a complaint with the Hallandale Beach City Attorney, saying London should be prosecuted because he is in violation of a Florida law that makes it illegal to co-habitate with a person of the opposite sex if they’re not married. She was told the complaint needs to be filed with the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
And another resident filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission, alleging Cooper accepted improper campaign contributions. The elections commission found the complaint sufficient and gave Cooper a chance to respond. Cooper said she has since fixed the problem.
Cooper has also filed several complaints with the election commission about her opponent. London, she said, is lying on his campaign literature about her voting record, using his personal credit card to fund campaign commercials and using his website to promote two other candidates.
Write-in candidate Schorr has also not been without controversy. In August, it was revealed that his wife, using her maiden name, was covering the Hallandale Beach election and attacking Cooper and London for Examiner.com.
Schorr has sent out fliers showing pictures of Cooper and London behind bars, alluding to a current investigation by the Broward County Inspector General of questionable city loans made by the city.
The commission race, on the other hand has been a little less contentious. Residents will be able to cast their votes for two of the six candidates. The third highest vote getter will finish out London’s term. He had to resign his seat to run for mayor.
Here is a look at the candidates:
Joy Cooper, 52, has served as mayor of Hallandale Beach since 2004. Despite public distrust toward city managers and funds, she said Hallandale Beach is one of the most fiscally sound communities in South Florida. If reelected, Cooper, who has lived in the city for 22 years, hopes to replace the main Fire Station, which was built in 1970, and establish a K-8 school in addition to upgrading Hallandale High School.
Keith London, 50, is a small business owner and 21-year resident of Hallandale Beach. If elected as mayor, London, who has been a commissioner since 2007, hopes to stop what he describes as the “pay to play” culture: wasting reserves, fees and tax money. He already has a reputation for voting “no’’ on most votes including the budget. His goals, London said, are to expand Hallandale’s mini-bus service, and upgrading and investing in parks and beaches.
Jay Schorr, 54, has worked in TV production for more than 30 years. He hopes to carry over his successful business experiences into the political arena. If elected as mayor, Schorr’s plan includes creating a citizens oversight committee and cutting city spending by 10 percent across the board. Schorr, who has lived in the city for 10 years, ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2005.