With Fort Lauderdale's mayoral election just days away on February 10, Jack Seiler is looking to likely retain his seat. But coming off a time when his popularity has taken a serious hit -- particularly with the city's handling of the homeless ordinance -- Seiler might be vulnerable to a takedown.
On Saturday, one of the groups that has clashed with Seiler over the homeless laws will be holding a Fort Lauderdale Rally for Change at Bubier Park.
The rally, which is also being billed as a "Vote Out Mayor Seiler" assemblage, is expected to have at least one of the mayor's challengers as a guest speaker.
Jillian Pim of Food Not Bombs tells New Times that all candidates have been invited to speak and offer up their campaign promises. Seiler was invited as well. "Seiler turned down the offer to appear through an assistant," Pim says. "But all have been invited."
For now, candidates who have agreed to appear at the rally to speak are mayoral candidate Chris Brennan and Green Party candidate Didier Ortiz, who is running for an open City Commission spot. Commissioner Dean Trantalis is also expected to make an appearance.
Brennan, 33, is a former Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi worker who was fired for posting a YouTube video defending the quest to save a 100-year-old rain tree that was going to be removed to make way for the construction of a Marina Lofts condominium development. He announced earlier this month that he would be challenging Seiler for mayor.
Seiler's other challenger, Earl Rynerson, has not responded to the rally's invitation.
The rally, which will feature music, is being used as a launching point for having people who are unhappy over the homeless ordinance come out and make real change.
Pim, who famously held a hunger strike over the homeless ordinance in November, started a Facebook page for the rally.
Now's the time for the people of Fort Lauderdale to tell the City how happy we are with our official's policies towards homeless people, gay marriage, trampling on people's freedom of speech, and everything else!
Election day for Mayor Jack Seiler and the open seat in district 3 is February 10th. Therefore an election rally is taking place on the 31st to introduce the public to the candidates and inform people about some of the issues that are shaping these races.
The newfound notoriety of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission has created an unusual opportunity this election cycle: Do we use this as an opportunity to return power to the people of Fort Lauderdale, or will this be another unparticipatory election that further cements political power in the hands of a few? Join us and find out!
The homeless ordinance passed by the city late last year put restrictions on groups like Food Not Bombs and others from serving the homeless food by requiring them to provide hand-washing stations and port-o-potties at public feedings. But the restrictions severely limited groups from feeding the homeless, and breaking the ordinance came with a citation and possible jail time.
In November, Seiler tried to explain that the real mistake was in getting the message out on what the city was actually trying to do with the ordinance. "We were wrong in not getting the word out sooner," he told WPLG at the time.
The Fort Lauderdale Rally for Change will be going down on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bubier Park. Visit here for more information.