Neighborhood Leadership Academy

March 10, 2018 5:00 pm

The City of Fort Lauderdale has a program called the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. It’s a free five week course for residents of the city. The entire class is an explanation of what the City actually does, which departments do what and how, what properties belong to which entities and how, as regular citizens, we can help and get involved.

The City recently changed its slogan. It is now, “We Build Community”.

We moved down here from NY right smack in the middle of the recession. We learned that the city’s nickname was ‘Fort Liqourdale’ and that apparently you could drive from Key Largo (the first key) all the way to Key West drinking, and that was acceptable behavior. It never occurred to us to try that, and going to Key West is not on our to do list. We’ve never been there. The point is that back then, this city didn’t have any money, it was not family friendly, and neither the husband nor me knew of any programs or activities provided or organized by the city.

Now we can’t get away from them.

Back in January, Madam President sent me a link about the program and told me she had gone through it and it was fun.

“You should do it!” madam president said.

“It’s from 6-8:30 pm,” I said, “the husband doesn’t get here until after 7pm.”

“I’ll watch the kid until he gets home. This would be a good thing for everyone,” she said.

Like a boss! She didn’t even flinch! That’s what a leader and a friend does! She wants a better neighborhood and is willing to help and support as much as needed! That’s what your neighbors are supposed to do! I’m very lucky that I get to trust my neighbors and my child is being raised within a ‘tribe’. The kid loves the grownups around her. Madam President does have a background in childcare and early childhood education.

This was back in January. I took her on her word and applied. I reminded her several times, and every time, I gave her a chance to back out (cause, let’s face it, it’s a lot to ask of anyone) to no avail. In fact, Mr Melania even has games planned for when she comes over this week.

This week was the first class, and that coincided with the general neighborhood meeting and with Mr. Melania being out of town. It was still ok, the husband met the kid and madam president at the meeting. My favorite part was the next day because my friend, the writer, goes to the meetings since we live in the same neighborhood. She gave me the best compliment ever.

“Your kid is so good! She just sat there with her tablet, no headphones, and nothing bothered her. Not even when your husband raised his voice,” the writer said.

So, whilst I was out galavanting with the other neighborhood and local government nerds, my kid was safe, taken care off, she behaved and was all around fine.

On the other hand, the bad man didn’t even bother to show up to the meeting, the never ending argument over the local high school came up again, and apparently somebody had the audacity to try to be racist in front of my husband. If you’re asking how was this person “trying to be racist” , well I’m glad you asked:

Our neighborhood has two parks. One of them has tennis courts and a half basketball court. One of the directors wants to get lights for the tennis courts and this particular neighbor’s opinion was that he didn’t want lights in the basketball court.

The husband pointed at him and flat out asked “sir, you! You said you don’t mind lights on the tennis courts, but you don’t want them in basketball court, why?”

And this man actually said

“I know you’re trying to make me sound racist, but you didn’t live here when there black guys in suits making bets!”

Seriously this happened! The room erupted and the husband shot him down!

“It’s absolutely about race! If the park had tennis and lacrosse fields nobody would give a shit about lights all night long! Sir!”

Then Madam President took control of the meeting again. The husband was mad. And he stayed mad for the rest of the night.

This was Wednesday. Last night we had plans for The writer, her hubby, and their kid, Baby Shark (that’s what I’m going to nickname him!) for them to come over for pizza. Baby Shark and my kid are besties, they love playing together, they’ve been hanging out on a weekly basis for almost a year, they both love dinosaurs, legos, and pretty much share the exact same taste in TV shows! Also, the writer and I share notes on acceptable tv shows, so they’re only allowed the same tv shows. Sorry Dino Trucks, you’re too rough for the babies! Anyways, since I remembered that Mr Melania was out our town, I invited Madam President over. Well, as it turns out, Mr Melania was back, so they both came over and of course the meeting was discussed. And this is what I mean, both this kids had a great time while all the grown ups could do grown up things. And it was fun! Also, I think we guilty-ed my friend the writer to come be in the board next year.

More of us, means less of them, and right now the bad man and his minions, are the only reason things aren’t moving forward. So many projects have been halted by his negativities and “I have concerns! And why isn’t my sidewalks a priority?!” For crying out loud! the city told you and us that we need a mobility study! We need a mobility study for everything! And the city told you that they were NEVER gonna put side walks there! That you have to pay for it yourself! Why are you such a butthole?!!

(Sorry! I got mad just thinking about this person!)

But somehow it was actually a very good night. We managed to have fun, while the kids played. The writer and I talked about the fact that our other mom friend is moving out of the state, and we are actually broken hearted about this! (Didn’t the last six month mean anything to you?! Sniff) We had a fire, good pizza, plenty of wine, and I even had beers for Madam President and Mr Melania. I made French fried baby carrots and fried zucchini noodles, on a kale garlic wine sauce! Yeah, I can make that!

Tonight the kid is staying over at her Uncle’s and titi’s house, cause the husband and I are (hopefully!) having a naughty little adventure with nobody from the neighborhood! After this week, we have earned it! Wish us luck!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,