While Fort Lauderdale faced an enormous environmental disaster after 127 million gallons of raw sewage (i.e. poop) were pumped into local waterways, Commissioner Steve Glassman took to Facebook to address the top issue on his mind–David Beckham’s appearance on Modern Family. A former Manchester United great, Beckham is owner of the MLS Inter Miami CF franchise which will play its games on a new stadium built in Fort Lauderdale. Last week, Beckham made a Speedo-clad cameo appearance on the hit ABC television comedy.
Days later, Glassman wrote, “So proud of my BFF David Beckham’s excellent performance on Modern Family this week. I see a future for this young man. Congrats and all the best.” Glassman posted six photographs of Beckham including two pics of the men at local events. The post garnered twenty-one comments including one Facebook user asking Commissioner Glassman the status on “complimentary opening match tickets.”
The comments were not as friendly on Glassman’s Twitter post. Glassman did not appreciate a comment by user @BecauseFlorida1 who wrote, “You are an elected official, working for the city. Not a celebrity. Get to work.” Instead of ignoring the comment, Glassman attacked:
Oh, please Mr. or Ms. hide behind some name. I work hard, I play hard, and I like to joke and laugh. Get over it and get a life – maybe even get a sense of humor. Enjoy this beautiful day in the greatest city.
In response, @BecauseFlorida1 wrote, “I laugh loud and I laugh often, just not when thousands of residents are depending on me to fight for them and keep their city safe and clean. We will see you at the protest tomorrow right?”
The comments referenced the Sunday protest at Colee Hammock Park featuring dozens of boats and residents upset with the sewage crisis. Even though even major media outlet covered the protest, Glassman and the rest of the City Commission failed to appear.
So much for the sewer issue being number one on the minds of Mayor Dean Trantalis and the City Commission.
A review of Steve Glassman’s official and personal Facebook accounts fail to show a focus on City infrastructure. In nearly 500 posts since his election in March 2018, Glassman never mentioned the sewer issue until the December 2019 break in Rio Vista. Glassman failed to mention water system issues until the City lost water in July 2018. During both emergencies, Glassman simply reposted information gleaned from the City website. There were no posts of Glassman on the scene of any emergency until this week when a water line broke in Victoria Park.
Did he post pictures of himself with a safety vest, hard hat and rubber boots as repairs were made? Nope. Glassman posted pics of his chat with a camera crew.
Most of Glassman’s social posts mentioned public art, parks, scooters, “selfie days,” plastic straws and MLS/David Beckham. Maybe Glassman, a close supporter of Mayor Dean Trantalis, does not want to address real issues in his city. Perhaps Glassman needs new advisers?
Fort Lauderdale residents deserve real leadership, right?
In June 2018, Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich joined AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) CEO Michael Weinstein for the unveiling of his plans to build a sixteen-story building filled with 680 “micro units” near downtown Fort Lauderdale. Rich’s support of the highly controversial plan should come as no surprise. Even though she represents Weston and small portions of West Broward, Rich is a huge proponent of “affordable housing” for the homeless in the downtown area.
Rich was a driving force behind the Housing Trust Fund measure on last year’s ballot. In a Sun-Sentinel editorial, Rich claimed the fund would create a “lock box” to secure affordable housing. She wrote, “It takes a strong coalition of non-profits, the business community, municipalities, and advocates like you to solve the affordable housing crisis for thousands of Broward County’s renters and homeowners.” The fund passed with 73 percent of the vote.
REDBROWARD revealed Commissioner Rich’s office is using official County resources to promote the AHF/Healthy Housing Foundation project dubbed “Trantalis Tower.” Rich’s County Commission Aide Stephanie Rosendorf used her County e-mail account to promote a January candlelight vigil organized by AHF. Rosendorf and AHF Legislative Director Ebonni Bryant a members of the progressive New Leaders Council (NLC) which supports the AHF project.
Last weekend, a Sun-Sentinel story described the sudden popularity of “granny flats.” These shed-like buildings are being promoted by left-wing groups as a solution to the affordable housing crisis. Their theory behind “granny flats” is there is plenty of land in peoples backyards to accommodate the placement of these “mother-in-law cottages.” These groups hope to change local laws which ban theses “alternative dwelling units.”
Commissioner Nan Rich told the Sun-Sentinel it is time to change the law. “To solve the affordable-housing crisis, we’re going to have to use multiple options,” Rich said. “Just because it hasn’t been done here yet, it’s not a reason for us not to try.”
Last year, Commissioner Nan Rich acknowledged there was no “silver bullet” solution to the affordable housing crisis. Instead, Rich endorsed a controversial multi-level plan pushed by County officials. The plan would drastically reshape the South Florida landscape.
The Nan Rich plan included the creation of the housing trust fund. The plan would allow for giant apartment complexes along major roads if the developers promised to charge lower rent to residents. The Rich plan allows the County to buy land which would then be given to developers if the build affordable housing on the land. Nan Rich even called for “Encouraging…golf courses and big-box centers be transformed into projects that combine commercial space, offices and mixed-income residential units.”
WELCOME TO WESTON?
The official Broward County Housing Plan states, “People of all income levels, in all of Broward’s communities, should have a range of housing options, and should have access to quality, affordable housing.”
One Broward city with an abundance of golf courses and big-box centers is Weston. It has access to fantastic public schools, parks, and medical facilities. It’s located near healthy food options and shopping. Located at the intersection of I-75, the Sawgrass Expressway and I-595, Weston has lots of transportation options for residents. Why should the homeless and those at-risk renters be forced to deal with all that downtown traffic? If they live out west they can save money shopping at Sawgrass Mills mall instead of overspending on the couture found at the Galleria and Las Olas.
Some say Weston would be the ideal for huge affordable apartment complexes.
According to Broward property records, Commissioner Nan Rich’s million-dollar estate is the perfect place for Granny Flats. Located on the greens of the exclusive Weston Hills Country Club, Nan Rich’s 4,000 sq. ft has plenty of room for the tiny homes. Satellite photos show the golf course behind the Rich home could accommodate dozens and dozens of granny flats.
Surely Nan Rich would agree the well-off members of the Weston Hills Country Club should give up memberships to help solve this crisis. After all, there are plenty of public golf courses around Broward, right?
BEACH FRONT LIVING?
If you are an affordable housing crisis victim who prefer the beach to the Everglades it is your lucky day. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis owns plenty of land on the eastside of town.
According to property records, Trantalis owns rental units near the 17th Street Causeway. Hopefully he is changing next to nothing in rent! A Trantalis owned building in Wilton Manors is currently home to a restaurant/bar. Surely, it could be repurposed to house the homeless, right Dean?
Like Nan Rich, Dean Trantalis’ Fort Lauderdale home has lots of room for granny flats. Google photos show the front yard could easily accommodate two units. Since the home is waterfront, residents would enjoy the ultimate peace and tranquility.
But if your solution to the affordable housing crisis includes beachfront living then Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steve Glassman can help.
Property records show Glassman lives in a luxury beach condominium with amenities galore. Does Glassman and his neighbors really need a pool when they live on the beach? Let’s tap that housing trust fund “lock box” to fill in that pool and replace it with granny flats. Since the beach near the building is not a tourist destination, let’s put up some beachfront granny flats.
Why should our political leaders keep the homeless penned up in sixteen-story towers filled with 200 sq.ft apartments? They have every right to enjoy all of Broward County.
During its 2018 campaign against California rent-control laws, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) highlighted the “local resistance” of several Los Angeles neighborhoods against gentrification. Videos by left-wing activists from the Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo and Leimert Park neighborhoods were posted on the AHF/ Healthy Housing Foundation YouTube channel. These activists blasted developers who dared to buy property in their long established neighborhoods.
“URBAN COLONIAL CAPITALISM”
In the first video, left-wing activists describe their efforts to stop an art gallery complex from being built in the predominantly Mexican-American Boyle Heights neighborhood. The activists describe the neighborhood as their “cultural home.” They say it’s a “space of resistance” to preserve their “working class” roots. One activist claims rich outsiders want to gentrify Boyle Heights by using an art gallery to raise property values. According to this activist, gentrification is a “new form of urban colonial capitalism.” Another activist claims her “culture [is] being robbed from me.” Both activists vow to “fight to the end.”
In the second video, the AHF/Healthy Housing Foundation visits with activists in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles. One activist describes how property in her “cultural center” is being “bought up by different cultures.” Another activist claims “collusion” between developers, “Big Capital” and local government to displace Japanese-Americans. He claims, “we’re the last of the Japanese-Americans!” To this activist, gentrification is “ethnic cleansing” and property developers are “perpetrators.” The activists vow to “build a massive political movement.”
“CULTURAL ERASURE/URBAN CLEANSING”
In the final video, a left-wing activist talks about his efforts to stop a shopping mall from being built in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Leimert Park in Los Angeles. Once again, the AHF/Healthy Housing Foundation highlights the demonization of real estate developers. The activists claims the Leimert Park “gentrification is basically cultural erasure, urban cleansing, a reduction of people and land into dollar signs.” The activist claims the “perpetrators of gentrification” are not limited to “global capitalists.” This activist even attacks “flippers looking to make a buck.” He says, “there is a target on every tenant” in Leimert Park.
Last month, REDBROWARD revealed the communist past of AHF CEO Michael Weinstein. In the 1960s, a fourteen years old Michael Weinstein joined a “group of activists occupying” a New York high-rise development to protest the gentrification of their Brooklyn neighborhoods. According to an April 2017 exposé in the New York Times Magazine, Michael Weinstein’s an “ex-Trotskyite” who founded one of California’s first gay communist organizations. After his move to Los Angeles in 1972, Weinstein started the “Lavender And Red Union.” In 1977, a socialist newspaper reported the Lavender And Red Union, “a self-proclaimed “communist’ gay liberation group…recently embarked upon a cautious ideological turn toward Trotskyism.” The socialist paper said the group’s call for a “permanent revolution” was “a clear break with the Stalinist/Maoist/New Left milieu from which we emerged.”
Weinstein went on to become an editor for “Young Spartacus,” the official newspaper of the Communist Spartacist League. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Young Spartacus produced the typical pro-Communist screeds. Headlines of the Young Spartacus blasted US attempts to undermine the Soviet Union or Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, while other stories praised unions and left-wing political groups.
Fifty years later, Michael Weinstein and his Healthy Housing Foundation declared war on gentrification in California. His Prop 10 initiative to modernize rent control measures was defeated by California voters. Weinstein blamed the defeat on being outspent by real estate interests and developers.
So Weinstein set his sights on building a sixteen-story tower filled with nearly 700 “micro units” on land owned by AHF in Fort Lauderdale.
During a December press conference at AHF headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Weinstein tried to blunt growing opposition to his pet project. The press conference was a public relations disaster. Weinstein attacked residents and the media for daring to ask him to verify aspects of his proposal.
Instead of compromise, Weinstein declared war on the residents of Fort Lauderdale and the media. He said, “We are as capable of waging a fight as anyone because People living with AIDS have face more discrimination and more hate than any other group.”
When asked about putting the project in a less residential area, Weinstein said, “Further from Rio Vista, is that what you’re saying? Further from the wealthy communities?”
Weinstein filled his remarks with the political language of an experienced communist newspaper editor. He said, “Will Fort Lauderdale…and these other communities of great wealth, continue to be places that are hospitable to people of low income or will these cities become, in essence, rich ghettos.”
Weinstein promised to maintain his opposition to development in Los Angeles. He said, “We have been against granting exemptions to luxury development in working class areas.”
Weinstein mocked residents who opposed his project because, “I see cranes everywhere. If the drawbridge goes up as soon as it involves poor people, it doesn’t speak well for the community.” He said, “Why is the luxury building going up? I see them everywhere.”
Weinstein tried to paint the opposition as bigots. He repeatedly said residents referred to not wanting “those people” living nearby. Weinstein refused to give specifics.
So why does Michael Weinstein support attacks on the rights of California property owners to develop their land in working class neighborhoods?
Weinstein’s Healthy Housing Foundation proudly boasted of the support it received from a “broad coalition” of fringe groups like the Democratic Socialists Of America while demonizing developers like the Blackstone Group.
Last month, Weinstein joined Sen. Bernie Sanders at The Sanders Institute Gathering to discuss his “radical” plans to change Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. Once again, Michael Weinstein’s ideas were filled with the coded language favored by the far-left activists featured in the AHF/Healthy Housing Foundation videos.
Michael Weinstein proposed putting micro houses (aka granny units) in everyone’s backyard. “Our nation is filled with backyards,” he said.
He called for the end of “speculative building” as well as a “crackdown on AirBnB that’s taken away a lot of housing stock.”
Weinstein said we must secure “housing for Americans” and not foreign investors “who are moving their money from one despotic country.”
Weinstein admitted this “sounds radical but it’s doable.”
Is Michael Weinstein proposing his own left-wing version of gentrification in Fort Lauderdale? He attacks “rich ghettos” like the Rio Vista neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale. Does Weinstein believe they have no right to launch a “local resistance” like the residents of Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo and Leimert Park?
Michael Weinstein lives in California but he supports attacks on “foreign” property owners and developers from “outside cultures.” Isn’t Michael Weinstein the outsider in this local issue? How does he know what Fort Lauderdale residents want? At his press conference, Weinstein admitted his view of Fort Lauderdale residents was shaped by election night coverage of Florida elections.
Local government types and elected officials are backing off of their support of the massive AHF project. But, why did they support it in the first place? A simple Google search reveals Michael Weinstein’s ideology and political goals. Do our elected officials perform any due diligence before meeting with investors or developers?
“Any community would welcome someone who would want to help with affordable housing and homelessness,” Trantalis said, “but nobody really felt this was going to be the final outcome.”
Why would the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance support the AHF project. According to its website, taxpayer-supported Alliance is a coalition of business and community leaders which acts as the “primary economic development organization for Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance focuses on creating, attracting, expanding and retaining high-wage jobs and capital investment in high value targeted industries, developing more vibrant communities, and improving the quality of life for our area’s citizens.” Did the Alliance do any research before lending its name to the AHF project? When Weinstein announced the project last June, the Alliance logo was prominently featured on a banner behind him. Didn’t anyone Google the developments Weinstein and Healthy Housing Foundation were starting in California? Does the Greater Fort Lauderdale support rent-control in Broward County? Does the Alliance agree with Weinstein’s attacks on foreign ownership of local property? If so, that might come as a surprise to our friends from Canada and South America. What about Weinstein’s plan to use private backyards to house the homeless and senior citizens? Does the Alliance back putting these “micro houses” in Victoria Park or Coral Ridge neighborhoods? Does the Alliance share Weinstein’s opposition to AirBnB and similar groups operating in Broward County?
On Thursday, the Alliance also backed away from its support of Weinstein’s “Trantalis Tower.” According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Bob Swindell, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, which was listed in an AHF email as a supporter, said he was ‘deeply disappointed in the lack of receptivity shown by AHF in building a strong base of local support.'”
Why didn’t Mr. Swindell or Mayor Trantalis speak to local residents before giving their support to Michael Weinstein of California? Why did it take Weinstein’s declaration of war on Fort Lauderdale residents to get these men to act?