April 1, 2012
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
You’ve probably read in the newspaper that Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the issue of gay marriage this week, but you haven’t heard about the official action that Seiler took (absolutely no one expected, wait til you hear!).
It all started when some Mayors across Broward County came OUT for gay marriage by signing on to the National campaign, Mayors for Freedom to Marry.
Seiler was reportedly troubled by a scathing missive sent this week from the local gay group, the Dolphin Democrats, taking Seiler to task for not signing on to the National effort of Mayors, although mayors from Pembroke Pines, Hallandale, and Miramar did.
So Seiler took a most unusual, unprecedented action. (you’ll be shocked). Seiler asked his old friend, former Governor Charlie Crist to join him in his announcement.
Seiler signed his official, binding order, straight from the Mayor’s Office – (see below)
The action even confounded Gay Congressman Barney Frank!
Official Order of Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler
“ Here henceforth, with respect to Gays and Lesbians marrying, within the official City boundaries of Fort Lauderdale, I do hereby declare, by the power vested in me by the Charter of the great City of Fort Lauderdale …..
— It is now …… Mandatory … for all gays in committed relationships, in the City, to marry, immediately.”
Seiler went on to say, in his press conference, that he finally realized that the heterosexuals in the City shouldn’t carry all the weight of marriage, do all the dishes, put up with menopause, face divorce, watch TV in the garage, always change the oil in the car!
The Gay reaction was mixed.
Some celebrated, but some, realizing the table - turn that Seiler accomplished, started protesting the order - carrying a new banner - Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman!
To early to tell how it will all work out- but if this post confounds you, and you want to understand it all better, check out the date at the beginning of this blog post.
The homeless are still a problem downtown today (pictures below).
The City has been trying a few new approaches this year, a public information campaign to tell citizens why giving change to panhandlers is not helpful, street vendors’ control ( in the intersections), and the bus tickets home program.
The problems of the homeless and the vagrants is not new for Fort Lauderdale.
Below, you will see the historical account of what Fort Lauderdale did about the problem during the depression!
the “hobo express” team
“During the depression, one of the duties of the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, was handling the so-called “hobo express.” In an attempt to get undesirables out of the area, including those looking for work, vagrants were herded to the county line of each county. Fort Lauderdale transported its undesirables to the northern boundary of Deerfield Beach. It was either the “hobo express” or a 30-day jail sentence.”
Here’s a sampling of Stranahan Park today!
Mounted Patrolman Chuck Sierra talks to a group of homeless
Hungry homeless line up at the food truck
homeless man waves at me using only one finger !!
Nap Time ?
I stayed up late, Louisville slugger at the ready!
The helicopters overhead, Police in every intersection – intercoms telling us to stay inside our homes!
“bad boys, bad boys, what you going do???
Well I just heard from the Fort Lauderdale Police Spokesman Detective Travis Mandell, and here’s what all the serious commotion was about!
Two homicide suspects, from another County, were in the neighborhood, and barricaded themselves in a house just up the street from me.
The spokesman says when the Department’s fully equipped, specially trained SWAT vehicle ( they call the BEAR) arrived on the scene-
…… the bad guys gave up …. in custody!
….. Louisville slugger, back in the closet!~
The Police Chopper has been overhead our houses for an hour, shining the massive spotlight all around!
All intersections around my house are blocked. I went out and asked what was going on, should we be worried?
The Officer said ” have you been inside your house?” I said “yes” .
He said “go back inside!” ….. I did!
I e-mailed the Police, asked for them to let me know, when they could, who they were after, what did they do, did they get ‘em?….
I’m closing the door, getting out the baseball bat!
I’ll keep you informed ……
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler opposed the Stand Your Ground gun use law, while he was a Legislator in Tallahassee.
That’s Seiler in the back ( you might not recognize him!), behind former Governor Crist. Just to the right of Crist, is possible Republican Vice Presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
Seiler was aghast this week when he heard of the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Seiler remembered fighting the Stand Your Ground law that some blame for the shooting of the innocent Martin.
Here are some of the minutes of the Florida House battle that decided the law
Representative Seiler –
“I am concerned that the bill, as written, completely eliminates the duty to retreat in all public places outside of a home or occupied vehicle, and allows Floridians to engage someone with a deadly weapon in the public arena.
This provision would create a number of potential loopholes for criminals, and would make it far more difficult for the Police and State Attorney to prosecute violent criminals, and even more difficult for innocent victims to recover damages from these violent criminals”
Seiler also tried to ammend the bill, but to no avail.
This case troubles me. How about you?
A 17 year-old kid is dead, my son is just 22, alive . The dead boy is black.
He was shot in the chest by an older white guy, during a scuffle - unclear circumstances. Just minutes earlier, the boy had been walking down a street, minding his own business.
Any more to the story?
Here’s what I’ve been able to glean from the somewhat confusing and jumbled facts in all the news stories.
The white guy is described as a self appointed neighborhood watch guy,
twenty seven year old George Zimmerman, somewhat checkered background.
Zimmerman was making his crime watching rounds as he often did, looking for criminals. He spotted teen Martin, considered him suspicious, in the wrong neighborhood, dressed like a gangsta! Must be up to no good!
He follows the kid, who, by all accounts, wasn’t up to no good, just getting some candy at the local store. Zimmerman calls Police. Police tell him not to follow Martin, but Zimmerman follows him anyhow.
Here’s where it gets murky.
Somehow, the two began to scuffle. Did Trayvon feel threatened/ intimidated, and turn around and confront Zimmerman, punch him in the nose, knock him down? Or did Zimmerman chase down Trayvon, start a fight, begin the deadly battle?
The initial police report said Zimmerman had a bloody nose and blood on the back of his head.
“I could observe that [Zimmerman's] back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass, as if he had been laying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head.”
But the parents hear the 911 call and say it was Trayvon calling for help during the struggle, not Zimmerman.
One thing’s for sure….. A sad day in America.
What say you?
The long awaited – Citizen’s tour – of the Sewage Plant, technically called the
George T. Lohmeyer Wastewater Treatment Plant, happened yesterday.
The Citizen’s tours are a series of tours around the City (any resident can attend), to facilities and places that are seldom toured!
The Sewage tour ( the Sewage plant is on the edge of Port Everglades, off SE 17th street Causeway) was a sold-out event. Fourteen citizens, ( we were only supposed to bring ten) was mostly made up of neighborhood Presidents and the like. The local bigshots spent over an hour yesterday exploring the billion dollar plant.
former Sun-Sentinel reporter Buddy Nevins joined in the fun
The Fort Lauderdale facility treats sewage from all of Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, parts of Tamarac, even parts of Davie. It can treat upwards of 80 million gallons a day ( now that’s a lot of flushing!)
First thing you notice is ……. the smell !
Even though lots of attention ( and money) has been spent over the years on odor control, the odor is not totally under control! Attendee Jay Holloway, President of Victoria Park, told me he thought it would be tough for me to capture “the whole essence” of the tour in print – he was right!
We brought masks!
The plant is fascinating, though it was evident that it is in need of major repairs. There were numerous temporary pipes and fixes waiting for major overhauls ( and probably funding!)
local neighborhood President views some of the temporarily fixed incoming pipes
The plant has emergency devices built in like this emergency generator ready for when the big storms come and the power goes out!
Sustainability committee member Vicki Eckels with the generator
The tour, led by Facility Manager Pat Long, was quite thorough. We went through the Pretreatment Plant, the Oxygen mixing areas, the Clarifiers, even the Scum Pond!
Tour guide ( and Plant Manager Pat Long) …thanks Pat
This million dollar contraption ( the squeezer or presser or patty cake maker) was near the end of the tour. After this, the mostly cleaned sewage water is forced deep in the ground (deep well injection) to eventually become tomorrow’s drinking water!
sp; A fun time was had by all !
We’ve been following the little troubled neighborhood called…..
sign letters still stolen – no respect !
It’s that mixed neighborhood over by the RR Tracks and Andrews Ave. , just south of Sunrise Boulevard.
A year back, it was consumed with controversy when it’s President, Doug Sterner, and a few of its board members, backed a City plan to move the troubled homeless souls out of Stranahan Park and into their neighborhood.
The neighborhood revolted, and the plan was stopped, but the blood had turned bad. At their next election meeting, a new President was elected.
new Prez Bradford Cohen
Today, the following e-mail came out from Cohen, replacing Sterner as the neighborhoods’ representative to the Council of Civic Associations. Sterner just happens to be the President of the Council, and their by-laws say the President must be an appointed rep from a neighborhood !
Here’s Cohen’s e-mail
Please be advised by way of this written communication, that as of last night March 20th, 2012, Doug Sterner is no longer the appointed representative of Progresso Village to the Council of Civic Associations.
The members relayed to me that it is not in the best interest of Progresso Village to have a representative that does not live in Progresso Village or even in the City of Fort Lauderdale.
I whole heartedly agreed with the sentiment. As such, I have removed him from his appointed position as the representative, and appointed JJ Hankerson as his replacement. I would have liked to tell him personally at our monthly meeting last night, but he failed to appear.
I put this in the “Pay backs are a …… ” column… I’ll keep you apprised
Just in case you are a new reader here, let me explain the Tim Tours, and tell you what’s next – see if you want to come!
See, there are a lot of really neat things in the City that most residents could never see. I know that, because as a City Commissioner, I got a “back stage pass” to see them. You should get one too!
So I asked the City Administration, the Hospital, Bonnet House, FPL etc. if they would open up their “secret” areas to you -
And they said yes!
last month at the Crime Lab !
So here’s the scoop on this month’s fab tour! A clue - it’s a real stinker !
The one that you’ve been waiting for -
The Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour
Wednesday, March, 21st – 4 p.m.
The plant is on SE 17th Street and Eisenhower Blvd.. It’s a fascinating place…
….. you’ll be amazed at this billion dollar, state of the art facility…..
…….. space on the tour is very limited, so to reserve a spot, either place a comment here on the blog ( like “it’s Bobby, I’ll be there!”) or send me a private e-mail to
….. you can park around back, be prompt 4 pm …call me if you need to