Election Recommendations

August 5, 2014

The Herald recommends for Broward commission

BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION

DISTRICT 2

Five candidates are competing to succeed term-limited Commissioner Kristin Jacobs in this inland northeast district. Two have held public office before. Charlotte Rodstrom, 61, is a former three-time Fort Lauderdale commissioner who ran for county commissioner in 2012 and lost. She tried to regain her old seat in Fort Lauderdale in 2013 but lost again. Lisa Aronson, 58, is a Coconut Creek commissioner long active in Broward politics.

Also running are Mark Bogen, 55, an attorney and former condo law newspaper columnist; Terry Williams-Edden, 48, a former adjudicator in the state Department of Economic Opportunity who previously ran for state Senate; and community activist Carmen Jones.

Ms. Aronson’s impressive list of supporters includes many current and previous officeholders and she has also served on boards for the Broward County Water Resources Task Force and Planning Council. She lives in the district. Ms. Rodstrom lives in Fort Lauderdale but says she would move into the district (as required by law) if elected.

Ms. Rodstrom cited the “huge language barrier” faced by Creole- and Spanish-speaking constituents in the district, a need that she said would be dealt with as a priority. She was also the most forceful in insisting that the county’s ethics code must be strengthened.

We give the edge to Ms. Rodstrom on the basis of her public service in Broward’s biggest city and her commitment to reach out to constituents in underserved parts of the district. For Broward County Commission, District 2, The Herald recommends CHARLOTTE RODSTROM.

DISTRICT 4

For this Broward Commission coastal seat, the Democratic primary pits Ken Keechl and Ben Lap. In November, the winner faces incumbent and sole Republican commissioner Chip LaMarca, viewed as vulnerable because redistricting added new Democratic voters.

Mr. Keechl, 51, and Mr. Lap, 57, are both prominent members of Broward‘s gay community. They both promise to protect their district’s beaches, work to attract more tourism and seek ways to improve traffic flow. Democratic Broward voters have a difficult choice.

Mr. Keechl, first elected to the commission in 2006, lost his seat in 2010 amid questions of inappropriate campaign spending, including using his domestic partner’s property as his campaign office. In 2012, Mr. Keechl, an attorney, ran again for a different Broward commission seat, but lost. Now, he’s running to regain the same seat he lost to Mr. LaMarca four years ago.

Mr. Lap, a prominent Fort Lauderdale Democratic fundraiser and former chairman of BioSentinel, is dealing with the foreclosure of his home. That should not be a full negative. Thousands of homeowners have run into financial trouble in South Florida, the foreclosure capital of the nation; incumbent Mr. LaMarca is among them.

But Mr. Keechl may still be haunted by his missteps while in office in a county where voters have tired of ethical lapses. And it doesn’t help that voters in two commission districts have previously rejected Mr. Keechl.

Making the case for new blood, the Herald recommends BEN LAP in Broward County Commission’s District 4.

Recommendations for other Broward Commission races will appear Friday.

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