Lauderdale County sounds good, but many stuck on Broward

Name change is tempting, but cost is a hangup

Should Broward County change its name to Lauderdale County?

The debate is back, but I pitched the idea two years ago, when some county commissioners spoke about ramping up the Broward name in marketing efforts. Back then, there was talk of Broward International Airport and Port Broward.

I thought commissioners had things backward. Instead of pumping up Broward, a name that usually brings blank stares or memories of botched elections, I said we should consider an outright rebranding to our best-known name.

  • Michael Mayo
  • Michael Mayo
  • Related
  • Poll: Renaming Broward County?

    The Tower Forum hosts a debate In January about switching Broward County's name to Fort Lauderdale County to increase its recognition. Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca says he'll propose a change to Lauderdale County in the near future.

    What do you think?

    • Keep it Broward County and save the money on changing all the signs.
    • Lauderdale County makes sense and would grab more attention.
    • I like Fort Lauderdale County; who cares what the other cities think.
    • Do what Miami-Dade did and make it Lauderdale-Broward County.
    • I support the 1915 proposal: Everglades County.
    • It should be more descriptive, like Sunshine County or Gold Coast County.

Fort Lauderdale is known worldwide for fun, sun and (once upon a time) Spring Break. So, why not Lauderdale County, Lauderdale International Airport and Port Lauderdale?


PHOTOS: 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards

"It's the moniker people know," Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca said.

The name-change talk started anew when the Tower Forum, a breakfast group of influential business and civic leaders, scheduled a debate on the topic for later this week. LaMarca was quoted in a recent Sun Sentinel story as saying he would bring the idea to the commission, but he has backed down after taking criticism.

"On a list of my top 100 things, this is about 93rd," LaMarca told me Monday. "But I'm open to having the discussion."

I say the Lauderdale name deserves a serious look. The county's tourism branch is already known as the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. The biggest hang-up would be the cost of changing so many signs, logos and agency names (Lauderdale College? Law-derdale Sheriff's Office?)

There's also opposition from parochial Broward cities such as Hollywood that don't want to put Lauderdale up on the marquee. They need to get over it. Besides, anyone from Hollywood (motto: Not the California one!) shouldn't be giving name advice.

A name change would be a lengthy process, needing approval from the County Commission, countywide voters and the state Legislature. There is precedent: in 1997, Dade voters approved a switch to Miami-Dade County.

Wisecrackers might say that if Broward went back to the drawing board and started fresh, our name should be Silicone County (in honor of all the fake body parts), Ponzi County (in honor of all the con artists) or Oxy County (in honor of all the pill mills).

The Broward name was foisted on us nearly 100 years ago by a Legislature that wanted to honor a dead governor from Jacksonville — Napoleon Bonaparte Broward — who proposed draining the Everglades. Originally, when the new county was carved from Dade in 1915, it was supposed to be called Everglades County.

That would have been just fine. But now Florida has a Glades County, which would be confusing. We have Port Everglades, but Everglades County conjures scary images of alligators, big mosquitoes and even bigger Burmese pythons. Better to give tourists happy thoughts of Connie Francis, sleek convertibles and cocktails with umbrellas.

So, how to pay for the name change? I say let's lift a page from college bowl games and find a title sponsor for a few years. Discover Lauderdale County, anyone?

mmayo@tribune.com or 954-356-4508

fl-lauderdale-county-mayocol-b010813-20130107