Miami-Dade County

Results for Broward races signal change in Hollywood, Hallandale Beach

Voters line up at the Coral Ridge Mall,Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at polling stations in Fort Lauderdale
Voters line up at the Coral Ridge Mall,Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at polling stations in Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel

Joshua Levy, a lifelong Hollywood resident who has never held elected office, fended off two seasoned politicians to become Hollywood’s mayor.

With most of the precincts reporting, he beat out former Florida Sen. Eleanor Sobel — who has been in politics since the 1990s and has been a city commissioner, state legislator and school board member — and City Commissioner Patricia Asseff, the lone Republican in the race, who has been a Hollywood commissioner for eight years.

“I think that it says the city has moved on from the leaders of yesteryear,” Levy said just before heading to downtown Hollywood for a celebration with more than 100 supporters. “Hollywood is a younger, more diverse city than it was in the 1990s.”

As a past member of the city’s planning and development board and past president of the Hollywood Hills Civic Association, Levy promised to “revitalize the city” and “invest in environmental sustainability.”

“I am looking forward to improving upon everything we love about our city, including our neighborhoods, our schools and the city’s business climate,” said Levy, who was endorsed by current Mayor Peter Bober, who is retiring.

In Bober’s lengthy endorsement letter, he touted Levy’s “practical experience in the business world.”

“Josh may be new to you, but he is not new to the city. Like me, he grew up in Hollywood, has deep roots and is raising his own children here,” he wrote. “Josh has been paying attention to what has been happening at city hall for a long time.”

Hollywood also chose commissioners for four seats. Debra Case, a restaurant owner, held on to a slight lead over another rookie, Stacey Kotzen, who works with her husband at The Rain Law Firm in downtown Hollywood, for Seat 1. There were five political newbies competing for the District 1 seat left vacant by Asseff. Incumbents Peter Hernandez, Dick Blattner and Linda Sherwood held on to their seats.

Here is a look at some other Broward races:

Hallandale Beach

The Hallandale Beach City Commission had a major power shift Tuesday night. The races in Hallandale Beach had become a battle between two factions. One side, backing longtime Commissioner Bill Julian, was led by Mayor Joy Cooper, who isn’t facing re-election. The other side — the minority — was led by Keith London, who also didn’t face re-election.

Julian, who campaigned while under investigation by Broward prosecutors, lost to political newcomer Anabelle Taub.

“The residents of Hallandale Beach struck corruption with a fatal blow tonight,” Taub said. “Hallandale Beach government will be restored to doing what it is supposed to — serving the residents.”

In August, WPLG Channel 10 broke a story that contained a recording of Julian making comments related to his actions in favor of a condo and hotel project. In the phone call — which Julian didn’t know was being recorded — Julian is heard saying that a lawyer for the developer promised him hundreds of campaign workers and that the developers would buy a van for his pet charity, a local food bank. It’s unclear when prosecutors will conclude their investigation.

Also Tuesday, City Commissioner Michele Lazarow defeated former City Commissioner Alexander Lewy.

Factions at city hall played a big role in the races. Julian and Lewy are aligned with the mayor and the majority, while Taub and Lazarow are aligned with City Commissioner Keith London. The divide between the two groups turned into an acrimonious battle involving investigations by Broward prosecutors and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

With Lazarow and Taub winning, the majority has shifted.

County commission

Former state Sen. Steve Geller, a Democrat, beat Chuck Lanza, a Republican and the county’s former emergency management director in a county commission race by a strong lead. He will replace Lois Wexler, who is retiring.

Voters also faced two questions about raising the sales tax — a half-cent for transportation projects and another half-cent for local improvements. Both questions had to pass for the tax to be implemented. Late Tuesday, one question was on track to be rejected, which doomed both measures.

Constitutional officers

Sheriff Scott Israel, a Democrat, handily beat Republican Santiago Vazquez. Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, who only faced a write-in candidate, easily won her post. Brenda Forman, who won the clerk of courts primary and is married to the current clerk Howard Forman, also faced only a write-in and won the post by a landslide.