FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The two men who are running for mayor of Fort Lauderdale at the upcoming general election are making their case to voters as to why they are the better option.

The incumbent, Mayor Dean Trantalis, said his administration has prevailed despite a difficult year.

“2020 has certainly been a year of challenges,” he said. “The only way we were able to do it is because we have a successful city government, and we have a wonderful community that came together.”

His opponent, Ken Cooper, said he he can do it better. His campaign website describes him as “a practicing lawyer, an economics lecturer, an activist, and a volunteer.”

“I’m a decision maker, and I’ll get the decisions made,” he said. “I’m not going to make excuses, and I’ll get the job done.”

The tough times in Fort Lauderdale actually started in 2019, when old sewage pipes began bursting underground.

To murky the waters, funds raised to fix the pipes had been spent on other issues.

Trantalis said that was a previous administration’s mistake.

“It was a sin that we were taking that away from the need that we had to rebuild our infrastructure,” he said, “and instead, we’re using it to balance the budget, paying for things that had noting to do with water or sewer.”

Cooper said the mayor shares the blame.

“Blame the sewers on prior administrations, but he’s been there since 2004, so everybody is tired of the excuses,” he said.

Then there is the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve reduced the infections rate to well below 5%, and that’s because people are finally working with one another,” said Trantalis. “The community is coming together. We’re wearing masks, we’re keeping our distance.”

“The COVID issue is all governed by the governor and by Broward County,” said Cooper. “They’re calling all the shots, so all you really have to do, and that’s all Dean ever did, was comply with what they were doing.”

After George Floyd’s death, protesters took to the streets to demand change. In downtown Fort Lauderdale, a woman was hit in the eye by a rubber bullet.

“We didn’t do it in the best way, and we are making changes in our police department,” said Trantalis.

There is now a new chief in the city’s police department.

It’s a big city with big issues Trantalis said that if he is re-elected, cleanup will be a top priority in his second term.

“Our focus is going to be on trying to replenish the vitality of our waterways, trying to bring back marine life,” he said.

It may be the only issue the two men agree on.

“First thing I would do is, I’d have a bunch of people over there getting that sewer off the bottom of the Tarpon River and out of George English Park,” said Cooper.

Vote-by-mail ballots are already going out. Early voting in Broward County starts Oct. 19.

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