Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler’s Plan Discriminates Against 50% Of Residents: Renters

 

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

 

Once upon a time in America, only white male property owners were allowed to vote.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler apparently pines for those good ol’ days when property owners had special privileges.

 

 

Jack Seiler

 

Seiler railroaded through the Fort Lauderdale City Commission earlier this month a resolution that has a property ownership requirement for any member of a new key city advisory board.

The Infrastructure Task Force will examine the condition of Fort Lauderdale’s roads, sidewalks, airports, seawalls, water and sewer pipes, treatment plants, well fields, parks and all other facilities.  Members will then recommend to City Hall how to pay for needed repairs or replacement.

Every structure threatened by growth, climate change and aging is on the table. Renters, however, don’t have a seat at that table.

Seiler gave the age-old excuse for excluding renters:

“The burden to pay (for infrastructure) will be on the payers of property tax.”

Seiler seems to be prematurely assuming that any future improvements will be paid through property taxes. One of the task force’s responsibilities is to “identify funding sources and financing alternatives for those infrastructure improvements,” according to the city resolution.

The mayor also brushed off the valid argument that renters pay property taxes through their rent.

Maybe Seiler believes that renters don’t have real ties to the community.  They are too transient, moving from city-to-city like a politician who spent his career in Wilton Manors for years before moving to Fort Lauderdale to run for mayor.

Let me get this straight, Jack. You say that a property owner can spend five months of the year in North Carolina and still serve on this all-important board. Yet renters living in the city 24/7, maybe from birth, need not apply.

The concept of limiting service to only property owners is counter to Fort Lauderdale’s demographics.

Only 52.3 percent of the city’s housing units were occupied by owners between 2011-2015, according to the U. S. Census. The figure nationwide is that owners occupy 63.9 percent of the homes.

Seiler’s blindness to those statistics must extend to his eyes. Right outside City Hall it is easy to see that Fort Lauderdale is in the midst of a rental apartment building boom.

Add to that the cost of new housing in Fort Lauderdale.  The price of homes are out of the reach to all but the well-to-do in this low-paid state. Even many two-income families can’t afford to buy a Fort Lauderdale home.

Then there is the trend documented everywhere that renting has become more popular than buying.

“Renting has topped buying for about two years in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, largely because stock market gains have outperformed home-price appreciation,” Florida Atlantic University economist Ken Johnson recently told the Sun-Sentinel.

Those very renters moving into Fort Lauderdale are being told by Seiler, “We will take your money but you can’t serve on this board planning the city’s future.”

It doesn’t matter if a newcomer is an engineer, a financial wiz, a climate expert or a futurist.

They are renters. They are to be shunned, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler seems to be saying.

 

Seiler, Steve Bannon In Sync 

 

There is another guy in the news who has expressed similar sentiments: Steve Bannon.   

Donald Trump’s controversial adviser purportedly told a former colleague that he believed only property owners should vote.

Such a position has been a staple of the alt-right movement.

While Bannon’s reported comments go father than Seiler’s, they both would treat renters as second-class citizens.

The story about Bannon appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post, so some are sure to label it “false facts.”

Seiler’s position is not “false facts.”  Sadly the Fort Lauderdale mayor is very happy to discriminate against half of his citizens.

See below:



22 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler’s Plan Discriminates Against 50% Of Residents: Renters”

  1. Renter says:

    I don’t remember Seiler telling the Riverfront developers that the occupants of their recently approved 1,200 rental units (renters) would have no say in the future sustainability of our City.

    Then again, i don’t remember Seiler telling the Riverfront developers that they would be exempt from Impact Fees on the project because their tenants are only lowly renters.

  2. Young at heart says:

    The advisory boards in Fort Lauderdale are largely out of touch with reality as many of those appointed are well to do older white people with slanted views on public issues. There is a serious lack of diversity and hardly anyone under the age of 50. Young people who are moving to Fort Lauderdale in increasing numbers are not having their voices heard and are a sorely lacking demographic of the makeup of advisory boards which are led by cranky old people, some of whom have no professional expertise to be offering advice to our City.

  3. Seiler's Outdated says:

    Millennials are mostly renters and are the ones who will be most affected by climate change. Seiler & friends will be long under the ground, but we will still be living here.

  4. State of our City says:

    Go Riverwalk magazine “One of the things Mayor Seiler is most proud of is the fact that our city’s tax millage rate has remained unchanged for 10 years”. The “elitist” Seiler fails to mention the 30% increase in water & sewer rates and 126% increase in stormwater rates over the past 5 years as an example..both regressive taxes unfairly burden lower-income families. Who exactly are the Mayors constituents if they are not renters or lower income families?

  5. Simple Workaround? says:

    Does Seiler’s resolution define the word property? If not an argument could be made by a renter who is a resident of Ft. Lauderdale and owns a car, a bike, a phone, etc. is eligible to sit on the task force because they meet the requirement of being a property owner.

  6. John Henry says:

    @Young at Heart

    I’ve been serving on various City Advisory Boards since I was 22yrs old—always being the youngest person in the room by at least 20yrs. I feel your pain.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Look at the age of the Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners.

    Robert McKinzie is in his mid 50s.
    Bruce Roberts is in his upper 60s.
    Romney Rogers is in his 60s.
    Jack Seiler is in his mid 50s.
    Dean Trantalis is in his 60s.

  7. Are you a renter says:

    Does the 8 minute 9 second City-wide response time for Fire & EMS because of traffic congestion and overdevelopment only apply to owners? (the official target response time is 6 minutes)

    What if a renter (50% of the City) suffers from cardiac arrest or their apartment is burning down, will they get a different Emergency Service response?

    Operator: 911 Emergency Response, what is your emergency and are you a renter?

  8. Freeholder says:

    The city has one other board that requires members to be property owners, that would be the DDA.

    FROM BUDDY:

    In one way the DDA is even more undemocratic. Corporations owning commercial property can appoint someone to be on the DDA. You don’t have to live downtown. Members have lived all over and been DDA members.

    The DDA’s website states that Board members “must own property within the Authority’s 370 acre jurisdiction or be an executive with a corporation owning commercial property within the jurisdiction, and thus have a vested interest in the activities of the DDA.”

    The difference is that the DDA is an independent taxing district only impacting the area inside the DDA. It has a limited job — rehabilitation, redevelopment, and revitalization of the downtown.

    The infrastructure board that is the subject of my post has influence over a much large range of issues. Its discussions should be much more wide ranging.

    That said, I believe the DDA is undemocratic and unnecessary. It was created almost two generations ago by large Fort Lauderdale property owners such as the Forman family and Forman associates. They wanted it as a vehicle to make it easier to develop their land.

    Today the DDA handles millions of tax dollars with very, very little oversight. The DDA is an extra costly layer of government that ends up costing everybody. It should be eliminated, but no one has the guts to take it on.

  9. Charles King says:

    Is it just me or did the music just stop on “Crooked” Jack Seiler’s political career in the Democrat Party? As one of the only two people from the public that spoke up that night against the passage of this 19th if not 18th Century minded resolution at the city commission meeting I can’t help but feel satisfied that although I might be a Republican and a fairly conservative one, I could see and speak out against the plain injustice of the resolution but the lawyer, mayor and wannabe State Attorney General nominee from the Democrat Party Jack Seiler could not. I guess “Jack” just couldn’t see the hypocrisy that he as a transient politician moving from city to city in pursuit of his political career was telling professional millennial renters who choose to rent instead of buy at least for a time that they are just too transient to be trusted or even represented on the infrastructure issue. An infrastructure issue that ironically exits due to “Jack’s” 8 years in office looting the water department of $16 to $20 million per year, painting instead of paving the streets on the cheap, ignoring traffic/development problems, claiming sidewalks are not the city’s business, seeming unconcerned about saltwater regularly in our eastern streets and polluting our waterways, streets, yard and parks with raw sewage from our ignored and unmaintained city pipes. Instead when “Crooked” Jack Seiler, “Rio Vista” Romney Roger and Bruce “the pensioner pirate” Roberts rolled into office in 2009 they promptly borrowed $350 million in risky 100% stock market invested pension obligation bonds to pay nonrealistic and non-re-negotiated pensions for the police union that successfully put them all into office despite only 13% of the city’s police officers living in the city. But there I go again. Back to “Jack” and his slap across the face for the city’s renters. Clearly “Jack” feels that the tiny mandate of the 7% of the electorate who turned out in his last intentionally off cycle March election were probably owners and not renters and probably pretty old to boot. Also you millennials have to understand that “Jack” lives in an estate in Coral Country Club with 7 bathrooms in it on the golf course, or what used to be a golf course open to the public till “Jack” rezoned it from “recreational” to “residential” for his developer buddies. Don’t worry “Jack” threw in a “passive park” buffer area in for himself and his neighbors. I tell you if that driving range was still there I’d be slicing drives on to his roof as we speak. At any rate I kind of consider it mana from heaven when a phony baloney plastic banana good time rock’ in roller career politician like “Crooked” Jack Seiler drops his guard a bit and reveals to the world the person we are actually dealing with up there on the dais, in the smoky backrooms and kissing babies on the campaign trail. Happy St Patrick’s Day to you “Jack,” I can’t think of a more fitting day for a half an Irishman if that to have his political career “jump the shark.”

  10. Rosemary B says:

    Depending on the Advisory Board, I would feel better represented by a renter than a lobbyist!! The Chair of the Charter Revision Board is a lobbyist and campaign manager for several sitting Commissioners!!

  11. Bill says:

    Thank god for term limits.

  12. Cara says:

    Don’t worry– those advisory boards are mostly for show & the commissioners *& Seileroften blows off their own appointees. The Utility Advisory Board did painstaking research and strongly advised against a 30 year lease to FPL, but the commissioners & Jack Seiler refused even to meet with that board. Look at the Sustainability board where people resigned left & right after realizing it was greenwashing.

  13. Charles King says:

    How great would it be to see the city’s renters form a political coalition against “Crooked” Jack Seiler and his coming bid to become the Democrat Party’s nominee for State Attorney General and to defeat “Crooked” Jack’s hand picked successor Bruce “the pension pirate” Roberts who also voted for this regressive resolution in the mayoral election next March 13th? Spread the word through social media against these two nasty characters and total hypocrites. #RENTERSLIVESMATTER?

  14. Tell the Truth says:

    @6. John Henry
    To Buddy’s comment-
    Mayor will be 54 in May
    Roberts is 69 this month
    Dean will be 64 in October
    McKinzie was 55 in January
    Romney will be 64

    For Broward County the age distribution is 22.4% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.7 years.

  15. Finally says:

    Thank you Buddy for doing this story about Seiler. Finally, someone tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Seiler can’t hide his true side. Oh, I have heard Seiler is going to run for state office?! I will not be voting for him.

  16. Talks like a politician says:

    The Mayor’s attitude against renters is elitist. The permits to build more and more “luxury” rental apartments should be halted immediately if the tenants are unworthy of a seat on an advisory board.
    History moment: The former Mayor of Dania Beach, Walter Duke, rented an apartment for years before buying a house in Dania Beach.
    Are renters also excluded from holding political office in Fort Lauderdale or is Dania Beach the only city that allows that?

  17. Louisa DeSantis says:

    To ignore half of the populations input because they rent seems short sighted and with a 9 member task force, at least one could easily represent and contribute for a such a large population rather than absentee Landlords who have no clue. TRAFFIC everywhere but particularly on the beach is a nightmare that needs fixing. Traffic lights are way off at Las Olas and Sunrise causing major delays. 17th Street an equal nightmare with lights so long you could give birth waiting for them to change. Eisenhower Blvd light way too long causing backup on bridge.

    No more developments until infrastructure is improved. On second thought, let’s have the developers pay for the infrastructure needed to accommodate their projects instead of the tax payers paying to accommodate their building. They are after all getting quite rich off these developments. Why should we bear the burden alone. Why can’t they be required to add to the infrastructure needed for their development???

  18. Count Coco Puffs says:

    Remember this:

    Nov 18th, 2015 at 5:53pm
    Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz

    Ever go to one of those Conference meetings” where the Mayor n Commissioners whisper about who they had coffee with? Well at one of them City Manager Lee Feldman said the Stormwater Plan would be a BILLION DOLLARS and Dubose almost had a stroke Trantalis looked at the ceiling for flying pigs, Roberts n Rogers I think, said in French accents. Non. Non. Non only 800 Million 600 Million (again with French accents) and then Bavarian Irishman Seiler said with a Lower Bavarian accent I knowing about this therefore it was not said!

    You wait. In early 2018 at 5:00 am on a morning when there is an elsipse n cable tv goes out n Larry Barszewski is in the toilet the Ft Lauderdale City Commission will authorize a BILLION DOLLAR BOND ISSUE which will only be publicly announced after Jack Seiler is the Demicratic candidate for Attorney General Bruce Roberts is elected without opposition as Mayor n. Dean Trantalis will claim his vote for the BILLION DOLLAR BOND issue was cast by an imposter! You heard it here first!

  19. Charles King says:

    Checkout the below excerpt from a Sun Sentinel article by Brittany Wallman from April 22, 2008. Yes, its true “Jack” Seiler was a renter when he ran for Mayor of Fort Lauderdale.

    State Rep. Jack Seiler’s wife and kids don’t live in a house in Wilton Manors, as previously reported. They actually live in two houses in Wilton Manors. Add to that the house Seiler owns in Tallahassee, and the house he just rented in Fort Lauderdale to support his mayoral run there, and you get a really harried candidate. “It’s been uncomfortable at times because I’ve left my house on a Friday night in Tallahassee, come home, gone and seen my kids [in Wilton Manors] and gone and slept in the house in Fort Lauderdale,” Seiler said. Seiler, a term-limited state legislator who is running for mayor of Fort Lauderdale, has been answering questions about his residency since he announced he was running……Meanwhile, Seiler rented a house in Fort Lauderdale that’s not far from the two homes he owns in Wilton Manors. One of his law partners owns the Fort Lauderdale house, he confirmed. That gave him the Fort Lauderdale address he needed in order to change his voter registration and be called Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Fort Lauderdale, instead of D-Wilton Manors. Seiler has a homestead exemption and save-our-homes protection from large tax increases on both Wilton Manors homes because the titles were combined into one.

  20. Fake News says:

    @19. That article was written by Brittany Norman, the queen of Fake News, who just got demoted back to the lowly city beat. No wonder that paper is bankrupt.

    FROM BUDDY:

    When Brittany Wallman (Her married name.) applied at the Sun-Sentinel many years ago, I was one of those who interviewed her. I recommended she be hired. I believed she would be an aggressive, tireless reporter who was skeptical of those in power and sympathized with those who lacked a voice. My assessment proved to be right.

    As far as being demoted, Wallman still has a job, quite an achievement in the old media world. She is still getting the same pay. She remains one of the most respected reporters at the Sun-Sentinel among the staff. She remains one of the most feared reporters among politicians, which is a good thing.

    And after covering the county for years, she gets to refresh her career. She will write about a City Hall that needs a new skeptical eye watching it. I look forward to her coverage.

    P.S.: The Sun-Sentinel is no longer part of a bankrupt company.

    That doesn’t mean it is healthy:

    * The Sun-Sentinel is crippled and has become irrelevant to anyone under the age of Social Security, like much of the print journalism world.

    * The Sun-Sentinel has been mostly unsuccessful replacing the revenue it is losing from a declining print product with new revenue from the Internet. The financial troubles at Macy’s, one of the last remaining big advertisers in the print product, can be nothing but more bad news for the Sun-Sentinel.

    * The Sun-Sentinel just finished another rounds of staff firings and product cutbacks, closing the Palm Beach edition and moving its headquarters from downtown Fort Lauderdale to offices in its printing plant in a Deerfield Beach industrial zone.

    * The Sun-Sentinel is caught in a secular decline that can not be reversed. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who owns several dozen newspapers, recently told CNBC that there will be no newspapers in a decade beyond perhaps the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

  21. sick of politics says:

    This is outstanding, The Mayor has his way, public input matters not. He lets people like the lunatic Count Whacko speak he’s not even registered to vote in Broward of Fort Lauderdale another Judy Stern Shill, this City has huge problems. And the Commission meetings are like a circus. Politics at its finest a park in Riverland made it on the agenda because Romney pushed for it and gets approved. Meanwhile the 10 year Fire Bond project in year 12 has no end in sight.Another brain storm lets reduce the lanes on Las Olas, the City is run by the Lobbiyists the residents may go to hell. Mayor and 3 commissioners take their orders from that fat cow Judy Stern. WAKE UP WE ARE ALL SCREWED THANKS JACK

  22. City activist robert walsh says:

    Im a renter. I am fully engaged and i can’t even vote. Mayor Seiler take it easy you are all done in less than a year. Try not to make waves. smooth sailing think. Stay away from drama like this. You don’t need it. Your almost at the finish line play it safe. as far as some of the comments . Fat cow, Corrupt Jack,Pension pirate Roberts etc. Really. Do you really think you will get anywhere calling them names. Let the renters in Mayor…

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