roshawn-banks-8.jpg2012 Election Special Edition

FORT LAUDERDALE — Torey Alston, chief of staff for Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, and Rosalind Osgood, adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University and minister of Christian education at New Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, are battling in a runoff for the School Board District 5 seat of retired Benjamin Williams.

Alston said the system needs “balance and diversity” and he will strengthen the public schools by supporting the return of vocational programs.

The programs will boost enrollment, increase morale and prepare students “for jobs they aren’t getting now, and that has to be our focus,” Alston said.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs must be pushed, as black students are “grossly underrepresented” in that area, Alston said. “In less than 10 to 15 years, when those are the fields that hold the major employment opportunities, our kids will not only be able to compete but be successful.”

Osgood, whose opponents in the primary have  pledged their support to her campaign, said that it will take “more than leadership” to fix the problems in the district. Education, she said, needs to be a priority.

“At least 50 percent of high school graduates are not prepared for college and only 39 percent of our black males graduate. This is unacceptable and the community should be outraged.”

Osgood said that she will put a structure in place that will “hold the community responsible. We seem to have lost sight of that. We can say that it takes a village, but I want to bring it closer to home.” Social issues need to be addressed, she said. “We can empower the kids by empowering their parents.”

In another runoff, Barbara Houston Wilson will face incumbent Robin Bartleman for the school board’s at-large seat 9.

Retired educator and principal Wilson said one of her priorities is to review the board’s Policy 6000.1: Student Progression Plan.

“It details what should be taught at every grade level,” Wilson said. “This is public record; nothing secret about it. I will bring this before the parents so they know what’s going on. If they feel that there is anything that needs changing, they have a voice.”

Students deserve the test education, Wilson said, adding “and we want them to have more than we did.”

Mae Smith, president of St. George Civic Association, will face 14-year incumbent Margaret Bates for Lauderhill City Commission Seat 3.

Smith, who faced the incumbent in 2010, said that she is in the race because Lauderhill’s annexed areas “have no voice” and the distribution of monies among the neighborhoods is “unequal.” Programs and services, specifically for the youth, are “not getting proper attention,” Smith said. “I will ensure that all of Lauderhill shares in the programs offered,” she said, adding “Clearly there needs to be a change for the residents.”

Bates, in office since 1998, said Lauderhill does not manufacture money, and that the thought of annexed areas being left out “is not a fair analysis. A lot has been done.

“Those areas have the best football field, new playground equipment, and are a part of the beautification plan. I serve the entire city and improvements have been made everywhere.”

If an item is not in the budget, “we have to plan for it,” she said. “We have plans now to build a 1.5-acre park at MLK Boulevard and Northwest 15th Avenue and will soon break ground on a street project at (State Road) 441 and Northwest 19th Street.”

“The city does have my attention,” she said.

In another race, Hollywood attorney Roshawn Banks is set for a runoff with incumbent County Court Judge incumbent Robert Diaz.

Cynthia Roby may be reached at


*Pictured above is Lauderhill city commission candidate Mae Smith, left, and right is  judicial candidate Roshawn  Banks..