Oakland Park resident Victoria Olson was working as a poll monitor yesterday at the Coral Ridge Mall when Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis stopped in. Rahel Crowley, a recent transplant from California to Fort Lauderdale, was also at the mall shopping at the same time. Crowley went into the mall to shop and as she exited she observed supporters of the Republican candidate for President, whom she described as “boorish blokes”, yelling at Olson because of her face mask. She became concerned and went over to see if Olson was ok. The two women spoke for a bit and exchanged numbers.
As Crowley was driving off she saw Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. She happened to know Mayor Trantalis because they met at an event. She stopped to talk to say “Hi” and noticed that he was engaged with Republican supporters. According to Mayor Trantalis he was at the Coral Ridge Mall and was being verbally attacked by them. “They were saying stupid things and attacking me… casting aspersions on my sexual orientation, it was offensive”.
Despite the insults, rather than engage outright, Mayor Trantalis maintained his calm and hunkered down with the Democrats. They did not let up on the insults and kept berating the Mayor and his partner.
Aaron Darr, who was with the Mayor shared the following: ” My favorite part of today (sarcasm) was when they told me that because I am gay, I am going to contract AIDS. All this, while they kept calling the Mayor a “pedophile.” They are doing more than “standing back and standing by…”
At one point it got to be so overwhelming that Mayor Trantalis decided to go speak with them. Mayor Trantalis relates that he tried to reason with them in a human to human dialogue: “This is not about the election, it is about who we are as human beings”. Crowley who was a bystander said that Mayor Trantalis was calm, cool and collected and very matter-of-fact in his approach. After he spoke with them Mayor Trantalis said the level of rhetoric attenuated.
When the police arrived they were asked to leave.
This incident comes at the end of one of the most contentious elections in the history of the United States. It is apparently not an isolated incident. Voter intimidation is happening all over the City of Fort Lauderdale. Trantalis explained: “People in Fort Lauderdale are not this way”. They are hired to hand out pamphlets and are left unsupervised, these are not locals Trantalis shared. Their words “…are hurtful and with no supervision they can do and say what they want“.
As the conversation with Mayor Trantalis concluded he told me that he voted today and was glad he did because he didn’t want to wait in line on Tuesday when lines are expected to be very long.
We reached out to our very own Mayor, Matt Sparks for commentary on this incident and Mayor Sparks said:
“I would simply say that the American process is underway and each voter has the right to cast their ballot, I would hope that we start acting like civilized Americans and let that process happen peacefully and without suppression or intimidation simply be kind to one another and let the process run it’s course”.
EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR®
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.
Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.
She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.
She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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