By Sharon Aron Baron
Parkland resident Derek Olivier has thrown his hat into the ring and announced he is running for city commission District 2.
“First off, I am not a politician and never planned to be one. I am just a concerned citizen that wants the best for his city,” he said, adding that he has no desire to hold any office outside what will directly affect his community.
Just four months ago, he became a new father after he and his wife Renee had their son, Lucas.
“I looked into his eyes and realized that I needed to do everything in my power to make sure he is safe and has the best opportunities.”
The couple moved to Parkland Isles a few years ago for those exact reasons.
“We knew it was a safe area, with great schools and a strong sense of community. Now that I have Lucas, I want to protect everything about Parkland we fell in love with.”
A native New Yorker, his family moved to South Florida in 1993. He is a graduate of Stetson University, where he earned a bachelor’s of arts in accounting with a minor in information systems and business law.
He is the owner of One Market Real Estate in Coral Springs and has 23 agents servicing the South Florida market.
Olivier’s interest in real estate started through his father, who would invest in property on the side of his main job. Olivier got his license in 2003 and worked as a Realtor part-time. After helping “an amazing family” buy their first home, he discovered how much he loved it, and it became more of a passion project.
“I felt proud to know that I played a role in helping people in something as fundamental, personal, and important as finding a home.”
Campaign reform is on his list of priorities. Olivier wants all donations and money taken out of campaigning.
“I am truly adamant about this and feel that this is the epicenter of what makes a great city go the wrong way. When you have businesses and individuals investing in candidates, it creates an appearance of malfeasance.”
He is not accepting any donations and is proposing the city holds multiple video conferencing events like Zoom meetings, which will allow every candidate to speak on their positions, as well as have the public ask questions.
“No more mail-outs. No more buying a seat, No more candidates trying to parley this position for a better gig.”
He also wants to make sure each candidate recuses themselves on any issue they have a vested interest in, and will not take a future position or receive money from companies their votes helped for five to ten years after their service.
“This will ensure the appearance of impropriety is removed. I only want people vested in Parkland to be in government positions, and know that they are in this for the right reasons.”
He believes serving on the commission in Parkland is a destination, not a stepping stone to a bigger political career.
“I want candidates that are going to be here for the long haul and truly want to make this city better. I know I will receive a lot of pushback from this, but I want Parkland to become a model of what all governments should aspire to be like. I want us to take the torch and set the example.”
Olivier wants to explore more ways Parkland can create more businesses.
“We have a serious problem in Parkland. I don’t know why every restaurant I fall in love with ends up closing its doors after a couple of years. My wife loved the I Heart Mac & Cheese restaurant in Parkland Commons. Now it’s gone. Before that, I use to take my nieces and nephews to Sub Zero Ice Cream, and that’s gone too, not to mention Bahama Grill. All the stores on 441 are forced to fight against the current because of sign restrictions and set back requirements.”
He asked why something hasn’t been done to help local businesses because he shouldn’t have to go to Coconut Creek or Coral Springs to get a meal or service when there are so many vacant spots in Parkland.
“Business revenue not only increases our quality of life, but it also should help pay for our city.”
He’s proposing a moratorium on new construction in Parkland and realizes this idea sounds strange coming from someone who sells real estate for a living.
“I am not about what benefits me. This is about what benefits Parkland,” he said.
He said with a student-teacher ratio average of around 18:1, If we keep building, it may force redistricting or worse, the creation of a new school. A new school will force the funds out of our established schools, and he doesn’t want anything to diminish the standard of education Parkland schools offer.
He spoke about the morning commute getting worse, with cars backed up for several blocks just trying to get on the Sawgrass Expressway.
“One of the things I loved about Parkland was that is was a midsize town. As we continue to grow, we will have big-city problems like increased traffic.”
An avid runner, Olivier has participated in a couple of marathons and many half-marathons and said it had given him the ability to understand and manage challenges and taught him patience and how to be calm when amid a storm.
His proudest moment happened last year when he was able to run a half marathon with his wife. One of the charities they work with is SOS Children’s Village in Coconut Creek, where they try to host charity events for them every year.
“I challenged my team to raise money by running the Miami Half Marathon, and my wife was challenged by one of my realtors. She never believed she could do it because she never ran more than a mile. But she stayed focused and worked hard, and to be a part of her journey and seeing how her self-motivation began to build over time makes her crossing the finish line feel like just as much my victory as it was hers.”
“With age comes experience, and what Renee taught me is that sometimes your greatest accomplishments can be playing a role in someone else’s success.”
Residents interested in running for either District 1 and 2 must file and complete the qualifying process between noon on Monday, July 6, 2020, through noon on Friday, July 10, 2020. This includes filling out paperwork and paying city and state fees. Candidates must also be eligible voters who have resided in Parkland for the last one year.
Olivier is hosting a live webinar for Parkland residents to reach out to him with any questions they have and to tell him how he can help them. The webinar will be hosted on zoom in the next few weeks. Go to DerekGetsItDone.Com for more information and to register.
He hopes the way he helps Parkland can play a role in starting a movement in the way they do politics.
“My initials are D.O. for a reason. I don’t care about who gets it done. I just care that it gets done.”
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