Coral Springs Candidates Get Candid on Issues Affecting the City

By: Sharon Aron Baron

A special election for a new city commissioner will be held in June 18, and six residents have stepped up for the plate and have qualified to run.

After Dan Daley announced his bid for State House – which he ultimately won uncontested, Seat 2 became open.  

In this interview, we asked the candidates about their passions, hurricane preparedness, if their faith will or will not play a role in decisions on public policy, and the number one issue facing businesses today in Coral Springs.

Shawn Cerra

Shawn Cerra

A resident of Coral Springs for over 25 years. Shawn Cerra is a 1989 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School earning his bachelor’s degree in social science education from the University of South Florida in Tampa.  He later went on to earn his master’s degree in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University.

Beginning his career with Broward County Public Schools as a teacher, he served as an assistant principal/intern principal at Western High followed at Cypress Bay, and then was the principal of J.P. Taravella from 2002-2016.  In 2016, he was promoted to serve as director of athletics and student activities for BCPS. Cerra has raised $20,326 which includes a loan to himself for $5,500.

How will your work background be an asset for the city commission?

As a school administrator for the past 22 years, I’ve been fortunate to build lasting relationships with thousands of city residents who still live here today. The most important component of any successful organization is hiring/electing the right people, while acknowledging the power of human capital. If elected, I will effectively collaborate and communicate with city staff while consistently making myself available to hear the thoughts and ideas of all residents.  

What have you seen or learned about the commission since you have been a candidate? 

Since March, I’ve had the opportunity to meet individually with the four sitting members currently serving on our city’s commission. I’ve been impressed with their professionalism and personal commitment to move this great city forward. They all have different points of views with regards to the future of our city, but the one thing that resonates in all of them is their deep sense of responsibility.

What should a city’s priorities be after a hurricane? 

The immediate priority needs to be safety: keeping people off the streets, working with necessary agencies to ensure roads are passable, and so forth. The next—and bigger—challenge, once cleanup is complete, is to rebuild/repair the right way and making sure we’re up to code in all aspects. Flooding is frequently a problem in many of our neighborhoods, so making sure we help alleviate further issues that stem from this should also be a priority.

What do you see as the number one issue facing businesses today in Coral Springs and as a commissioner do you have a plan to deal with this issue?  

City policies and regulations. I want to coordinate measures and ease burdensome regulations by making the city resources that already exist more accessible. I would also look to enhance our small business plan by better connecting our county and city assets. Zoning, planning and code enforcement policies need to be tailored towards business development and success; not be a hindrance and a major obstacle for a business to succeed.

What is your passion for the city and how does that fit into the city’s budget? 

If elected, I will work hard to enhance safety protocols and procedures within all of our schools (public, private, and charter). We must create a school safety collation within the City of Coral Springs that includes the School Board of Broward County. We must develop, manage, train and debrief regularly with regards to preemptive response expectations, local access control, hardening of classrooms/common areas and on-site response times.  Furthermore, I want to initiate a city-wide campaign, inclusive of all ages, for Stopping the Bleed and CPR Training. Many of my ideas to improve school safety come with no financial costs to the City. 

What role will your faith play in your decisions on public policy? 

My faith is very important to me, however, my faith will play no part in my decision making with regards to city policy. In my opinion, church and state need to remain separate in order to truly represent all of our residents. 

How influential do you perceive yourself to be? 

I enjoy being around people. I truly see this position as an opportunity to give back. Being a leader can be difficult at times, and I promise to stay true to myself while treating all residents with respect. Our residents need to be heard by leaders who are serving for all of the right reasons. I have no political aspirations beyond this seat. I will work hard each and every day to earn our residents’ trust and confidence.

How true to your values do you think that you can remain under pressure from various interest groups? 

I will not compromise who I am or what I stand for. Ever. I will thoroughly research each item brought before the commission while seeking input before casting my vote, and I’ll do so with absolutely no strings attached.  

What significant commission decisions in the last 12 to 24 months do you endorse, support, or disagree with?   

Respectfully, in order for me to answer this question honestly and with conviction, I would need to be knowledgeable of all the facts, pros and cons, and have been provided the necessary data that went into their decision making; therefore, I support the outcomes of the individual votes that have been casted and honor the outcome of the finalized vote. I do have my own opinions on each issue, but to endorse, support or disagree with the current commission would be inappropriate at this time.

Why should residents vote for you?  

I’m a proud 25 year resident of Coral Springs. I feel I have the deepest ties to our city. As a former high school principal in Coral Springs, I’ve attended city commission meetings for many years—learning and enforcing city policies. I’ve worked closely with our fire and police departments to run a 3,000+ student body. I’ve partnered with many of our local businesses to ensure the best for my Taravella students and faculty, and to create job opportunities and mentorships for the kids. I’ve run a National School of Excellence on a very limited budget. I’ve been in the trenches, worked tirelessly, and celebrated the highs along with my Taravella family. And when elected, I cannot wait to extend that same passion to our entire city. I hope I get that chance.

Melissa Cipriano

Melissa Cipriano

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and raised in New York and Connecticut, Melissa Cipriano has lived in Coral Springs for eight years. She earned a dual engineering degree from the University of Connecticut in mechanical engineering and materials science and went on to work for a nuclear energy company, a major airline, and a military contract aerospace company before moving to Coral Springs. She completed her MBA in marketing just after her second child was born at Post University, an online college, in Waterbury, CT.  Since January, she has raised less than $500 for her campaign.

How will your work background be an asset for the city commission?

My work background helped mold me into a responsible, customer focused and hard working person. My performance was evaluated and graded on a yearly basis. This would determine not just my pay raise and bonuses, but my future within the company. These evaluations provided great motivation to succeed and perform. I used the feedback I received from my bosses to better myself and improve my work performance. The greatest feedback I received was to always treat my customers as #1. This meant maintaining an open line of communication with them on a regular basis to ensure they know that they are valued and prioritized. This kept them content and our working relationship intact.

As city commissioner, I intend to continue using my work background and experience to treat everybody as my customer whom I am there to serve. Most importantly, I will listen and maintain open and honest lines of communication.

What should a city’s priorities be after a hurricane?

After a hurricane, a city’s priority should be to ensure the safety of the citizens. This includes ensuring communication lines are open and available for emergency and rescue services, evaluating the damage and prioritizing work, ensuring power and water sources are available as quickly as possible and creating a safe place/shelter for those in need.

What do you see as the number one issue facing businesses today in Coral Springs and as a commissioner do you have a plan to deal with this issue?

The number one issue facing businesses today is the high rent value of Coral Springs. I have seen several businesses move out of Coral Springs due to the increasing rent costs. As commissioner, I would work to figure out why and possibly offer some incentives for businesses to stay in and come to Coral Springs.

What is your passion for the city and how does that fit into the city’s budget?

My passion for the city is to see it return to be the #1 city to live in the state of Florida as it once was. For this to happen, I would like to work on its beautification by improving parks and recreation, code enforcement, creating places for all age groups to gather and enjoy, but most of all, ensuring the safety of our citizens. I will work with the commission and review the budget carefully to ensure funds are being used and appropriated correctly.

What role will your faith play in your decisions on public policy?

While my faith is very important to me, I believe in the separation of church and state. I will not make policy decisions based on faith, but will be a steward of my faith by showing my character as a good, honest and transparent person treating everyone as I would want to be treated.

How true to your values do you think that you can remain under pressure from various interest groups?

One thing that I value about myself is my character in doing the right thing. My character defines who I am and I will not waver from doing what is right. I want people to see that they have an honest person whom they can trust working for them. I must remain true to them at all times. I realize that conflicts may arise between my values and other people or interest groups. In those situations, I must work toward a compromise, but without compromising my personal values.

What significant commission decisions in the last 12 to 24 months do you endorse, support, or disagree with?

I supported the decision to bring Costco Wholesale to Coral Springs. This will provide the city with a great tax revenue stream. I also endorse the city commission’s decision/desire to work on suicide prevention for vets.

I was not in support of the bond referendum on the ballot of the special election last March. This would have been a large tax burden on the people of Coral Springs.

Why should residents vote for you?

Residents should vote for me because I am a good representation of the average resident and am the candidate best in touch with everyday people. I am not a politician. I am a wife and mom of young kids who spends the majority of my time and money in Coral Springs. I am invested in the schools, shopping, leisure activities and daily life in Coral Springs. I have a servant’s heart and always willing to help and get involved with new projects. I am motivated and passionate. I can bring fresh, new ideas from a point of view that best represents those that many not often have a voice. I am eager to become city commissioner and represent the people of the great city of Coral Springs.

Randal Cutter

Randal Cutter

Randal Cutter has lived in the city for 18 years and is the president and senior pastor of New Dawn Community Church in Coral Springs.

Cutter graduated from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota in 1983, and is a 1987 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin where he received a master of divinity degree. He has done further post-graduate work at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi and Orlando. As of April 30, Cutter has raised $25,685 in donations including a $1,000 loan to himself.

How will your work background be an asset for the city commission?

My background before ministry was family business. I came to Coral Springs to start a church, and to become its business manager. I have been the business manager of the congregation for 32 years, managing significant budgets. In addition, I have been on over 70 transatlantic trips as a business consultant to European non-profits.

I know small business. My roles in managing the business end of a non-profit and helping develop organizations and ministries around the world have given me the practical skills necessary to analyze budgets, develop short- and long-term strategic plans, and help bring out the best in volunteers and employees.

What have you seen or learned about the commission since you have been a candidate?

I have attended many commission meetings, and even commission workshops, over the years, so I have been familiar with the commission’s role and its purpose. However, since becoming a candidate, I have been pleased by the genuine warmth that each commissioner has shown to the candidates who are running to fill seat two.

What should a city’s priorities be after a hurricane? 

Our primary focus before, during, and after a hurricane must be public safety. Our Emergency Management Department has detailed guidelines on how to respond to hurricanes at every intensity level. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, city departments must mobilize to assess damage, and provide rescue and recovery services as needed. As the scope of damage and the length of recovery becomes evident, the city’s response must encompass clearing of roadways, expediting restoration of electricity, checking on our most vulnerable residents, and providing emergency resources as appropriate and necessary.

What do you see as the number one issue facing businesses today in Coral Springs and as a commissioner do you have a plan to deal with this issue?  

Our business community, like everyone else, has sustained some fairly significant tax increases over the past two years. When the commission proposed adding another fee structure to businesses (and residences) at the end of last year, representatives of the Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Park asked the commission to delay implementing the fee so businesses can stabilize after the tax increases. The commission voted to move ahead with the fee structure in spite of this.

I am pleased by the efforts of the commission to support small and large business in our community, I also understand the realities of Coral Springs’ stretched budget. However, I don’t believe it helps business confidence when we substantially increase taxes, and then add even more fees on top of that.

What is your passion for the city and how does that fit into the city’s budget?  

While my primary competency lies in the realm of business and business management, my passion is about bringing people together in solid relationship in ways that help unify our community. That is why I have served as co-chair of the Clergy Coalition of Coral Springs and Parkland since 2002. That is why I have worked with the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee since 2004 bringing our diverse community together through the National Day of Prayer and other events. I am also adept at motivating volunteers to be involved in such endeavors and believe we can accomplish this type of unity in our community without increasing expenditures from our budget for these purposes. We have a wonderfully involved community that has demonstrated repeatedly that we are willing and able to get involved in making our community better together.

What role will your faith play in your decisions on public policy? 

No matter what a commissioner does for a living, and no matter what faith or secular philosophy they embrace, each commissioner takes an oath to uphold the United States Constitution, Florida’s constitution, and the city’s charter. While our faith or philosophy may teach us positive things, such as the value of every individual, and how to treat each individual as we would like to be treated, a commissioner represents all the people of Coral Springs, not just the adherents of his or her faith group.

How influential do you perceive yourself to be?  

The best way to assess influence is to look at the leadership roles held in the community. I have been in leadership roles in this community for 32 years, first, as the pastor of a local congregation, and then as co-chair of the Clergy Coalition of Coral Springs and Parkland since 2002. In that role, I have helped establish the Rapid Response to Hate Network, and have been deeply involved in the healing process since the tragedy at MSD. Our success in these endeavors was recently highlighted to me when the mayor of a neighboring city asked that I attend a luncheon to explain to leaders in her city how our coalition had achieved such impact in our community, and to paint a vision of what such a group could be in that city.

I have also participated in many leadership events in Coral Springs. One memorable one was the Visioning Summit in April of 2012. The city of Coral Springs invited community leaders to come together, assess current trends, and envision what the community would look like in ten years. It was a time for leaders to influence future plans and development in Coral Springs.

How true to your values do you think that you can remain under pressure from various interest groups?      

No one really knows the answer to this question until after they are elected and face those groups. However, over 32 years as a leader in this community, I have been confronted with many opportunities to compromise my values, and to this point have not done so.

What significant commission decisions in the last 12 to 24 months do you endorse, support, or disagree with?   

I was at the commission meeting in September of 2017, when the commission enacted a tax increase of approximately 24 percent. While a tax increase was certainly necessary in view of the economic realities and the lack of business development that had occurred in previous years, I’m not certain we needed to pass such a massive increase in one step (followed by another six percent increase the following year). I suspect that, if I had been one of those commissioners, I would have been forced to vote for a significant increase of some type, but I believe the community as a whole would have been better served by increases over several years, rather than one massive increase.

Why should residents vote for you?

The breadth and depth of my resume indicates that I have been deeply involved in this city, working to improve and help it, for many years. I believe my business experience will bring benefit to our entire community as we attempt to help our small and large businesses prosper in ways that help our entire community prosper. My role in unifying this community demonstrates my commitment to bridge building and bringing our entire community together.

Diane Simpson

Diane Simpson

Diane Simpson has lived in Coral Springs for the past 30 years with her family after moving to Florida from New York. A CPA, she is also a real estate investor and manages rental properties in Ft. Lauderdale and Margate.  Simpson ran for the seat back in 2018, but lost against Dan Daley.  Her financial report lists $39,999.57 in contribution which includes a $30,000 to herself.

How will your work background be an asset for the city commission?

As a Certified Public Accountant, I will be able to dig into the numbers presented before the commission.  The budget is prepared by the staff and presented to the commission.  The commission is tasked with approving the budget. I will work closely with  my colleagues on the commission by being a financial eye to carefully review the budget and question spending.  I will work to hold the city manager accountable so that we can make sure that our taxpayer money is spent wisely. Over the past six years, the city’s operating budget has increased 31 percent. I am offering the city to have “occupational diversity” on the commission.  I would be the only financial person on the commission.  The annual budget it $201 million.  Add the $18 million capital budget for a total budget of $219 million.

What have you seen or learned about the commission since you have been a candidate?

I have attended many meetings over the last year, but I have read the minutes to most of the meetings over the last year.  However, as of May 3, 2019, there are no minutes posted online for: November, December 2018, January 2019, March 2019 et al.  How can interested parties know what is going on without the minutes being made available to the public and media if they are not posted timely?  Once elected, I will insist on timely posting of the minutes so that residents, businesses  and the media can be informed.  We must have transparency in government. 

What should a city’s priorities be after a hurricane?  

Safety

What do you see as the number one issue facing businesses today in Coral Springs and as a commissioner do you have a plan to deal with this issue?  

First of all, the 22 percent millage rate increase is not business friendly, it’s business hostile.  For the gas station, coffee shop, or rental apartment, that increase goes straight to the bottom line. How much of that increase can the landlord absorb?  It passes down to the tenants super hard.

The sign restrictions are just the beginning. For years, Coral Springs has limited the signage for businesses.  It’s a problem for businesses.  The permitting process needs to be fair and equitable.  I have heard stories about new business owners being put through the ringer to get a Certificate of Occupancy. Most people love code compliance – the part where the city looks great, nice medians, walkways, etc.  But, I have heard a lot of concerns about the punitive nature of fines both to residents and businesses.  One business told me about Code Enforcement telling them they were not allowed to have the vehicles in the back of the building where they were working on them for auto repairs.  The business owner complained to the main office and eventually he was permitted to conduct his auto repairs as intended in back of the building. Another thing, the city publishes numbers for new business licenses issued annually.  But, the info  should be presented  as a percentage change so that we can see if we are increasing as a whole, or decreasing.  Numbers are more meaningful if they can be compared to the past so that we can see the trend.

What is your passion for the city and how does that fit into the city’s budget?      

Coral Springs is a great place to live, work and raise a family. I would like to preserve what we have when it comes to the hometown, friendly feel. I want all the groups to be treated fairly with respect. We must be fair and equitable to all.

What role will your faith play in your decisions on public policy?  

Everything.  I have been a member of my faith my entire life.  Cheating and lying are wrong. I will not do that as a candidate, nor as a commissioner.  If the rules don’t make sense or are outdated, we need to take the time to update them. We are responsible for our own actions, regardless of what others have said or done. 

How influential do you perceive yourself to be?   

I am independent of the commission.  I have no business before the commission.  I have no real estate holdings in Coral Springs other than my home that I have lived in for more than 30 years.  I am honest, and will work with integrity and heart.

How true to your values do you think that you can remain under pressure from various interest groups?      

I am not financially connected to things in the city.  My income comes from my accounting and tax practice as well as personal real estate holdings.  After the  tragedy at Douglas High school (and a family member that died from gun violence years ago), I stepped up to help the community.   I am not doing this for myself, but rather to help the city.  I am a straight-talker, hard worker, and willing to help.  Our children were raised here and benefited from much that the city has to offer.  I am offering to help the city by being a financial person on the commission.  I know what it is like to have children go through public school. Our children attended Coral Springs schools. 

What significant commission decisions in the last 12 to 24 months do you endorse, support, or disagree with?   

Support: Passing the medical marijuana dispensaries. Disagree: 22 percent increase in the millage rate.

Our Total Taxable Assessed Value (TTAV) has gone up consistently for many years.  In the last 3 years, it has gone up 7 percent, 7 percent and 6 percent.  Our property tax revenue goes up naturally as a result of the higher property values.  We need to look at our spending and see where we can be more fiscally responsible.  Where can we cut some expenses?  For instance, can we move the City Hall in the Mall to the One Stop Shop at the new municipal complex, to save some expenses and possibly increase efficiencies?

Why should residents vote for you?

There has been great concern expressed by many of the residents with whom I have spoken about the recent increase in our millage rate 22 percent. I believe that our goal as commissioners should be to keep our millage rate as low as possible, while both ensuring fiscal responsibility and maintaining a high level of service to our citizens and businesses.  I commit to you to work towards that goal. As a certified public accountant, and active community leader, I bring proven leadership and special skills to improve our quality of life.  I am providing the voters with a choice.

Khurrum Wahid

Khurrum Wahid

Khurrum Wahid first lived in Coral Springs from 1999 to 2002, then moved to the New York City area while his wife completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology. They later moved back and have lived in the city for eight years.

After growing up in Toronto and attending the University of Toronto, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and macro economics, Wahid attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and is licensed to practice law in Florida, New York, and several federal, district and appellate courts. 

As partner at Wahid Vizcaino LLP, he  has had over 100 jury trials in a wide range of federal and state matters in civil, administrative and criminal fields. Wahid has raised the most money out of the candidates with $68,667 with no money loaned to himself.

How will your work background be an asset for the city commission?

As an attorney for the past 20 years, I have worked on complex trials at both the state and federal level as well as engaging in government affairs work with private companies, nonprofits, and advocacy groups.

In addition to being a partner in my law firm, I am also a small business owner. I run a technology consulting firm that works with the federal government to find high tech solutions to tough problems by connecting them to innovators across the country.  This innovation is a win-win because taxpayers benefit from the technology solution and small business innovators have the opportunity to commercialize their idea and help solve real problems. My work has allowed me to analyze issues and seek solutions that go to the root cause of a problem, not merely focus on the obvious symptoms.

I have also been able to work on legislative and constitutional issues over the years which would assist our city in turning policy into action while looking at the impact such policy would have on all sectors of the community here in Coral Springs. In the last 20 years, I have worked on over 1,000 cases, starting as a public defender and going on to work on a wide range of federal and state matters in civil, administrative, and criminal fields, cases that involve diverse communities, rich and poor, black and white. I have learned a great deal about people.  Ultimately this is the most important skill set for a city commissioner.

What have you seen or learned about the commission since you have been a candidate?

I had been following the work of the commission closely since the March 2018 bond measure was first proposed, so I had learned a lot in that time. The best decisions are made when the commission gets input from the widest scope of our citizens. Looking at the issue from all angles and really seeking the voice of those who may be impacted leads to the best result. Not everyone will be happy when the commission is faced with a tough decision, but when the commissioners listen to the public and seek expert input, they usually make the right choice for our city.

What should a city’s priorities be after a hurricane?

Immediately after a hurricane, we need to make sure people are safe and that the city is communicating vital information and updates to the residents. That is the top priority, and Coral Springs has been doing a great job over the last couple of years, especially in the aspect of providing frequent updates to the community in storm situations to make sure we all stay safe. Loss of power is an inconvenience to some but to others such as our elderly, loss of power can be life-threatening, especially in the hot months when a hurricane tends to strike. Safety can also look like examining areas of flooding, downed trees, and access to food. In severe hurricanes, priorities can include temporary shelter preparedness prior to the hurricane striking. After a storm, the city may look like a mess for a couple of days as we work together to take care of each other, clean up, and repair, but safety is the top priority, not aesthetics or convenience.

What do you see as the number one issue facing businesses today in Coral Springs and as a commissioner do you have a plan to deal with this issue?  

I love our city, but we are have not been business friendly over the years. As a small business owner, I would like to see us look closely at the city code to see how we can streamline our interaction with business, remove some hurdles for those businesses who are leaving due to our code enforcement, and find ways to use our code to allow the businesses to thrive. For example, it should not be a code violation to see a truck from the main street, Coral Ridge Drive, when talking about our industrial park.  That is what goes on in the industrial park, loading, and unloading of trucks.

Our signage guidelines need to be better in order to allow for the businesses to attract customers while still maintaining the attractive look of our city.  This is good for the business and our residents who are trying to consume goods and services here in town. We can do this and still prevent ostentatious or gaudy signage.

What is your passion for the city and how does that fit into the city’s budget?      

My passion is attracting young families to our city and creating a welcoming environment that families young and old will want to stay in. We are aging out both as a population and aesthetically, meaning updates needed throughout the city.  The city is already working in the right direction by setting aside some funds each budget cycle for improving our streets, upgrading our visual appearance. 

I have reviewed the budget and am confident that we can continue to put more resources into this activity. We need to make road repairs happen quicker as this is not only an inconvenience for our residents, it can kill traffic to our local businesses. Improving our parks can also be done within our current budget. 

We need to seek public-private partnerships to have our businesses adopt a park, help us upgrade the facilities and be able to attract young families back to Coral Springs. Our programming for seniors can be improved without extra costs. I would like to implement a “Project Intergen” which brings our high school kids together with our seniors to learn from each other. When I visited our seniors center it was clear they would benefit from engagement with the younger generation and our high school kids could be involved while also earning community service hours. I do not foresee the need to increase taxes in order to achieve these goals of making our city better for all.

What role will your faith play in your decisions on public policy?

While faith is a part of many people’s lives and there is a great diversity of faith beliefs within our city, I do not think it should directly inform our decisions on public policy. As a constitutional lawyer, I am a strong proponent of the separation of church and state, and I will be a fierce advocate for all Coral Springs residents.

How influential do you perceive yourself to be?

If I take the term “influential” to mean impactful, then I would say very. I believe with a legal background, my overall life experience, and my clear vision for Coral Springs future, I can play a very influential role in this city. 

How true to your values do you think that you can remain under pressure from various interest groups?      

My values are families first. I do not think any interest group can change that.  Make no mistake, we have difficult decisions to make in this city. Not everyone will be happy. We have to address questions about the future of the city together. Are we going to be a sleepy bedroom community, is the future in multi-family construction, or are we headed in a different direction? Are we working toward a common vision or are we separate and disconnected communities?  I am dedicated to working to bring all of us together as we determine who Coral Springs will be in 20 years. Then, if we move as a collective, we do not have to worry about the pressure of interests groups because we will have a cohesive vision of where we are going. If a decision does not move us in that direction it should not be a priority. 

What significant commission decisions in the last 12 to 24 months do you endorse, support, or disagree with?   

I have been an outspoken supporter of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Coral Springs. I went before the commission on March 6 of this year to advocate that the commission approve the motion to allow these businesses into our city. I’m glad that the commission voted in favor of the motion on both readings.  I did not support the 23 percent tax increase in 2018. I also did not support the March 2018 bond measure. Decisions must be based on the cohesive vision for the city; we are not there yet.

I do support the new modern playground at Mullins Park and others like it; we need more of these updates throughout the city, and that is why a big part of my platform is improving our city’s parks.

Why should residents vote for you?

As a father and small business owner, improving our community is my top priority. As an experienced lawyer and community advocate, I have the experience and abilities to actually make this happen, alongside all of you, as your next city commissioner.

As city commissioner, I’ll work to update our parks, support our police department with body cameras and public safety measures, promote family programming and smart, small business-friendly economic development. I have a vision of what Coral Springs could and should be, and that is safe, economically strong, and attractive to families young and old from the beginning, and that’s exactly what I want to do, work for you, my Coral Springs neighbors.

Camille Wallace

Camille Wallace

Camille Wallace has lived in Coral Springs for six years. An attorney, she works with Broward County Government as an administrative officer. 

Wallace holds three degrees: a bachelor of arts in political science from The Ohio State University; a law degree from Nova Southeastern University, and a master of public administration from Walden University, an online college.

Wallace said she has been interested in serving the community for some time and is always looking to help and serve in a way to make things better. She has raised $2,000, and $1,650 of it was  a loan to herself.

How will your work background be an asset for the city commission?

My background is multi-faceted with different job positions, responsibilities, and leadership roles, which have unfolded in both my career as a lawyer, grant administrator/consultant, and management within the government and nonprofit realms.  While those experiences have been unique, they have similarly shaped me into a leader respective of different views but aware of advocating for the best interest of those who I serve and not my own interest.  These qualities and experiences I have held and continue to hold are a catalyst to my ideas and my ability to conduct work for the City of Coral Springs as a commissioner.

What have you seen or learned about the commission since you have been a candidate?

As a candidate, I have been more intimately involved with the commission and the work the city has done and doing in the interest of the city.  I am of the opinion that the city commission in collaboration with the city manager and city attorney have the best interest of Coral Springs residents at heart and are focused on making improvements to the city that bolster its attractiveness. 

What should a city’s priorities be after a hurricane? 

N/A

What do you see as the number one issue facing businesses today in Coral Springs and as a commissioner do you have a plan to deal with this issue?  

With 60 percent of businesses in Coral Springs employing between 1-4 employees, I believe the city has to make a better effort to improve its code, practices, and relationships with businesses to ensure and support their success and longevity within our city borders.  As long as the city code and practices hinder businesses’ display of signage and fosters delays on receiving a permit, for example, businesses, particularly the smaller businesses will move their business elsewhere.  The city can start with small approaches such as conducting another survey and host community meetings with business owners to revisit the sensibility and purpose of the signage code. 

The city could also host building code orientations or include technical guidance in permit packages to further educate the business owner important requirements and details of the Florida Building Code to avoid potential delays in receiving a permit. 

What is your passion for the city and how does that fit into the city’s budget?  

The city has to do a better job in creating affordable housing strategies for residents who are 62 or elderly, and people with disabilities.  As a volunteer on the Affordable Housing /Advisory Committee (AHAC), the city employs a housing plan that includes a housing strategy called Special Needs Barrier to include people 62 years of age, or elderly or people with disabilities in need of housing accommodations to increase accessibility and their independence within their home.  Funding for the Special Needs Barrier strategy is typically submitted as part if the city’s local affordable housing plan. However, that strategy has consistently, for the last several years, has not been utilized, and my passion is that the city begin employing this strategy so senior citizens and people with disabilities who own their home are offered city set-aside funding to make improvements they need to reduce barriers of accessibility and independence within their home. 

What role will your faith play in your decisions on public policy? 

My faith is the center of my humility and willingness to use my talents to serve the residents of Coral Springs and a source of support I rely on to stay level-headed, calm, aware, and ready to commit to the hard work this endeavor requires. 

How influential do you perceive yourself to be?  

I see myself as a person who is engaging, easy to strike up a conversation with, and can influence positions of others by sharing information related to their point of view. 

How true to your values do you think that you can remain under pressure from various interest groups?     

Throughout this campaign, I have held firm to my own values of integrity, accountability, and authenticity.  While I expect various interest groups will want to be heard about the issues important to them, I plan to advocate for the best interests of the residents of Coral Springs and make decisions grounded in these values I hold. 

What significant commission decisions in the last 12 to 24 months do you endorse, support, or disagree with?   

N/A

Candidate Forum

The Broward League of Women Voters, along with the City of Coral Springs will be hosting a Candidate Forum for those running for Commission Seat 2. The forum is open to the public at City Hall on Thursday, May 30, at 7:00 p.m.