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Fort Lauderdale City Commission approves new election districts

new FTL districts
City of Fort Lauderdale
This map shows how the Fort Lauderdale city districts will change.

Fort Lauderdale city commissioners voted Wednesday to alter city election districts.

The process happens after every census in response to changes in population.

“This process is really intended to do nothing more than make sure that the districts have the same number of people in them," said Chris Lagerbloom, the Fort Lauderdale city manager. "And when representation on the commission happens, they come from each of those four districts,”

Professors from Florida Atlantic University drew the new maps over the past two months. The professors gave the commission nine maps to choose from. The map chosen by commissioners only moves two neighborhoods into different districts.

James Gammack-Clark, a geosciences professor from FAU, said the map chosen by commissioners was the “least invasive.”

Still, residents from Riverland Village were not happy with the map. The Riverland Village neighborhood was moved into District 3 from District 4. The neighborhood holds about 2,182 people.

“There was some suggestion that the school districts would be affected by the vote, or that the representation in Tallahassee and Florida House of Representatives would be impacted. Not true. We adopted now a map that is ... balanced, and a fair representation of the city,” Lagerbloom said.

The Poinsettia Heights neighborhood, where Mayor Dean Trantalis lives, was moved from District 2 to District 1.

The most contentious redistricting was over the area just south of the Progresso Village neighborhood which is west of Flagler Village.

New maps had the sliver of land, containing 34 residents, from District 3 to District 2. Robert McKinzie represents District 3, a historically black district.

McKinzie repeatedly pushed to get the land back during the meeting. He told Steven Glassman, who represents District 2, that he was stealing land from Black people and called him racist.

Glassman then called McKinzie a racist and moved to start voting on the new map.

It was approved by everyone except McKinzie. The new districts will go into effect 10 days after the vote.

Gerard Albert III is back in Broward, where he grew up, after reporting on crime and public safety in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and West Palm Beach. Albert is a former WLRN intern who graduated from Florida International University.