Imagine this. After spending more than two months shuttered due to COVID-19, most Fort Lauderdale businesses were finally allowed to open on Monday. Local store owners and restaurants desperately need customers to come through their doors to jump start the local economy. So what does Mayor Dean Trantalis (D-Backbencher) do?
Like a true backbencher, Mayor Dean Trantalis takes to social media to urge residents to #shoplocal. Trantalis even shows off the face mask he purchased at Julian’s Fountain of Treasures.
Just one problem.
Julian’s Fountain of Treasures is not located in the City of Fort Lauderdale.
Julian Cavazos’ high-end thrift store is located at 2378 Wilton Drive in the City of Wilton Manors.
After two months in lockdown, Dean Trantalis’ first post in support of “local” business is a Wilton Manors thrift store?!?
Can you imagine the Mayor of Miami urging residents to “shop local” by visiting The Galleria Mall?
Or the Mayor of Hollywood asking residents to visit the Elbo Room in support of “shop local.”
Does Dean Trantalis even know the boundaries of his City? Does he realize the city limits extend past I-95? Maybe his advisers, Eric Johnson of Wilton Manors and Blake MacDiarmid of Miami Beach, gave Trantalis bad directions?
For the last two months, non-essential Fort Lauderdale businesses have been shuttered. Residents have been ordered to shelter in place unless buying food or seeking medical help. Fort Lauderdale schools and parks are deserted. Yet, it appears “government lobbyists” are an essential business in the eyes of Mayor Dean Trantalis.
According to official meeting logs, Trantalis welcomed three lobbyists to City Hall in April. The visitor log for April 27, 2020 shows lobbyists for AECOM met “in person” with Mayor Trantalis. The lobbyists were Matthew Sacco, John Milledge and Eric Johnson.
Surely the lobbyists were there to discuss emergency COVID-19 related issues with Mayor Trantalis, right?
According to the log, Trantalis and the lobbyists discussed “downtown projects.”
In February, REDBROWARD revealed AECOM lobbyist Eric Johnson is a key campaign adviser to Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Ben Sorensen. In addition to a new police headquarters building, AECOM wants built a privatized government center to be shared by the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.
REDBROWARD also exposed Johnson’s role, alongside fellow Trantalis adviser Blake MacDiarmid (R-Lobbyist), with companies seeking to privatize Fort Lauderdale’s water service.
Are these essential services? Did the lobbyists wear facemasks? Did the foursome maintain six feet of separation? Why do lobbyists get to work during quarantine while local restaurant owners get harangued by health inspectors and police officers?
Did Trantalis and Johnson discuss his re-election campaign?
Didn’t Mayor Dean Trantalis have better things to do during a pandemic?
Every time Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steve Glassman opines on public policy he offers more proof of his backbencher status. On Monday, Glassman, the former owner of a Buffalo hair salon, offered his plan to “Relaunch Lauderdale.” There was little fanfare surrounding the announcement because most people tend to ignore Steve Glassman.
As usual, Glassman turned to social media to garner some attention for his “announcement.”
In his announcement, Glassman concedes this is not really his plan. He admits fellow backbencher Mayor Dean Trantalis and his reopen “Working Group” came up with this silly plan. No mention whether Trantalis/Glassman adviser Blake MacDiarmid (R-Lobbyist) hatched this turkey.
First, Glassman makes the laughable claim that Fort Lauderdale led the way when COVID-19 forced the shutdown of Broward County. He laments the loss of Spring Break and all its revenue. Movers and shakers in Fort Lauderdale have not missed Spring Breakers since they chased them out of town in 1980s.
As a condo dweller, it’s no surprise Glassman’s manifesto calls on multi-unit dwellings to control the opening of their private property. “Let them decide which amenities to open responsibly and safely and which should remain closed,” Glassman writes.
Yet when dealing with private businesses like restaurants, Glassman and Trantalis think they know better. For some reason, these guys appear to believe the only restaurants in Fort Lauderdale are located on the beach or Las Olas Boulevard.Glassman wants to “Spread Out On Sunrise Lane” by allowing patio seating in front of The Parrot Lounge and Yo Mama Ice Cream. Glassman says, “Customers will be able to ease their way back into our local economy on the beach in an open air marketplace and unique eating experience.”
On Las Olas, Trantalis and Glassman would eliminate on street parking. The busy boulevard would become one lane each way with the new seating and pedestrian walkways taking up a lane of traffic.
Glassman and Trantalis would create “pop up shopping experiences” in empty parking lots and alleyways to “jump start our economy.” The plan would move shopping to “tents and stations” with “car hops“ delivering clothes and food to your cars!
As for the beach itself, Glassman and Trantalis call for the beach to be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in May with no “congregating” allowed. Towels, blankets and chairs would be outlawed. Parking along A1A would remain closed.
Clearly, Glassman and Trantalis never heard of Adam Smith and his “invisible hand.” Local businesses don’t need advice from backbencher politicians and their cronies. Local residents don’t need Steve Glassman and Dean Trantalis micromanaging their shopping trips to Las Olas and outings on the beach.
Just lift your orders, stop harassing local businesses and get out of our way.