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Changing Of The Guard In Hollywood Government: City Swears In Its First Black Commissioner

Hollywood City Clerk, right, performs the swearing-in ceremony for new Commissioner Linda Hill Anderson, left.
Caitie Switalski Muñoz
Hollywood City Clerk, right, performs the swearing-in ceremony for new Commissioner Linda Hill Anderson, left.

Two longtime Hollywood city commission incumbents said their goodbyes on the dais Wednesday. In their place two newcomers were sworn in, including the first Black commissioner in the city's history. Now the city has female-majority leadership.

It was an emotional goodbye inside the Hollywood City Commission chamber Wednesday afternoon.

Two outgoing longtime incumbents thanked their families at their last meeting together. Two political newcomers were sworn in — including the city's first Black commissioner.

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Outgoing commissioner Richard — better known as "Dick" — Blattner choked up when he read a poem aloud in his final minutes sitting on the dais.

...Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light; And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.
Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Casey At The Bat

Blattner served on and off the commission since 1994.

"I was going to put together a list of things that if I were gonna be here for the next few years, that I would want to work on, but I thought that was very presumptuous of me," Blattner said. "I've run for commission 11 times and I didn't always win, as you know. My wife never wanted me to run, but she tolerated it, and I want to thank her."

Newcomer Adam Gruber defeated Blattner in the general election earlier this month by recieving nearly 50% of the vote. In his first speech as commissioner, Gruber nodded to Blattner's legacy.

"The bar has been set extremely high," Gruber said.

He said he plans to call upon Blattner's institutional knowledge and communicate often.

The outgoing incumbent for District 2, Peter Hernandez, was first elected back in 2012. He, too, thanked his family in his final commission speech before he was formally replaced by new commissioner, Linda Hill Anderson.

Anderson is now the city's first Black commissioner, and a part of what is now a female-majority commission.

In her first moments in office, she noted the candidates of color than ran for commission before her and were not elected.

"This has been a long journey for people of color. The journey does not end today, it is a new and historical beginning for me and the residents of Hollywood," Anderson said. "I started this journey two years ago and everyone stayed right by my side."

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.
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