The tragic events that took place in Orlando this month have hit very close to home for many of us. We know that 49 people died and many more were left wounded in this senseless attack on Pulse Nightclub. Beyond that, much has been left to speculation as to what the true motivations of the shooter were, and what could have been done to possibly stop this attack.
I know that Broward County has always prided itself on being an inclusive home, open and welcome to those who come here in search of a better life. We cannot forget that this was an attack on a Latin Night at a Gay Nightclub, during Pride Month. We cannot ignore the fact that this was an act of hate and intolerance. That is why our community must remain open and inclusive, welcoming to all who choose to call this place home. No matter what race, national origin, language, gender identity, sexual orientation may separate us from our neighbors, we must join with them to continue building a community. That is the only true victory over hate.
We also cannot allow these acts of violence and terror to overshadow the positive things that have happened over the last few weeks.
“My Next Move”
As the 2016 school year drew to a close, 400 graduating high school students in Broward County enjoyed a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the County’s largest employers and apply for their first job.
My Next Move Education, Career and Work Readiness Experience was created in collaboration with several community organizations. Working with the Washington Park Community Enhancement Collaboration, OIC of South Florida, CareerSource Broward, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Broward Chapter of Black Trade Unionists, Hispanic Unity of Florida, and the School Board, we invited 400 students across 4 high schools to the My Next Move career fair at McArthur High School in Hollywood. We asked the principals at each of the 4 high schools to pick 100 graduating students who didn’t have plans to attend college in the fall, yet showed the greatest potential for growth. Those students were then invited to work on career building skills with OIC of South Florida, Career Source Broward and Hispanic Unity of Florida, so that they could show up to the My Next Move fair dressed for success, with materials in hand.
From there, we brought together local colleges, unions, HR directors, and industry leaders from firms that do the most business within Broward County. We filled a gymnasium with everything from giant construction firms, to the plumbers and pipefitters union, to the leaders in the South Florida Aviation, Tourism and Marine industries, to the armed services and everything in between. We wanted to focus on job opportunities that paid a living wage or provided real opportunity for growth. We wanted to expose these graduates to the best that Broward had to offer. Each firm at My Next Move had open positions that only required a high school diploma.
I was hoping for students to leave this event with at least one or two contacts to follow up with in the coming weeks. To my surprise, some of our graduates walked out with job offers in hand. In fact, one company, Master Concessionair, made 13 offers to graduates that day.
As we often say at the County Commission meetings, Broward is an amazing place to be. Our unemployment rate has been consistently below the state average for the last few years, and we continue to grow year after year in population and median household income. Yet, we don’t ask enough of our giants of industry to focus on recruiting those students and graduates who are most likely to stay here in South Florida and need the opportunity of a first time job.
My hope is that My Next Move will grow to become an annual event for the graduates throughout Broward County.
View the video summary of the event from
OIC South Florida on YouTube
View photos from this event
Surtax Discussion on Local 10’s This Week in South Florida with Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg
The County, working with our partners in all of the 31 cities, has put an item on the November ballot asking the voters to authorize an optional “penny sales tax.” One penny of sales tax in Broward County can bring in $300 Million over the course of a year, and we want to invest that money in Infrastructure and Transportation projects. After months of work, the County will propose one half-penny for Regional Transportation projects and the Cities will propose one half-penny for infrastructure projects.
This makes the most sense, the Cities have greater immediate needs for capital spending on Infrastructure, and the County needs to begin investing heavily in expanded Transportation services. According to the agreement, after the first 20 years, the County would then receive a greater share of the Infrastructure money, which we would put towards expanding rail lines.
Mayor of Weston, Dan Stermer, and I sat down this past Sunday to speak about this with Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg on
Local 10’s This Week in South Florida.
Building a City-County Partnership to Achieve 75% Recycling
Thank you Mayor Peter Bober and the Hollywood City Commission for asking me to come to speak on Solid Waste Disposal Issues at the Wednesday June 15th Commission Meeting.
As I’ve been working on issues related to Solid Waste Disposal over the last year, I knew that there would come a point where it would be necessary to begin to bring in the experts. I believe that we have reached that point. This is why I brought an item before the County Commission to work with the cities that were part of the old Resource Recovery System to bring in a team of consultants. This will be a shared cost operation to specifically look into the Alpha 250 Property.
Alpha 250 is a small parcel of land in Pompano Beach, which is zoned for the construction of a new Solid Waste Facility. This land is owned by the 26 cities which were part of the old Resource Recovery System, and I am working with those cities to make sure that this land stays in public hands.
If the cities maintain ownership of this land, we can work together to build a publicly owned recycling facility. I think a publicly owned recycling plant on this site could really change the game when it comes to our overall recycling rates throughout the County.
At the June 14th Commission Meeting, the Broward County Commission voted to expand the Homestead Exemption for Seniors in Broward County. This would allow our residents over the age of 65 whose household earns $28,482 a year or less to double their Homestead Exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.
By allowing seniors to double their homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000, where those seniors earn $28,482 a year or less in their household, we can make sure that the most vulnerable residents can choose to stay at the homes that they have owned and occupied for decades. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be for a resident of Century Village, Hollybrook, Hillcrest or any other 55+ Community in Broward County to have to consider leaving their home, their friends, and the community that sustains them. The County’s office of Management and Budget estimate that 10,000 seniors across the county could directly benefit from this policy.
To find out more about how to file for your homestead exemption in Broward County, please visit -
The TutorMate Online Literacy Program is a program founded by the nonprofit,
Innovations for Learning, which now has over 3,000 online reading tutors across the country. Most of the tutors are like you and me, full-time professionals from over
120 different corporations, who volunteered to read 30 minutes per week with a first grade student.
Volunteering as a tutor through TutorMate to help a 1st grade student has been one of the best experiences of this year. TutorMate allows volunteer tutors to set up a time each week to work one on one over the phone with a student who needs individual attention to learn to read. The TutorMate program allows me to share a screen with the student, and after a quick game or two of Tic-Tac-Toe, we would work through 15 minutes of coursework.
We held an end of year celebration where we got to meet our students at Broward Estates Elementary School in Lauderhill. I have to thank all of my colleagues throughout Broward County’s agencies who took the time to tutor students. We could all see the absolute delight on our student’s faces when they finally met the tutors that they had spent several months working with over the phone.
Broward currently has 17 organizations working with 170 students in 14 schools. We need to expand the tutor base for the 2016-17 academic year in order to impact more students, and this is the time to sign up as a tutor for the upcoming school year.
If you and your company can put together a team of ten employees to give just 30 minutes each week to read with students, without having to leave your office, I invite you to join me in this effort. Contact Kim Whitten at Innovations for Learning at (813) 404-8319 or
email@example.com, and tell her I sent you.
If you would like to see more of the
photos of the Broward County tutors at the end of
the year party, visit.
2016 Point in Time Homeless Count Info for Broward County
You can read more about this at the websites for the Broward Regional Health Planning Council’s
Homeless Initiative Partnership.
“Housing First” Landlord Recruitment Initiative to end Homelessness in Broward County
The Point-in-Time Homeless Count this year shows that our community is making progress in helping those who are experiencing homelessness, however, there is much more work to do. We know that the most effective way to end homelessness is a “Housing First” program that gets individuals into permanent housing as quickly as possible. This program has been successful here in Broward County, but we need to find more landlords who have vacant properties.
Landlord Recruitment Initiative
If you are a landlord with properties to rent, you are invited to participate in the Landlord Recruitment Initiative.
- As a landlord, you will receive a fair and reasonable rent.
- Security deposit and last month’s rent are paid up front.
- Timely rent payments are guaranteed.
- Tenants are pre-screened and must demonstrate a commitment to achieving self-sufficiency.
- Families and veterans are pre-qualified.
- Case managers are available to assist landlords and tenants.
For more information on how you can help end homelessness Broward County, contact:
Broward Outreach Center
Rachel Edwards, Housing Navigator
Chantel Pierre, Housing Navigator
Diversified Aviation Groundbreaking at North Perry Airport
Commissioner Furr, Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis, Broward College President David Armstrong, and Pembroke Pines Commissioner Jay Schwartz breaking ground for the Broward College Aviation Institute at North Perry Airport
I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend the Groundbreaking Ceremony at North Perry Regional Airport in Pembroke Pines, as Diversified Aviation and Broward College began the construction of what will be a brand new Aviation Institute building. This work is part of the overall expansion of the Broward College Aviation Institute, which has had a significant wait list over the last few years.
It is great that the County was able to help to make this happen. We know that aviation continues to be a growth industry in South Florida. By making it easier for students to train here, we can ensure that our workforce can seize the best opportunities for good paying jobs when they graduate.
Hispanic Unity of Florida Preschool Graduation
Thank you again to Josie Bacallao, President & CEO of Hispanic Unity of Florida, for inviting me to their preschool graduation ceremony. Hispanic Unity provides one of the best early childhood education programs, and I could not help but feel moved by their cap and gown ceremony.
Speaking about County Issues with Elaine Kugelman on Pembroke Pines’ OCTV
I want to thank Elaine Kugelman, the producer of
Pembroke Pines’ “Our City TV” for asking me to come and
speak about several County Issues affecting the
residents of Pembroke Pines. You can watch the video in
its entirety on
City of Hallandale Beach Celebrates America at its Annual South City Beach Park Celebration
On Saturday June 25th the City of Hallandale Beach hosted the annual Celebrate America day at the South City Beach Park.
View photos from this celebration
Come Celebrate July 4th
City of Pembroke Pines
Celebrate the Fourth of July by attending the City of Pembroke Pines Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Show at the Pines Recreation Center Festival Grounds, 7400 Pines Boulevard in Pembroke Pines on Monday, July 4, 2016 from 6:00 until 9:00p.m. Admission and Parking are FREE! Festival Grounds open at 6:00pm. In addition we will have the Food Truck Roundups, FREE rides for children, a children’s area, a live band and also our spectacular Fireworks Show begins at 9:00p.m. NO coolers, pets or fireworks permitted. Bring your own blankets and lawn chairs.
For more information visit
City of Hollywood
The much anticipated summertime treat of spending the day on the beach with a gathering of family and friends is on its way. Preparations are underway for a fun and music filled day on Monday, July 4th from 2 – 10p.m. The award-winning Blue Wave beach is ready to welcome you. Pick your fun along the beach at Charnow Park’s splash pad, beach games, relaxing under umbrella or grab your favorite percussion instrument to play along with beachside entertainers. The celebration concludes with a star spangled offshore fireworks display at 9p.m.
As we strive to enhance public safety during City of Hollywood Special Events, Alcoholic Beverages, Backpacks, Canopies /Tents, Horns and Pets should be left safe at your home.
Personal fireworks of all types, sparklers, glass containers, coolers, and barbecue grills are prohibited on the beach and will be confiscated by Hollywood Police.
For more information, and a complete list of
Our district office is conveniently located in the lobby of the Hollywood Branch of the Broward County Public Library at 2600 Hollywood Blvd,
next to Hollywood City Hall. This office is open for your convenience Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, or you have a great idea, suggestion or an issue that needs my attention,
feel free to call me at 954-357-7006/7790 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.