The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 19th

Column: In defense of Broward County

Broward County has always been the overlooked cousin of Miami-Dade, which is the county right below it in South Florida. There isn’t much to see there, except for Fort Lauderdale Beach during spring break, the guitar-shaped hotel, the Hard Rock, right off the highway (don’t ask us why it’s there either) and a vast landscape shaped by strip malls and sad remnants of the Everglades.

My county is finally getting some national attention, but it’s for the worst possible reasons. Most recently, our woefully incompetent elections office and its supervisor, Brenda Snipes, missed the recount deadline by an embarrassing two minutes, which isn’t that surprising coming from prior history of mismanaging elections. The Broward sheriff’s office and school board have had a tumultuous history plagued with political scandal, whose failure and lack of leadership led to the school shooting in Parkland. Bella Thorne, Roger Stone and the pipe bomber who targeted Democrats all had close ties to Broward. 

Our most celebrated artists are (or were, RIP) XXXtentacion and Kodak Black, who both assaulted and abused women. 

OK, so maybe there is something in Broward’s water. There could be a chance I live in "the Florida of Florida,” as Broward was labeled in a 2,500 word Politico article solely about Broward County’s history of incompetence. Maybe Broward is the new Jacksonville, as a Miami friend insultingly told me. 

But as one of the sole voices for South Florida on the editorial board (Fort Myers doesn’t count, sorry Alec), I have to defend my county’s honor. I was born and raised in Broward, and I came out fine! (I think.) We may be a national embarrassment, but it honestly was a wonderful place to grow up, and I would encourage anyone to go visit and see for themselves. To prove this point, I hastily wrote this list of not good, but great things about Broward County:

  1. Our beaches are the best in South Florida. Yes, I said it. Miami is filled with too many tourists, and parking is terrible. I’m not even sure if there are public beaches in Palm Beach that aren’t owned by Mar-A-Lago. Broward, however, has a beach for everyone.
  2. We’re diverse! And no, not UNC diverse, but actually diverse. We have vibrant Caribbean, Latin American and Jewish communities, allowing me to grow up in a tolerant environment that values diversity. Our county is so crazy that different religions and cultures aren’t exactly grounds for judgement. 
  3. It’s always warm. As I was walking swimming to my classes in the freezing rain this week, I couldn’t help but check the weather app and see what was going on in Fort Lauderdale. And there it was. Eighty degrees and sunny.
  4. We have the largest single-story outlet mall in the country. One time I got a $20 Kate Spade wallet from Sawgrass Mills, which I doubt you can do anywhere else. 
  5. It’s a great place to raise a family. Weston was ranked the 21st best place to live in the United States. My city, Coral Springs, was ranked the third best place to live in Florida. I have countless idyllic memories from my childhood in Broward, from watching the boat parade on the intracoastal every Christmas, playing hooky at the beach, to driving out to the Everglades and watching the sunsets. 
  6. We vote for the right people. Well, at least beyond the local level. Broward is the most reliably Democratic county in Florida, which in this midterm election meant voting for candidates who believe in climate change and don’t refer to their Black competition as monkeys. 

Our reputation has taken a bit of a hit these past few weeks. The way our officials handle elections in a county of almost 2 million people is, quite frankly, an embarrassment, and we need a vast overhaul of our system. 

But remember, we could always be North Florida. 

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