Seiler Blunders

     I’m a fan of Jack Seiler.

      He’s one of those rare public servants that truly believes in serving the public, and he’s been doing it quite capably for many years. And I’ve been impressed with his service as Mayor of Fort Lauderdale these last couple of months.

     But last week he screwed up.

      Here’s what happened.

     Earl Rynerson, who most of you will remember ran for the Mayor’s seat against Seiler, received a letter to his business last week.
It was from Seiler’s office, Seiler himself, ( on City stationary ) and it encouraged Rynerson, and other local businesses to advertise in a private business venture.

     Now Rynerson has been on the war  path against Jack for months, after coming in a distant third in the Mayor’s race. His web site often seems bitter, and, in my opinion, flaky on many issues. But Seiler’s letter gave Earl some valid ammunition to criticize him with this time.
     Here’s a link to Rynerson’s site that included Rynerson’s criticism of the letter, and the actual letter.


    Here’s the problem.

     The venture Seiler touts is being done by Dolph Map, a  private company, but Seiler’s letter glosses over that. The letter states that the City was “working” with Dolph to produce it. It says important City numbers and programs will be on the map. It explains that businesses could sponsor it, and that they should “not delay”. It’s called the official sounding Fort Lauderdale City Mapping Project.

     The problem is, it is not a City endeavor, was not brought before the City Commission for public review and discussion, not competitively bid, not really associated with the City at all.

     And to make matters worse, Rynerson ties the Dolph Map Company with contributions to Seiler’s political campaign, and campaign signs that Dolph erected on their coveted Federal Highway location during the Mayor’s race. Apparently, former  Mayor Jim Naugle did the same thing for Dolph, which should have sent up a red flag for Seiler right there!

     I don’t believe there was anything sinister or nefarious in Seiler’s actions, just a mistake he should admit to and move on.

     Now that’s the way I see it. But if I’m wrong, I have a back-up plan.

     It’s the Fort Lauderdale City Landscaping Guide.  The publication, free to the public, will answers all questions about our local Fort Lauderdale landscapes. Since I’m a recognized expert in the field, it’s a natural. The Guide will explain how to plant for droughts, what trees to plant, what City departments can help and how.

     And of course, it will be quite profitable for me, having that introductory letter from the Mayor’s office!




Mayor Jack ….. Problem Solver !

    Sometimes, all it takes is a little common sense to solve a problem. This week, Mayor Jack Seiler offered some up.

                                                                           old what’s his name 
and Mayor Jack Seiler! 

     There has been a technical glitch at City Hall for the past few weeks. Generally, if you want to know what’s coming up on the City Commission’s agenda, you could just log on to the City’s web site at and check it out.

     Now, most of us don’t.

     But thankfully, there are a few dozens watchdogs ( some City Staffers use other names for them!) that always pay attention. They wait for the information to be posted and go through it line by line. And if they find something troubling, look out!

     So when they signed on as usual a few weeks back, and the screen read sorry sucker, (not in those words of course), they were incensed. Conspiracy theories began to boil!. What were they hiding? What happened to transparency?

     Enter Seiler.

     Seiler ran on a platform of transparency, open government, power to the people!

      The fouled up agenda information was a legitimate technical matter, no intrigue. The City had gone to a new format, and it was having problems. So Seiler needed a stop-gap.

     The Mayor put out the word that all the back-up materials for the upcoming agendas would be open for inspection, any time, in his office!   He had the Mayor’s staff call all the “watchdogs”  he could think of to tell them to come on in,  sit a spell, put your feet up!  And asked me to put out the word – Mayor’s office open to the public.

     Now that’s service  !

Grassroots Effort Finally Arrives

     A small group of Citizens really can make a difference!

     This Citizen led effort began nearly three years ago, in September 2006. They called it “Citizens for a Better Code”, but the City has now renamed the effort the snappy – “Neighborhood Development Criteria Revisions”!

     It started like this: A group of friends were e-mail complaining amongst themselves about the out of scale townhomes that were being built in many of the City’s neighborhoods. They questioned the City’s rules that allowed those townhouses and duplexes to be built nearly on top little single family homes.  

                                                          rather imposing eh?

     They also wondered why the development Code was allowing things to get built that ended up looking like this –

     I challenged them to quit their bitching and go “do something about it”!

     I invited them into my home for an initial meeting and it grew from there. 

     The group was well balanced. It included neighborhood leaders that often preached slowing down re- development, like former City Commission candidate Charles Jordan, and activists Cal Deal and Ray Dettman, but also included local architects Michael Madfis and Gus Carbonelle.  Green activists Linda Brown and Vicki Eckels pushed enviromental issues, and I was there to keep the peace and keep the pace!

     The group looked at a myriad of other development issues too, like – 

                                 too many cars, not enough spaces!

        and …….

                                 too many cans..not enough hiding places

     The group met for about a month and came up with the document  “Citizens for a Better Code“. They went to the Council of Civic Associations and officially offered their proposal! The Council, under the capable leadership of it’s President, Genia Ellis, and their tireless Committees Chair, Richard Mancuso, moved it along to where it is today.

     Fort Lauderdale City Commission
,  now it’s your turn!         



Pull Up Yo Pants !!

     Maybe some sanity is peeking through!

     On Sunday, May 10th (Mother’s Day), there will be a rather unique rally at the Flea Market on Oakland Park Boulevard from 1 to 4 p.m…

     It’s the Pull up Your Pants rally, sponsored by a group of mostly African American Grandparents, that are sick and tired of seeing their young men walking the streets flashing their undies.

         You know the look that has been all the rage. Pull your pants down as far as you can get them without them falling to your ankles. Some medical professional are even worried that it is beginning to make some youths bowlegged.

                                                 The fad is so endemic in the youth counter culture (moslty African American,but not exclusively) that the baggy pantsers even have an odd understanding. If they are in a street brawl, and pants start-a-falling, a “time-out” is called so the drooper can reinstall his drawers!


             But, as Dylan reflected years ago, times they are – a – changing! …. Some of the turn-around can be credited to ….

                            …… President Barack Obama, who last fall counseled the sagging britches youths, in an MTV interview, that the “brothers ought to pull up their pants”. 

     Maybe it’s catching on. Plantation High School recently had a “
No Saggin Pants Day”, and their Principal handed out belts, donated by Wal-Mart,  to those in violations. They explained to the youth that the fad needed to go, that “UNDER” wear was called underwear for a reason.

     Next thing you know, face jewelry will go dinosaur !!

Police Chief Adderley and the Citizenry

     Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley says he wants to listen to the citizenry.

                                                                     Chief Chats with Citizens

    Adderley is in the unenviable position of finding ways to fight rising crime in an austere budget year .  And he must do it with a Police force that has about  80 Officers short, on the street, from full staffing levels reached in 2003. Though the City Administration and the new City Commission has given the Chief a full green light to staff up, years of freezing positions, disgruntled Officers leaving for other agencies,  and a less than adequate recruiting effort has left the force diminished.

     So in an unprecedented move, the Police Chief has recently turned to the citizenry for advice.

     The Chief has empanelled a group of Citizens that call themselves “The Chief’s Roundtable”.

                                                   the “Roundtable” in action                                    

     This past Tuesday was the second meeting of the group. It consists mainly of representatives of areas in the City that have escalating crime problems,. Tuesday’s group included reps from the Beach, the City’s central neighborhoods, and the southern neighborhoods that surround Federal Highway.

     The session was lively, with lots of talk of bringing back “Community Policing”  to the City, finding ways to expedite hiring of new Police Officers, and looking at newer creative techniques that are working in other cities.

     Adderley says he finds these sessions helpful, and that he’s ready to “accept good ideas, no matter where they come from”.

     If you think you can be helpful also, send me an e-mail to, as I’ve been helping the Chief identify residents that want to be involved………..