Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler: His Late Meetings Turn Sunshine Law Into Moonlight Law





Maybe the Fort Lauderdale City Commission isn’t responsible for C. Ann Lanese’s death.


An 87-year-old longtime beach activist, Ms. Lanese collapsed after returning home from a commission vote that occurred about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. She broke her leg and died while physicians were preparing to operate.

Predawn meetings like the one this week are all too common under Mayor Jack Seiler. Critics say Seiler has turned the Sunshine Law into the Moonlight Law.



Jack Seiler


Ms. Lanese was one of the original residents of Leisure Beach condominium. She was at the meeting when commissioners approved a new four-story parking garage next to her home. She was the first one signing a March petition from the condo protesting the huge scope of the garage and other beach improvements.

The parking garage is an issue that interests not only Ms. Lanese.   Hundred of beach residents, perhaps thousands, will be impacted by the garage blocking views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Yet it was debated in the wee hours.

Seiler told Browardbeat.com this week the garage was fully debated 43 times “in the afternoon and early evening” in the past several years.

During those previous hearings, residents convinced the city to reduce the plan from two garages to one garage. The height of the remaining garage was lowered from roughly 75 to 45 feet.

“We had plenty of opportunity for public input and it made a difference,” Seiler said.

The mayor has been criticized in the past for letting meetings run way past midnight. Issues that interest a large number of residents are routinely debated when most are in bed.

Redevelopment of Bahia Mar, housing for people with AIDS and even a discussion about iguanas plaguing the city has taken place after midnight. Commissioners even decided at 3:18 a.m. several years ago to go ahead with dumping the city manager.

Seiler could have moved many of these issues to the front end of the agenda. Instead, they languished until the end.


Seiler Always Supported Pre-Dawn Meetings


“I don’t think it’s in the true spirit of government in the sunshine,” activist Marc Dickerman told the Sun-Sentinel in 2010.

Dickerman was quoted in an article headlined “LATE-NIGHT FORT LAUDERDALE MEETINGS BEGIN RAISING SOME EYEBROWS.” The story noted that a super-majority of the Broward County Commission must voted to meet after midnight under the assumption that tired politicians make bad decisions.

A weary group of commissioners approved the garage very, very early Wednesday morning.

The new garage will replace some parking north of the Las Olas Bridge. As part of the deal,  a beach parking lot at A1A and Las Olas is being turned into a park.

Many residents don’t want the garage or the park. They complain the garage is unsightly. They say the park will draw drifters and unsavory types especially at night.

They also point out that although $43 million being spent on the project, only 58 more parking spaces are being added than are contained in the existing lots.

As much as some residents don’t want the beach to change, the rule in politics is: There is no money to be made from the status quo.

No money for engineers. No money for contractors. No money for lobbyists. No money for the commissioner’ insider friends.

In the quid pro quo world of Fort Lauderdale City Hall, if commissioners approve projects that put money in the pockets of insiders, they are rewarded with campaign contributions.

With Commissioners Bruce Roberts, Romney Rogers and Jack Seiler believed to be running for higher office, the beach plan will generate thousands in campaign contributions.

So when Ms. Lanese left her condo Tuesday it was already clear which way the vote was going.

Seiler characteristically dragged the meeting until opponents to the project were nodding off. Because there is just too much money in a new garage to allow pesky residents to derail the plans.



7 Responses to “Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler: His Late Meetings Turn Sunshine Law Into Moonlight Law”

  1. Getting the same with Bruce Roberts says:

    Let’s be clear Buddy, Commissioner Roberts is running for Mayor of Fort Lauderdale. Since Bruce has no objections on the record of how items are placed on the Agenda, then your readers need to realize that Robert’s is going to embrace this practice when he is Mayor.

    it would be sad if Fort Lauderdale ends up with a retired government worker as Mayor who is in only it to get a second pension. Hopefully someone youth with new ideas will come along and run for mayor..

  2. This is a joke right? says:

    Are you really trying to blame Jack Seiler and a late meeting for this woman death? Bit of a stretch no? Buddy you are losing your sh*t at your old age!
    Next story please…..!


    Read the piece. I never blamed Jack Seiler for anything but being rude to constituents by dragging meetings past midnight.

  3. HillaryIn2016And2020 says:

    “She broke her leg and died while physicians were preparing to operate.”

    I have absolutely no need to know that the lady died.

    Buddy, why did you not list the names of the doctors and the nurses that worked on her?

    How about the name of the Hospital and it’s CEO’s name?

    How about the ambulance driver too?

    And what color was that ambulance driver?

    I bet he / she was either white or non-white.

    How could you fail to add this most important information?

    There goes your Pulitzer Prize award for 2016.

  4. Talks like a politician says:

    Voters in District 4: Educate yourselves about the real estate appraiser/realtor/politician who recently moved into Fort Lauderdale assuming he will take Rogers’ place. Question his agenda. Is he for Fort Lauderdale or for himself?

  5. Jeff Weinberger says:

    These late night meetings are clearly strategic, with the intent being to deter public input. Probably the worst example of all, not mentioned above, occurred in October, 2014, with the passage at about 3:30am of the food sharing ban which notoriously led to the city’s global excoriation by anyone with a heart and media outlets from here to Timbuktu for citing then-90-year old Arnold Abbott and others for giving food to hungry/homeless folk. There, too, rather than hearing the majority of meeting attendees who spoke against the ordinance’s passage, Seiler only heard the money people who support him: reps from the DDA and Chamber of Commerce. Seiler’s agenda couldn’t be more transparent: stand with the 1% and to hell with everyone else…October 22nd Alliance to End Homelessness

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The story is unfair to Mayor Seiler and Commissioners Roberts n Rogers because State Law on the one hand and Emergency Items on the other hand govern a lot of the Agenda schedule.
    Frankly I dont know a municipal government in the USA that doesnt have meetings going into the early morning of the next day.
    To hold up the notorious anti-residents Broward County Commission as an example is really a bridge too far.

  7. city Activist robert walsh says:

    Mayor Seiler states that “u are streching it Buddy”. I stated to him yrs ago that these meetings going to three, four , almost five am , was a safety hazzard. I mean is it his fault this 85 yr. old woman died, of course not….Clearly these meeting going pratically all nite, needs to stop. Good reporting Buddy…