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Caggiano runs for Commissioner by: Alyssa Cutter The Forum / Tribune

Caggiano runs for Commissioner

By Alyssa Cutter October 2, 2014

Election time is around the corner and three candidates qualified for the one seat up for grabs in the general election for Margate Commission.

First-timer Anthony Caggiano is running against current Mayor Lesa Peerman and resident Eddie Decristofaro.

Seat: 3

Address: 7856 NW First St.

Age: 55

Family: Wife and two children

Education: Bachelor's of science in economics from Binghamton University — Harpur

College of Arts and Sciences

Job: Energy Efficiency Consultant


Margate resident: 11 years

Previous residence: Coral Springs

Previous civil service experience: Planning and Zoning Board, Affordable Housing Advisory Committee

Community Service: Margate Chamber of Commerce and Margate Community College

Why did you decide to run for office?

Because of my [eight year old] daughter, Sophia.

I could be thinking of retirement right now… I realize that now with my daughter, when she's 18, I'm going to be 65. I got to leave a whole lot better of a world than what she came into. I also love Margate, and I'm tired of the fact that any time I want to go do something, I have to leave town to do it.

My daughter went to [a summer camp in Coral Springs], not in Margate. We don't have a movie theater, damn it. We don't have a high school. [I can't] bring a high school to Margate; that's a county decision… but in Margate we are actually raising our children to leave. If you look across the country, one of the things people get excited about is high school sports, especially in Florida. So all of our Margate kids who are actually decent athletes [are being] sent out to Coral Springs, Coconut Creek and Tamarac. They are not staying in Margate. We're not building any loyalty in our young adults because they are all being bused out. So we have a lot of work to do to have people realize that they do have a dog in the fight in their own neighborhood…

The city is a puzzle; it's just a question of how big a puzzle you are going to have to have everybody included. We don't have the full puzzle because we are missing some pieces. We're surviving without it, but life is more than just survival…

I say to my son all the time, always live under your means so that when you have a rainy day, you have money put aside so you can handle that rainy day… It all comes down to how are you going to spend your money? Are you going to spend it wisely, or are you just going to blow it when you have it. What if a hurricane comes down and wipes out this city? Are we going to worry about when FEMA is going to send us money, or are we going to have money to immediately start moving on it? These are the things that are important…

What are some of your concerns about Margate?

What we do in the downtown area is going to affect what the city looks like for the next 30 years. Right now, we've had that property laying fallow since they got rid of the flea market. You [would] not believe how many people have said we should put the flea market back. How can you argue when that land is useless? The city gets no tax dollars from it. We're better off leasing it out for 30 years to a business that wants to put a building there that will bring in jobs, bring in taxes, and will increase the volume of business to local stores.

So you would rather see them move on it right now than wait to do the downtown plan that they have?

No, I don't want them to move immediately on it because if you do something in haste, you regret it in the long run. But there is a difference between doing things in haste and having it where I could grow a beard to my feet. That's what we're looking at. It's been over seven years. There has got to be a middle ground…

What do you think are some good things happening in the city right now?

The beautification project for the corners and monument signs, that's good, but we aren't doing near enough. You could put the accomplishments of the Community Redevelopment Agency in a thimble... They came out with a great new logo and a great new tagline. Fantastic. The CRA has done things that are right, but let's get it up to a six-ounce cup instead of a thimble.

They need more business experience on the CRA and on the city commission. A business person has a different head set. They've had to make payroll, worry about insurance, had to worry about the rent and all that stuff. You have to have a certain type of personality for that… and right now, the board needs more of that.

I'm proud that this is a family city. One of the biggest things that made me fall in love with Margate is when I could go to the chamber of commerce meetings with my daughter and not have people say to me, "why are you bringing your daughter here?" This is a family city… This city is a family; we just have to make the family bigger. If we're all a family, everyone cares, and if they care, they help…

What do you think really qualifies you for office?

One, business experience. Two, I know how to read a balance sheet. I have an economics degree, and I'm not afraid of asking questions…

Any closing words?

I want to make Margate a city people drive to and not through. To have that happen, everyone needs to know that we have a dog in this fight. Everyone needs to be involved… When people don't come, when they don't show up for meetings, they're telling you what they think of the city. They don't think it's important. They don't realize how important the vote for city commissioner is. Voting for the president, who wins maybe changes some tax laws, maybe send your kid to war; there are some big pictures there. But when you are voting for city commissioner, you're talking about being able to park your pickup truck in your driveway. Are you going to be able to have that sign on the side of your car, or do you need the magnetic one that you pull off because you can't have it? When is the garbage and bulk pickup? People don't realize that by voting for a city commissioner, this is everyday things. They should be running out to vote for city commissioner.

Copyright © 2014, Sun Sentinel


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