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Local Politics And Crowds: Fort Lauderdale Civic Association Hosts Debate With Candidates

Fort Lauderdale’s City Hall was packed Tuesday night. All of the candidates running to be the next city commissioners and mayor of the city faced questions from Sun Sentinel political reporter, and the debate's moderator, Brittany Wallman. 

The debate was held four parts. The three mayoral candidates went first, followed by separate debates for city commission candidates running for districts two, three and four. 

Read more: Follow the evening's discussions via reporter Caitie Switalski's Twitter feed

Dorothy Desaulnier was one of the residents present in the mostly standing-room-only city hall. She came to hear the candidates speak, hoping they would help her decide whom to vote for. 

She has lived in Fort Lauderdale’s District One since 1972, when the city was just finishing the landmark bank building downtown. Now, she said development is affecting her quality of life.

“Where are we all going to fit?,” she said. 

"You just sit and crawl. I-95? Sit and crawl. Downtown? Sit and crawl"- Dorothy Desaulnier

The Council of Civic Associations organized and hosted the debate. It consists of all neighborhood associations in city, and Ron Centamore  is the president. 

He said he believes, hosting these types of debates make sure the focus stays on problems that affect the majority of the city’s more than 60 neighborhoods. 

“I just love Fort Lauderdale. I think it’s a great place,” he said. “It has some issues that we as neighbors and residents want to see addressed.”

And those issues that were addressed during debate time included development, like the Wave streetcar, and the controversial Bahia Mar development project. 

Here’s a complete list of candidates running for Fort Lauderdale’s mayoral and city commission district seats in the Jan. 16 primary election:

Mayoral Candidates: 

  • Bruce Roberts
  • Charlotte Rodstrom
  • Dean Trantalis

District One Candidate: 

  • Heather Moraitis (Wins City Commission Seat unopposed)

District Two Candidates: 

  • George Castrataro
  • Steven Glassman
  • Chadwick Maxey
  • Tim Smith 
  • Lester Zalewski

District Three Candidates: 

  • Donna Guthrie
  • Marie "Miss Peaches" Huntley
  • Robert McKinzie

District Four Candidates:

  • Walter Duke
  • Dr. Ben Sorensen
  • Dr. Warren Sturman
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, currently leads the WLRN Newsroom as Interim Managing Editor. Prior to transitioning to leadership from production, Caitie reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.