Fort Lauderdale Has a Map Flap!
Former mayoral candidate and compulsive activist Earl Rynerson has been looking for dirt in the office of new Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler. Who knew he'd find it in his own mailbox?
Judging by his blog post yesterday, Rynerson can barely contain his excitement over having received a form letter from Seiler, soliciting local businesses to buy advertising space in a Fort Lauderdale map that the city has asked a private company to make. It plans to provide the map away for free to tourists.
I suppose it's a little weird for the mayor to be pimping out a mapmaker, assuming that a Seiler endorsement may help pad the profit. I'm just not sure there's much profit to be had there. Rynerson claims that a family member of the mapmaker gave the max contribution to Seiler's campaign, which adds some intrigue.
Still, it seems to be pretty mild stuff. I've got a message into Seiler and hope to hear back today. When I do, I'll update.
Scandal or not, it's good to know that Rynerson's sleeping with one eye open. If Seiler so much as jaywalks, you can bet he'll hear about it. (Hat tip to Tim Smith's blog.)
UPDATE: Seiler was wrapped up in meetings Monday afternoon and wasn't able to return my call, but he responded in the comments field of Smith's blog. I've copied that note after the jump.
Jack Seiler wrote:
Thanks for your comments on this matter -- I always appreciate and value your thoughtful input. However, I think it is important that your readers and bloggers get the full background on this issue.
In late March or early April, I was asked by Dolph Map to sign an "introductory letter of support" that the prior Mayor had signed. As you know, Dolph Map is a well known, locally owned business that has been here for decades and for generations.
Before signing the letter, I was told that the Dolph Map project provides a "free" Fort Lauderdale map to our residents, tourists and businesses, and I independently verified that fact.
Safeea (the Mayor's assistant) also confirmed for me that the prior Mayor had signed a similar letter for the free city map. (In fact, former Mayor Dressler also recalls signing a similar letter back in the 1980's).
Before signing the letter of support for the free city map, I then confirmed that there would be no cost, expense, or charge to the City; no City staff or resources would be utilized; and, no City postage, stationery, or envelopes would be used.
When I signed the letter of support for the free city map, it was simply a one page letter (there was no form on the page).
Dolph Map then picked up the executed letter of support, and that was the end of my, or the City's, involvement.
Quite simply, the City has not spent, and will not spend, any money on this map project. Further, I did not receive, and will not receive, any benefit from signing a letter of support for a free city map to be distributed throughout South Florida. However, Fort Lauderdale residents, visitors, and tourists will receive the benefit of a free city map at no expense to the City, and Fort Lauderdale businesses might receive some benefit during a very difficult economic climate.
If after reading these facts, and after reading George Q. Public's excellent response, you still believe that something wrong or improper was done, then I sincerely apologize. I was merely trying to promote our great City and provide free city maps at no cost to our City.
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