District 9 Accomplishments:
Hello My Friends,
I hope that you have a moment for an update on all that is taking place in our community. We have reached many milestones and have achieved some major accomplishments since my taking office November 16, 2010.
The Broward County Commission held a workshop to discuss the 2010 Disparity Study. The purpose of the study was to examine the past and current status of women and minority owned businesses in Broward County. The NERA economic consulting firm was hired to determine if current race and gender neutral programs have eliminated discrimination.
After a two year preliminary investigation, NERA did find statistical and anecdotal evidence of discrimination against women and minority businesses in Broward County’s relevant market area. The study also noted that the availability of women and minority businesses was substantially lower than in a commercial marketplace free from discrimination. There was also a significant gap in earnings.
As promised, I have been aggressive and persistent in bringing about change that has increased business opportunities for minorities and women including sponsoring a change in our Procurement code that allows for small business to have sheltered contracting opportunities.
Trinidad Trade Mission
Last year, I led a delegation of 20 people to Trinidad and Tobago on a trade mission to encourage trade and develop profitable business relationships with the Caribbean nation. They are the wealthiest Caribbean nation in terms of per capita income. Trinidad companies already do business with our airport and Port Everglades. There are key business opportunities in areas such as alternate energy and wholesale items that Broward County can benefit from. The Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is ranked 28th among Florida’s top 50 merchandise trading partners with total trade valued at an estimated $914 million in 2010. Exports from South Florida to the twin island nation totaled $850-million last year.
Pompano Beach Clean-up and Beautification
In partnership with Volunteer Broward, Pompano Beach City Officials, local sponsors and volunteers, a series of beautification projects has taken place throughout District 9, beginning with Collier City. Work in the community included trash pick-up, landscaping vacant lots, planting flowers, shrubs and trees and repairing homes that have had previous code violations.
On the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, We organized a Social Services Fair at Blanche Ely High School. Social Service organizations such as 2-1-1 Broward, and Minority Builders Association discussed the services they provide to those in need of assistance.
The goal is to bring these vital service providers together under one roof to educate people about what they do and to discuss what’s available. We need to increase community awareness and outreach to Broward residents.
“Commissioner Holness, during his campaign promised me that he would bring change to this section of Pompano Beach. I’m going to hold him to that promise.” Ms. Jones means it. “This is my passion, to bring this neighborhood back to what it once was. This is my Dream.”
Black History Month Exhibit Display downstairs in the Government Center
Through my efforts, Black History Month was celebrated in February with an exhibit entitled "From Slavery to the White House" in the Broward County Governmental Center lobby. In addition, Samuel F. Morrison, former Broward Library Director and driving force behind the creation of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, received a special proclamation from the County Commission naming today as "Samuel F. Morrison Appreciation Day.”
Charles Drew Students Get a Lesson in Governance.
Approximately 50 students from Charles Drew Elementary School attend the Broward County Commission meeting; they also had the opportunity to tour the “From Slavery to the White House” exhibit. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders!
Community Partnership & Economic Growth Opportunities Forum
I hope that you were among the many people who attended the Community Partnership and Economic Growth Forum for small and local businesses. This forum showcased future business opportunities at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as the airport goes through a $1.5 billion dollar capital improvement and renovation during the next 5 years. Thanks to those who did attend.
Sister Cities Visit Broward County
I would like to thank all our Sister City leaders who promote the many Sister City relationships Broward County municipalities have. What you do has a very direct benefit to Broward and the region. My thanks also to Broward College, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and Broward County for sponsoring The Sister City Forum and Reception. Thank you to our distinguished Panelists and our Moderator for the evening, Bob Swindell, President/CEO of The Greater Fort Lauderdale Business Alliance.
Legacy Magazine Legend of the Year Awards
I was honored to be awarded the "Public Official of the Year" and one of the "50 Most Powerful Black Professionals in South Florida" by Legacy Magazine. A committee of community leaders and business executives chose the top 50 black professionals from nominations that were submitted by their peers.
Among the accomplishments noted in Legacy Magazine:
- Involved in talks with Caribbean Airlines to bring service to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. "We're discussing the possibility of making Fort Lauderdale a major North American hub," Commissioner Holness said.
- Participated in trade mission to Trinidad and Tobago. "The focus is on tourism and businesses from out of town to grow the economy," said Holness.
- Hosted a Community Partnership and Economic Growth Forum with more than 400 people in attendance. Commissioner Holness states: "I wanted people to know what business opportunities exist with the $1.2 billion airport expansion and how to register as a vendor to participate in Broward's $3.2 billion annual budget."
Ambassador Audrey P. Marks Visits Broward County
It was an honor to welcome Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Honorable Audrey P. Marks, to Broward County on her first official visit. Broward Commissioners greeted Ambassador Marks at an April Commission meeting and I presented her with a proclamation. Many business meetings were held that I’m sure will result in economic development opportunities in Broward County. She is the first female Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, appointed to the office in July 2010. She is the founder of Paymaster Limited, the first multi-transaction agency in the Caribbean. She is the first female President of the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM).
April 30 Roosevelt Gardens
Community Clean-up at Roosevelt Gardens was a success! Thanks to all the volunteers and people who made it happen!
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary Students visit Broward County
Commissioners and staff accommodated the students from Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary, and they had a wonderful time. One student said, “I don’t want to leave 2nd grade so I could keep coming back here.” I truly believe everyone made a difference in the future direction of these children’s lives.
At the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic school year, the Kiwanis Club of Lauderhill Eagles volunteered once again at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School to work with the second graders through Kids and the Power of Work (KAPOW). The Kiwanis Club conducted monthly visits to talk, counsel and present the second graders with information, skills and alternative ways of looking at and analyzing their lives at this moment in time. The KAPOW program lasts the length of the school year, and its finale assembles a field trip for the students. The field trip mobilizes the kids as it takes them into a functioning professional work space and allows them to observe the practicality of a workday. KAPOW is dear to my heart because it’s a project I started in four schools within District 9 while I was Commissioner in the City of Lauderhill. I will continue to support this program because it brings endless value to our children and community.
Saturday, June 25, 2011, on behalf of Broward County Mayor Sue Gunzburger and the Board of County Commissioners, I was honored to present The Honorable Joseph Michel Martelly, President of the Republic of Haiti, with a Key to the County and a Proclamation in honor of his first official visit to South Florida.
9/11 National Day of Service
As part of the 2011 9/11 National Day of Service and the HandsOn Network’s 9/11 Week of Service campaign, Volunteer Broward (a HandsOn Network Affiliate) will be facilitating volunteer projects throughout the week leading up to Sunday 9/11/2011. I have partnered with Volunteer Broward and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary to present a day of memorial, celebration, and service.
Volunteers will be creating a memorial garden (with plaque, tree centerpiece) for those who were lost on 9/11. Participants will also be decorating large thank you poster-murals made for local Fire and Police departments, as well as local veterans groups.
There will also be disaster preparedness information and resources for families and individuals who attend.
The event will take place:
Sunday, September 11,
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary
591 N.W. 31st Ave., Lauderhill
Florida International Trade & Cultural Expo
Please be assured that in my ongoing passion and effort to improve economic strength and job creation, I will work tirelessly to make Broward County the center for trade in Florida to the world, especially Latin America and the Caribbean. In doing so, my goal is to join the world in celebrating World Trade Month during the month of May, 2012. As a result, over the next several months, my staff will work on the initial planning phase of a Florida International Trade & Cultural Expo, slated for May 22 to May 25, 2012. Please stay tuned for more information.
In closing, let me express a heartfelt thanks to my constituents and supporters for having the confidence and trust in electing me to the Broward County Commission – District 9. Remember to update your voter’s registration if you have moved and be ready to ROCK the VOTE in 2012.
A special thanks to my office staff Lavern Deer, Natalie Levy and John Beckford. Thank you to my Advisory Council Coordinator, Clyve Webster and the entire Council, for their dedication in addressing the needs of our citizens. Kudos to all of the county staff, volunteers and interns that have graciously helped the District 9 Team along the way. We have done much since November, but there is much more to do. Stay tuned. Stay engaged. “Together we can do better!”
Broward County - “Our BEST, Nothing Less!”