Fmr Fort Laud Mayor Jack Seiler Packs Transportation Group With Downtown Business Interests

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

If you like what former Mayor Jack Seiler did in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll love the committee overseeing $16 billion raised by the new penny sales tax.

The tax was designed to help move people around the entire county. That was the promise to voters, who approved the tax hike by a huge 60-40 percent margin last year. 

 

Jack Seiler

 

Thanks largely to Seiler, the tax oversight committee is not a cross section of Broward. The committee is a cross section of Fort Lauderdale business interests.

With billions at stake, downtown business bosses should be holding celebrations in honor of Seiler.

The former mayor was most the forceful figure on the group that named members of the committee.

Remember The Wave? 

That was the light rail downtown pipe dream buried by the Fort Lauderdale City Commission — after Seiler left last year — and the Broward County Commission. But only after millions was squandered on planning. 

Will this new board seek to reanimate the ghost of The Wave to haunt our wallets once again? 

We will have to wait to find out. 

Meanwhile, Seiler made sure that the nine-member oversight board, which is supposed to guarantee proper tax spending, is packed with veterans of Fort Lauderdale City Hall. These new committee members know Seiler from when city hall was very, very pro-light rail.

Randall Vitale, the chair of the selection committee, largely agreed with Seiler’s choices. No surprise since Vitale, an executive of Hoffman Chocolates, is a member of the downtown Fort Lauderdale business group Broward Workshop.

 

Richard Vitale

 

 

 

Three of the nine new oversight committee board members are also members of the Broward Workshop. All were pushed by Seiler. 

Criticize by many for his overzealous pursuit of supersized development projects while mayor, Seiler applauded the Fort Lauderdale-oriented tax oversight board. 

“I think the future of transportation and the future of Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County area could not look brighter with this board,” Seiler crowed.

The former mayor did experience one big loss when he nominated former Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman to the oversight board. 

“Excellent city manager, got a quick — quick mind, learn — you know, learns quickly, adjusts quickly, and I think has the ability to handle large projects also….I’ve had the good fortune of working with him for the last eight years, and relied heavily on him,” Seiler told the nominating group.

The committee instead went with Allyson Love, a veteran of Miramar and Homestead City Halls who now an auditor with Majestic Auto Detailing. Love lives in Pembroke Pines and won the committee spot after County Manager Bertha Henry said the oversight board needed “geographic” balance.

 

Allyson Love

 

 But even Love once worked for Fort Lauderdale as interim City Manager in 2010.  

The cities were promised 10 percent of $16 billion generated by the sales tax hike. 

Note the word, “promised.

The Sun-Sentinel warned before last year’s referendum that the tax plan was squishy and built on nothing but promises. 

“The plan is flexible… You’re being asked to approve a budget that includes $4 billion for an old-school light rail system powered by overhead wires…,” the paper wrote. 

Sun-Sentinel editors recommended a vote against the tax. It also cautioned that the idea behind the oversight board was flawed and that “a real potential exists for conflicts of interest.”

It seems that is exactly what happened. The conflict is geographic and could result in a lot of money being poured into downtown Fort Lauderdale at the expense of the other 30 cities. 

The fact that Broward Workshop dominates the new board is also a potential conflict. Are any members of Broward Workshop planning to bid or lobby for a piece of the new tax?

It’s not that voters weren’t warned by the Sun-Sentinel, Browardbeat.com and Mark Bogen, the only county commissioner opposing the tax.  

Below are the new members of the oversight committee as indicated in the minutes of the selection group. You decide if Fort Lauderdale will dominate the process: 

  • Shea Smith, a CPA who is a member of the Broward Workshop and was nominated by Seiler.
  • Phil Allen, with longtime connections to downtown business interests as former Port Everglades director and former county finance director. 
  • Doug Coleman, a landscape architect who Seiler pointed out did many projects in Fort Lauderdale. Coleman is a Broward Workshop member.
  • Cynthia Chambers, former director of environmental protection and growth management for Broward County nominated by Seiler. 
  • Alan Hooper, a construction company owner who built projects in downtown Fort Lauderdale. He is a board member of Broward Workshop and was nominated by Seiler. 
  • George Cavros, who runs a Fort Lauderdale law firm concentrating on clean energy like solar power and the environment.  
  • Danielle McGill, a Pembroke Pines resident who is living with Cerebral Palsy and is a rider of Broward TOPS paratransit for the disabled. 
  • Anthea Pennant, director of Broward College’s Office of Supplier Relations.
  • *Love, mentioned earlier.  

 


Danielle McGill

 

 

 

 



15 Responses to “Fmr Fort Laud Mayor Jack Seiler Packs Transportation Group With Downtown Business Interests”

  1. rob says:

    Jack “$#!t-in-the-Streets” Seiler strikes again.

  2. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I agree I would have picked Ms.Love over Lee Feldman for the reasons that were explained in above.As far as Jack Seiler calling all the shots.Spread the wealth Jack.My take.With over a billion dollars here mentioned I would concentrate all that money for transportation concerns.New roads.Fix the traffic lights etc.What I would like to see is absolutely no developments.east of no only Federal( from.lau) by east of 95.With all these bldgs.going up slow down.Picture like planting fruit trees.Let them come to maturity.In other words get these bldgs that are being built and the ones all ready built esp.these rental bldgs- get tenants in them before u build another one.I can’t see build, build to satisfiy the dev group many on this committee etc.Me, no more projects until all these new bldg etc are at 85 percent full.And lastly put this Wave concept to bed- majority of the residents esp.Ft.Lau don.t want it.We just had to take what was it 5million dollars etc to pay off studies, consultant firms wt ,which we took out of our reserves.So my advice to Atty.Seiler and the whole committee is SLOW DOWN..

  3. Count. LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Has Allyson Love EVER had a REAL job? as opposed to Alan Hooper WHO BUILDS INVESTS n PAYS TAXES.
    AND YOU REALLY THINK BERTHA HENRY GETTING LOVE ON THE COMMITTEE IS NOT CRONYISM? LEE FELDMAN WOULD BE A BETTER PICK

  4. Chaz Stevens, Retired says:

    Can I say that Jack Seiler sucks balls? Is that still allowed under the 1FA?

    I’d have gone with “sucks giant monkey balls,” but I’d imagine that’s a bridge too far.

    Also Jack, you really suck at lying.

  5. Couchsurfer says:

    Chaz, you’re still around?

  6. And the beat goes on says:

    To all the voters who thought this sales tax increase would actually help transportation issues in Broward County: You were duped again. The Broward Workshop has just been given your dollars to buy more Legos to keep building a monument to themselves.
    Traffic lights need to be modernized and timed so traffic can flow, east to west options for people who work downtown need to be developed, an overpass at US 1 and State Road 84 would be wonderful, easy transportation to the airport and seaport would be a miracle.
    The priority for this group of buddies and cronies will be to come up with something cute for downtown Fort Lauderdale.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  7. I love a parade says:

    How was Jack “party boy” Seiler able to pack anything other than his bags out of city hall. Was this done a year ago?
    I wonder how all this greasing has helped his law business?

  8. Tired of waiting for change says:

    Meanwhile we have guaranteed gridlock in Fort Lauderdale. New construction means a trip across the river now takes 30 minutes. Traffic Dept will rot in hell. Hundreds of thousands of County residents spend millions of hours in traffic. Developers rejoice. Taxpayers are fleeced.

  9. Count. LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1. As usual the crew attacking Mayor Jack Seiler and THE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMEN N INVESTORS IN FORT LAUDERDALE DONT SIGN THEIR NAMES.
    What disgusts me is UNLIKE THIRD GENERATION RESIDENTS THEY COMPLAIN ABOUT WHEN YOU GUESS WHO THEY ARE THEY HSVE NO REAL TIES TO FORT LAUDERDALE except to connive at some lobbying deal.

  10. Lived here my whole life says:

    Hey Count Chocula, just as all your election predictions were completely off, so is your conclusion about the people who rightfully blame Party Boy Seiler.
    Please tell me any falsehoods-Traffic Sucks, feces was flowing in our streets and river under party boy, the reserves were depleted, money was wrongfully used for parties, and wrongfully diverted from maintaining our infrastructure.
    Count keep living the good life in your neighborhood with tiny Tim as your leader. BTW, we are successful business people with deep ties to Fort Lauderdale and major investments, not just some stupid name with Count in front of it.

  11. 1961 wade-in says:

    Here is John “Jaqueoph” Seiler’s and Bruce “Race” Roberts legacy in the “Those people” community of Fort Lauderdale. Please view the attached video of “Racism continues in Fort Lauderdale.” Seiler’s attempt to get Lee “Hire back the Racist Cop” Feldman to bring him on board to manage a “$$$BILLION+.”

  12. Chaz Stevens, Foodie says:

    @10

    I beg to differ.

    Count Chocula kicks ass. That’s a Count you can count on.

  13. Count. LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Chemnitz Freistaat Sachsen

    If cowards #10 #11 signed their names we’d see non entities with limited literacy n no knowledge of the world outside of rural minded NIMY Fort Lauderdale old farts. Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig, Chemnitz, Dresden, Dresden-Neustadt, Muenchen, Ashheim-Donach, and Rome are dealing with the same issues being raised by the cowardly wackos who blog n complain at Commission meetings.BUT IN EVERY CITY I JUST NAMED N ON MIAMI BEACH or in BOCA RATON or DELRAY BEACH their ARE REAL COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS CREATING ACADEMIC INTELLECTUAL ARTISTIC INSTITUTIONS PROGRAMS N EVENTS N IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTURE. The NAMELESS BLOGGERS PRODUCE NOTHING! Now pardon me as I dress for ANOTHER ACADEMIC LECTURE I SPONSOR IN EUROPE BECAUSE THE CLODS IN FORT LAUDERDALE ARE TOO ILLITERATE TO KNOW OF POLLAK’s WORK IN ROME.

  14. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Told you so. But Broward lemmings never learn.

  15. Just One Vote says:

    http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/hillsborough-transit-tax-lawsuit-has-serious-statewide-ramifications

    Can a hand-picked cabal, unaccountable to voters, earmark one dollar, let alone $16 billion, of public funds for projects that were created to primarily benefit the wealthy and influential?

    It’s a question that should be asked throughout Florida, not just in Hillsborough County where a sales tax boost was passed under the most disingenuous motivation and manipulation.

    Earmarks in government are set aside for a specific purpose, but more often than not, are associated with pork-barrel projects, handouts and wasteful spending without due diligence…..”

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