Fort Lauderdale P & Z Board Member Must Go


Okay, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Romney Rogers. The ball is in your court.

You appointed the jerk.  Now it’s time to pull the plug on the guy you named to the city’s Planning & Zoning Board: Fred Stresau

I always believe I’ve seen and heard it all in politics. Then I remember this is Broward County. 

My former Sun-Sentinel colleague Brittany Wallman has an amazing story today, which is not unusual for her. 

She reveals here how Stresau refuses to read e-mail from the public.  He pushes the delete button rather than be bothered by any opinions other than his own.

What unmitigated gall! 

The hallmark of American government is allowing average people to express their views.  Its enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution stating people have the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Stresau apparently hasn’t read the Constitution.  Or any civic book. 

What Stresau doesn’t want to read now is any e-mailed opinions on the proposed Bahia Mar development.

It is natural that Fort Lauderdale residents have strong views on the project.  It’s a huge development on the site of the Bahia Mar which would dramatically change the character of the beach.

Stresau isn’t interested.

I guess his time is soooo valuable he doesn’t have a spare moment to find out what people think.

Wallman writes that City Attorney Harry Stewart is “reviewing whether Stresau violated state public records retention laws by deleting the emails he got.

Is there any doubt he at least broke the spirit of the law?

Forget Stewart.  I would love if somebody filed a lawsuit against Stresau for destroying the records.  Let a judge decide.

And I also join activist Marc S. Dickerman in calling for Rogers to remove Stresau.

This guy is exactly the wrong person to be on a key city advisory board.

Dump him, Mr. Rogers.

9 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale P & Z Board Member Must Go”

  1. T. J. Ripley says:

    You are so right, Buddy.
    This guy is a creep.

  2. I agree says:

    A guy that doesn’t have the patience to listen to fellow residents doesn’t belong in government. And he’s probably an outstanding guy. I’m not saying let’s stone him to death or something. But if emails on projects bother him, then he probably got in way over his head and really should so something else with his spare time.

    Frankly, he shouldn’t put Romney in so difficult a position. He should simply resign, any excuse will be accepted without a question. Otherwise, he should be prepared to become a press target and that will not be fun for him at all. They will hang on his every word and mess with him just for giggles.

  3. Too Harsh says:

    Buddy, you are being a little too harsh. I agree with your argument, however, everybody makes mistakes and I assume that Mr. Stresau will learn his lesson.

  4. Walter Thomas says:

    This is why people are upset with politics. Rogers, not Stresau, is the one at fault. Rogers always seemed like a stuck-up, elitist, so why are we surprised that he appointed somebody who doesn’t want to listen to anybody else.

  5. Dominic says:

    I would have to agree that harsh it the appropriate word.

    I think Fred has a valid point in complaining his personal email address was released to the public. If the city of Fort Lauderdale wants to do this, they should give these people city email addresses that then fall under the sunshine laws.

    I think it’s particularly valid when you look at the number of people on this committee who don’t even have email addresses published. Why should only a few members of this committee have to deal with public comment in this manner when the others on the committee don’t.

    Tempest in a teapot if you ask me.

  6. Floridan says:

    Having served on several boards over the years, I have some sympathy with Mr. Stresau’s position (however inelegantly he stated it).

    Often on contentious issues board members are flooded with emails that are little better than form letters (astroturfing is the slang term for these). After going through a half-dozen, it is obvious that these are not the original thoughts of the sender (if, indeed, they even come from the individuals who “signed” them).

    Mr. Stresau didn’t say he wouldn’t listen to any arguments, pro or con; just that he didn’t feel obligated to read unsolicited emails.

  7. Yes Dominic But says:

    Dominic makes valid points. However, the gentleman might have attempted to handle the problem in that way. Instead he issued a statement to the press that he was deleting the emails that fellow city residents took the time to send him in to share their views with him as an official. This was not the way to handle the problem.

    And therein lies the rub.

    Was this an individual instance of this guy not handling a situation correctly, or is it that the guy just doesn’t have the temperament to serve in a public capacity.

    We will soon find out, because there is chum in the water on him. The press is now going to focus on him with laser precision, every word he makes, places he goes, things he says and does, looking to build on this story, looking to make him into a monster even if he isn’t. Watch and see. This guy has a big red bullseye on his back. It is really best for him, and certainly best for Romney, that he just step down.

  8. Silly says:

    Such a fuss over emails? How silly. They have public meetings. And what about the phone?

  9. Get a clue says:

    Let’s get one thing straight: he didn’t say he wouldn’t listen. He said he didn’t want the emails coming to his personal or business address. He’s not an elected official. He’s a volunteer giving his time to the city, as he has for 45 years, never receiving a dime. He has had the patience to deal with all of these issues for four and a half decades, so I’d say the question as to his level of patience was asked and answered some time ago. What he did was ensure that when conversations were occurring, they were occuring in the full light of day, with all Board members getting the same information. Is that wrong? How about this one…if he reads all of the emails, is he being unfairly influcenced in a private forum? Don’t we ask all of our government representatives to specifically AVOID that? How about this: come the the meeting and speak your piece, and he, the other Board members, the person (or business) applying to the Board on an issue, as well as the entire community can hear what you have to say. Don’t send a volunteer Board member emails with the F-bomb in them. How long do you think a volunteer will continue to take that abuse? He is in full compliance with the Sunshine Laws, and asking that folks keep public business public. What’s the harm in that? I’d guess that the people who are most offended by this issue have never been to one of these meetings. Never stayed up until midnight or one in the morning giving their own time and effort. It’s certainly easy and cheap to take potshots from the couch. I see some prime examples here. How about this: quit taking cheap shots, get involved in your community, then I’d say you have a well founded perspective and have the right (and ability) to offer an intelligent criticism, when and where it is actually due.