So this year, I decided to look up more information on the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District once again. Especially since the Early Voting will begin, better to get some content up now – versus later.
Mr. Kout has been a lawyer and civic activist for 25 years in the City of Hollywood – been involved in activism for many years. On an old website, you can see that Mr. Kout has been an enthusiastic member of the Broward community in various ways. A sampling of his positions includes:
- Community Volunteer for Over 20 Years
- Chair of Broward County Legislative Committee 1999
- Democratic Executive Committee of Broward County 1997
- Board Member of Hills Democratic Club 2000
- Member Broward Young Democrats 1995 – 1997
- Graduate of Leadership Hollywood 2000
- Leadership Hollywood Steering Committee, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce 2001
The most relevant position he has was the Chairman of the Green Energy Task Force for Hollywood – dubbed the “Green Team”. After helping getting the effort going, structured, and executing – he ended up having a conversation with Fred Segal about the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District and decided that he could apply his talents here to help Broward County.
I asked him:
Why are you running? Mr. Kout has been an activist for many years and he feels it is in his blood to give back to the community. Being single in Broward has given him the time and space to contribute to the community and he wants to continue to do so.
Where’s the campaign? He has not been campaigning since he felt the statute does not allow for it. But, he does tell his friends that yes, he is the David Kout on the Broward ballot.
What will you do if you win the seat? Mr. Kout has not really researched the role as of yet – his conversations with Fred Segal have demonstrated that the current board has been quite moribund and he feels that his energy and dedication to the community would help move the BSWCD forward in addressing the needs of the community.
Rather than sitting on his laurels, he feels that his past work demonstrates his future efforts – and would make sure that people would see action from this District. He recognizes that winning the seat would mean a learning curve as to the current state of the board and the issues that face it (e.g. dune restoration, non single-point-source pollution), but believes he would quickly ramp up to help address them.
Ms. Thomas is the wife of School Board candidate David Thomas who, on a chance encounter with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office, found out of an open position on the BSWCD and decided that it was he civic duty to get involved. Ms. Thomas, a native Floridian, is a teacher of American History at Taravella High School and thought this was a way to contribute to the community she has been a life-long member of.
While Ms. Thomas may not have the community activism experience of Mr. Kout, as most teachers I have known, she has already done her homework and sounds like she is ready to hit the ground running if and when she becomes a supervisor of the District.
I asked her:
Why are you running? Ms. Thomas said that when she went down to the SOE office, she was surprised that no one was running for the seat. With what was the last 40 minutes before the deadline for filing, she met Fred Segal who happened to be in the office at the time. He suggested that she consider running for one of the open seats and she decided then and there that she should get involved. It was only after she filed that she discovered about Mr. Kout’s filing for the same seat.
When she did further research, she learned that the seat is essentially an elected volunteer position. She is excited to be executing her civic responsibility – she wants the position to affect change, not of some grander political aspirations.
Since filing, she has met with a couple of the board members (Fred Segal and Dr. Thomas) – and learned that the biggest problem is that not enough members meet. She believes that she will definitely be active in helping more the District forward.
Where’s the campaign? She has a Facebook profile and does not have to raise money – so she is not spending any money. Instead, she has been visiting various Democratic clubs, introduces herself and speaks on the issues.
What will you do if you win the seat? Ms. Thomas has already been talking with the existing supervisors and believes that the biggest issue facing the District is seaoats – which make up a natural barrier for the coast. Another area of concern she learned from Dr. Thomas (sitting member of the BSWCD) is non-point-source pollution – which adversely affects our water supply. Address these two issues and focus other areas of conservation (e.g. testing sprinkler systems) – so we can ensure that residents and citizens use our natural resources more efficiently.
So which would you choose Sanford?
Truthfully, both candidates have strengths. I happen to like Ms. Thomas because when speaking with her, she was the most up-to-date on the issues at hand. Mr. Kout seemed to me to be an activist ready to help contribute to a cause, but not yet bought into it. While that may sound harsh, I know of where he speaks – and understand that involvement often happens when called to action. From his experiences, it seems like he could be an excellent contributor to the District and help them accomplish the goals of the BSWCD to our county’s betterment.
As I mention in another post – I think Dr. Snipes should appoint the loser to the BSWCD simply due to their interest in being involved, rather than having some political appointee taking the role for political benefit. Sadly, there will only be four members, and not five as should be meeting.
What about Fred Segal?
Hopefully, the BOE/SOE will complete his appointment with due haste and he continue his efforts. Of all of the people I have spoken to, he is the most knowledgeable and the most proactive I have seen in this effort. I wish him nothing but success in his efforts in the coming years.
Thank you for the research on these candidates and the article on what the BSWCD is. I’m completing my ballot today and your site came up on a search for this. I hope that the elections people heed your advice.
Nothing but a pleasure. I noted that people were seeking information on this – and happy to help.
It is a disgrace that people vote for our elected officials without conducting any research on their background, qualifications and positions. Cynthia Thomas has demonstrated that she deserves to elected to the BSWCD. She took the initiative to find out what the position requires and the pertinent issues at hand. She has my vote.
@Ken I should stand up for David and say that he has been a staunch advocate for the residents of the county for some time. Both are great candidates and I assume David will get up-to-speed.
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Thank you for the information you provided on the BSWCD candiates. It was helpful to me in my making my decision.
Nothing but a pleasure. Both candidates have their strengths, but I think for the election – Cynthia should be chosen based solely on how she has done her “homework”. David will have to work on his background and focus if he is going to be successful.
Thank you Sanford Dickert! I was digging and digging to find out what the BSWCD does. It appears that Ms. Thomas has done her homework, which means more than likely will attend the meetings and affect change.
I believe I read where Mr. Kout has been involved in real estate – well real estate and conservation just do not seem to mix. My vote is for Ms. Thomas.
Thank you. In going over my sample ballot today, I noticed the BSWCD spot and had absolutely no idea what it meant. So my Google research directed me to your site. Thanks for defining the BSWCD and its member’s roles. Although I am usually put off by people who search for unfilled spots at the last minute, I can see where it takes someone special to “volunteer” to begin with. Anyway, thanks again your information is great!
@Marianne – happy to help.