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Hardin Best Choice to Lead Pompano BY JEFF LEVINE The opinions expressed by columnists are solely their opinions and do not reflect the opinions of Pompano! magazine, Point Publishing or their affiliates.
WITH POMPANO BEACH MAYOR LAMAR FISHER OPTING TO RUN FOR BROWARD COUNTY COMMISSION, THIS NOVEMBER, residents will be choosing a new mayor for the first time in over a decade. This important election will determine the direction Pompano Beach goes from here. The campaign has been tremendously tense and controversial. I reached out to the mayoral candidates and other prominent city leaders to get their take on this year’s election. Full transcripts of their replies will be posted online at pointpubs.com. This column summarizes my findings and perspective. REX HARDIN District three commissioner Rex Hardin has 12 years experience on the commission and has been well-positioned to understand the difficulties the City has faced to get Pompano Beach to where it is now. He will likely continue to lead the City on a path similar to the one laid out by current Mayor Lamar Fisher. Hardin told me he values Fisher’s “ability to gain consensus respectfully” and believes Fisher’s “level of stability has paid tremendous dividends to the community.” Hardin is big on consensus building. He is troubled by the tenor of this year’s campaign and says, “it’s unfortunate when local elections deteriorate to this level. We are neighbors and we will continue to see each other after Nov. 6.” MICHAEL SOBEL Some prominent Pompano Beach community leaders I spoke to (who asked to remain anonymous) said that Michael Sobel “looks to tear things apart but doesn’t offer solutions,” “is impossible to work with,” and believes that “nothing is good unless it was his idea.” These three statements sum up the sentiment I have heard since he joined the Commission and,
from my personal experiences with him, seem accurate. Sobel and I have emailed back and forth regarding city issues I have written about in the past. In March, I was working on a piece about major changes in the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). I sent him an e-mail seeking a response to some feedback I had received from a reader. In my reporting of the issue, a source inside city hall also told me Sobel had an interest in approving lower dollar expenses than the Commission normally approved. I wanted to confirm if this was accurate and wondered if perhaps Sobel was concerned there had been misappropriations. He responded: “Thank you for the opportunity but I do not ... broadcast my concerns and intentions in the press when I perform my duties as Commissioner, although I understand you are primarily a glossy advertising forum, rather than a factual information source. Also, please provide me with the name(s) of the person(s) that provided you with the content.” - Michael Sobel Sure, Sobel has the right to refuse to answer specific questions, but do we really want a mayor who will not discuss his “concerns and intentions in the press” relating to his positions and actions, especially one who makes “transparency” a central point of his campaign? His attitude toward the press also reminds me of tweets from a certain President. I’m not sure we want a mayor who would create an environment in Pompano Beach similar to what we have now in Washington. And, I don’t think we want a mayor who responds to legitimate questions with insults and defensiveness. Ask around, that seems to be Sobel’s style. Since receiving this reply from Sobel, he no longer communicates with me at all. In fact, he was the only mayoral candidate who did not respond to a simple questionnaire I sent out in regards to the election. Sobel also seems to have deleted me from his monthly commissioner’s newsletter >>>