From the Desk of Nick Sortal…

I moved to Broward County in 1985 to start what would be a 30-year run as a writer and an editor at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. When I married my lovely bride, Robyn, in 1993, I moved to Plantation. Within a year I considered myself “a Plantation guy.”

I had my Publix for shopping, Central Park for swimming, jogging and basketball, good schools and a nice home in central Plantation, Quatraine II. But most importantly, I had a great collection of new friends and acquaintances.

Everyone seemed to like it here, and why not? We’re in the center of the county, so nothing is too far away. Everything is green and well-maintained. Our city government, while there certainly are plenty of points of discussion and improvement, has run relatively smoothly and scandal-free.

But I think we can do better, and that’s where I come in. My thoughts from 30,000 feet are that I will bring a set of higher expectations to our city government.

The challenges I see are how to best spend our money, how to balance commercial growth without smothering the city and how to keep our city safe with the efficient police, fire, emergency service and hurricane preparations.

And that’s where I’m grateful for my experience as a journalist. The No. 1 thing good journalists do is listen; we gather information from all sides, and we understand that issues become issues because there is more than one point of view to things. Through my years, I wrote some things people may not have liked, but they always gave this feedback.

“At least you listened and you were fair.”

I’ll do the same thing as a city councilman.

My wife and I moved to Jacaranda Lakes in 2001 and even though our three children have long left our house, we’re not about to downsize and go anywhere else. We drive by the schools our children attended – Central Park, Peters Elementary, Plantation Middle, Plantation High and American Heritage – and we see people who are a part of the city. We also see them in malls, restaurants, parks and just walking their neighborhood. People here care. Including me. Especially me.

I’m off-the-charts eager to dive in and help make a very good city a great one. Please come along with me and help me reach that privilege.

What can you do?

Provide us with your email address. I’ll send out reminders (usually fewer than one per week), which, yes, are in my best interest, but also will keep you informed on issues going on in the city. You’ll be a better resident for it, because – even if you disagree with me – you’ll know what’s going on.

Donate. Campaign experts say the surest way to lock down a person’s vote is to obtain a donation. Donating is your way of saying, “I’m in.” It’s also my way of sharing with Plantation residents that I have a broad base of supporters behind me. And if I don’t have that broad base, hey, maybe I shouldn’t be elected.

Sign up to vote by mail. Things happen on election day. Someone gets sick, someone’s car breaks, someone gets a nice offer to meet a friend for lunch. Broward County is ditching the term “absentee ballot” in favor of vote by mail – an idea I endorse. And if I know your voting is done, I can spend time delivering my message to potential voters who I may have not yet reached.

Share my campaign via social media and email. Word-of-mouth is the best endorsement, be it restaurants, home repairmen or city councilmen. Voters may not have met me, but they’ve met you.