The first two meetings of the Forum series on "Ft. Lauderdale: A New Direction?: What's Good, What's Bad, and What Should the New Mayor and Commissioners Do?" were very informative and well-attended, with 70+ people at each, including many of the candidates.

Summarizing the comments of eleven knowledgeable members of the two panels and participant comments is difficult, but there was a considerable consensus about a few key issues.

In summary, the panelists felt that the City needed:

Leadership and vision from the Mayor and Commission;

Plans and goals that are "reality based" and can be financed and accomplished;

Restoration of civility on the Commission and in the community; an end to divisiveness; an embracing diversity or community;

Spending reductions to deal with the economic environment, but insuring that any necessary budget cuts are made with long-term vision; trim administrative staff if necessary; pay employees fairly, but deal with growing pension costs;

"Smart" growth, rather than over-development or anti-development; use economic pause to review zoning issues;

Closer working relationships between the City's Advisory Boards and the City Commission and Manager and Staff; increased citizen involvement in decision-making;

Economic development: Improved City activity to supporting our tourism and marine industries and to retain and attract other job-providing businesses; assisting small business in Downtown and surrounding areas; support for judicial complex and South Andrews corridor;

City areas: More activities in downtown; more activities and affordable accommodations in the beach area; strong but realistic code enforcement in neighborhoods; increased attention in businesses and neighborhoods in the Northwest;

Governmental Relations: Closer relationship with other governments, especially County Commission and Staff;

Education: Understanding that the City's direct role is limited, increase working with School Board and local schools to improve educational opportunities;

Transportation: a coordinated transportation system for City, County and Region;

© The Fort Lauderdale Forum. All rights reserved.