Broward News

Mayor Jack Seiler's Curt Email Response to Sea-Turtle Activists: "Your Facts Are Wrong"

"MAYOR SEILER HATES BABY TURTLES!" That's a popular refrain these days among advocates for sea turtles on Fort Lauderdale's beaches. Around this time of year, eggs buried by mother turtles on the beach hatch, releasing inch-long baby turtles who need to find their way to the sea. They usually do so guided by moonlight -- but the glow of business and streetlights along A1A can distract them, leading them to be run over or die in storm drains.

Groups like Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (STOP) and private individuals are trying to intercept lost turtles and guide them to the ocean, as well as lobby for stricter code enforcement against errant businesses. The group Supporter Ana Campos organized a protest yesterday outside city hall, arguing that Mayor Jack Seiler hasn't acted fast enough to enforce low-light codes and turn off streetlights. Edit 9/11: the protest was not officially supported or sanctioned by STOP, a separate organization.

Supporters of the turtles rally on a Facebook page, where activist Ana Campos also posts email communications between the activists and Seiler. Apparently, he's grown weary of their accusations:

On Tuesday, activist Skye Cervone sent the following email to Seiler (don't worry, his response requires a lot less reading).

From: Ciela
To: Jack Seiler; Lee Feldman; Bruce G. Roberts; [email protected] ; Bobby B. DuBose; Romney Rogers
Sent: Tue Sep 06 19:54:09 2011
Subject: Sea Turtles

As a longtime resident of South Florida, I am absolutely disgusted to learn that the city of Ft. Lauderdale is not enforcing its own regulations to protect baby sea turtles and that many were crushed on A1A this morning. Mayor Seiler is not working with STOP (the local turtle rescue group who saved 12,000 from the street this year), has refused a public invitation from them to come to the beach to see the problem firsthand, and has not sent a FREE letter to the beachfront properties asking them to comply with the ordinance. He refuses to make Code Enforcement enforce the lighting ordinance by simply asking the beachfront properties to comply with the ordinance or face fines. I strongly urge the mayor's office and the city to:

* Come to the table and communicate with residents and be open to a conversation to solve this multi-layered crisis

* Immediately hood or turn off City of Fort Lauderdale streetlights. They must enforce their own lighting ordinance.

* Send a letter to the beachfront properties advising them they are in violation of the lighting ordinance and have 60 days to correct the problem or be fined. The beachfront properties must immediately reduce/correct their lights.

I will not be returning to Ft. Lauderdale beach until I know the city is working to resolve this issue, and I will tell my family and friends to do the same.

Thank you,
Skye Cervone

Two minutes later, his response:

Thanks for your input. Your facts are wrong but I think you knew that when you sent the email.
John P. "Jack" Seiler Mayor City of Fort Lauderdale

Campos has collected a few of his other emails from earlier this summer, in response for requests for his presence at a meeting and increased attention to the group's demands:

July 25, 2011 3:40:20 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Ft Laud question

I have always supported efforts to protect the turtles.  My record in the legislature and here speaks for itself. 

Best wishes.
John P. "Jack" Seiler Mayor City of Fort Lauderdale

July 27, 2011 10:16 PM
Re: Mayor Seiler

We are on a family vacation in South Carolina so I am not available this weekend.

By the way, we spent last weekend in Stuart and saw dozens of turtles laying and burying their eggs each night -- awesome family experience!

John P. "Jack" Seiler Mayor City of Fort Lauderdale

July 28, 2011 9:56:38 AM EDT
Subject: Re: Turtles

I have visited them.

Thanks John P. "Jack" Seiler Mayor City of Fort Lauderdale
We'll "visit them" as well in the coming days. After holding up signs at the windows of City Hall and sending mass texts to Seiler during yesterday's commission meeting, the activists are prepared to continue fighting -- whether or not Seiler thinks they have any credibility.

Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB. Follow Stefan Kamph on Twitter: @stefankamph, and Facebook.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph