Imagine a society in which citizens must work to air their grievances, where every complaint to city hall requires a bit of physical effort. Would this weed out the gadflies? Apparently not.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler's new "mobile office hours" involve a monthly jog/walk through a neighborhood of the city. He has a secretary ride alongside him in a pedicab, and if you want to talk to him or ask questions, you've got to jog to keep up, huffing and puffing your opinions. Too slow to run? Seiler's got a bum knee, so he'll be more than happy to slow to a walk, but don't try to get him standing still.
OK, perhaps we exaggerate. He's still available in his office by appointment. But last night's inaugural jaunt along the Riverwalk and Sailboat Bend proved that the mayor can still get pinned down by a citizen activist or two even if he's got running shoes on.
Video after the jump.
The group started out on Monday evening for a stretch in Huizenga Plaza, then got going down the Riverwalk. Nobody showed up to talk with the mayor for the first stretch, but Police Chief Frank Adderley and former City Commissioner Tim Smith kept him company at the head of the rather leisurely ensemble. Activist and journalist Cal Deal rode a bike and took pictures.
Of course, a lot of people simply don't recognize the mayor. To solve that, Smith served as his mobile booster, saying "The mayor of Fort Lauderdale is here to take your complaints" to citizens along the way. A couple of condo owners from Jersey declined to provide feedback.
At Cooley's Landing, Seiler noted an accessibility issue with a gate under the bridge and had his roving secretary write it down.
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Outside a community center, Seiler saw that the Sailboat Bend Civic Association would be meeting in a few minutes. He hurried inside to leave a note on the table. The perfect mayoral visit: no complaints, no handshaking, a nice note waiting for the residents.
But once outside, the mayor was suddenly accosted in the street by historic-neighborhood activist Paul Boggess about a letter he wrote in support of demolishing and replacing some of the Dr. Kennedy homes nearby. Seiler listened and even stopped still in his tracks for about a minute. Nobody was getting Boggess to jog along.