Candidates for the Hollywood Commission participated in a forum at the David Park Community Center on September 24. The event was well attended and the candidates for Districts One, Three and Five spoke about their accomplishments and areas that they would like to see improved in Hollywood.
Itzack Feldman, a candidate for District One said he cares about Hollywood and has developed a ping pong program for senior residents.
Caryl Shuman, a candidate for District One said there are many important and complicated issues facing Hollywood. She said her background as a civil engineer and lawyer be an asset on the commission. “I will be a wise steward and spend money ethically and transparently. I have been talking with many people in Hollywood about their everyday problems and many people are frustrated.” She also noted concern about the budget and the rise in sea level.
Luis Prada, a candidate for District One said, “I want to be a commissioner for everyone. I want people to work together. I’m concerned about some of the problems on the Broadwalk. There’s more crime there and we need to address this,” said Prada.
Traci Callari is the incumbent for District Three. “I have stayed true to who I am. I want to move Hollywood forward and we need a balanced budget. As a commissioner I’ve met some amazing people in Hollywood,” she said. Callari is a nurse.
Thomas Ungleich is a candidate for District Three. He believes the Hollywood budget is in poor condition and is against the general obligation bond. “We need more responsible management of city tax dollars,” he said. Ungleich does not believe the budget is properly balanced. He is a lawyer.
Kevin Biederman is the incumbent for District Five. He believes the city is doing well. “I want to represent all the people of Hollywood. I want to make Hollywood a 21st-century city. I believe in civic participation”
Jack Izzo is a candidate for District Five. He believes improvements are needed in Hollywood.
Francisco Vargas said he cares about Hollywood. He believes the city is in a crisis and wants to work to make improvements.
The candidates were asked questions about their goals for Hollywood and how they would handle various policy questions. Most of the candidates expressed concern about the financial status of the city, code compliance, infrastructure, flooding and the preservation of green space. Redevelopment of older sections of the city was discussed.
Feldman said he was concerned about vacation rental homes and the fact that neighbors don’t get to know each other.
Prada said the major concern is flooding in the city and traffic on 13th Avenue.
Shuham she is concerned about the financial situation of the city and the lack of money to address problems. She is concerned about the impending sea rise and the need for better city services.
Callari said she is concerned about code compliance. Some properties are not kept up to code and don’t look as good. She is concerned about garbage in some of the streets.
Ungleich said he was concerned about infrastructure and the lack of sidewalks in lighting in some neighborhoods.
Biederman said he was concerned about traffic calming and speeding.
Izzo said he was concerned about the budget, the possibility of a tax increase and unnecessary city projects.
Vargas said he was concerned about the budget and lack of lighting in some parts of Hollywood.
When the issue of Orangebrook Golf Course was brought up, most of the candidates said they believed the land should remain open green space. It is also good as a water retention area if a large storm hits and brings lots of rainwater
The candidates were asked about their action plan for the City. Izzo said he believes the Beach CRA should be brought to a close. He believes there are many areas where the budget could be cut. He wants to see more code compliance.
Feldman said he would get rid of nepotism and favoritism in the city and strengthen neighborhoods.
Prada said more efforts should be made to improve safety and deal with crime.
Shuham said rather than raising taxes, a better approach would be to improve property values and this would generate more money for the city. She wants to see more workforce housing. She wants to preserve Orangebrook and green space. She wants to see more code enforcement.
Callari wants to promote safety and look for ways to improve Hollywood and also wants to see better code enforcement.
Ungleich wants to defeat the General Obligation Bond, have a better budget and abolish the Beach CRA.
Biederman said he wants to see more redevelopment in Hollywood.
The forum brought community leaders together to hear the goals and objectives of the candidates.