March 15, 2006 Regular News Seiler finds common ground Seiler finds common ground Gary Blankenship Senior Editor The letter denoting political affiliation that comes after Jack Seiler’s name is a “D.”But the state representative from Wilton Manors in Broward County said being a Democrat does not define his legislative outlook.“I actually love politics,” he said. “I love the people in the process. I love the debate. I love the discussion. It’s very rewarding.”However, he is quick to add, “I’m not real partisan. One of the reasons I have not been real active with party politics is I don’t particularly like the partisan part of politics. I like working together, finding common ground.”In addition, Seiler said he considers himself a father of four, a husband “to a great wife,” and a lawyer first when he reviews legislation before he considers himself a Democrat. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for a Republican legislator to say he or she had their legislation reviewed by Seiler before it was introduced or while it was being considered in committee. Seiler said he’s glad to do it.“I tend to try to be a little bit of a legislator’s lawyer, where I have some positive impact on the process,” he said. “My rule has always been if it’s a really bad bill try to kill it, if it’s a good bill, do something to make it better, and if it’s a great bill, just get out of the way.”That, again, comes from his views of the process and the people he deals with, and his love of politics.“There are some great people in this process. To get to the House of Representatives, to get to the Senate, to get to the upper tier of the executive and judicial branches, they are quality people,” he said. “It’s no different than taking a deposition in a really good lawsuit — you look around and see four or five really good lawyers in the room. Eighty percent of the people in this process are quality people, regardless of party.”But his willingness to work with others doesn’t mean Seiler is silent on issues. During a recent House Judicial Committee debate on a bill to repeal the last vestiges of joint and several liability, Seiler was an outspoken critic of the measure.Proponents of the bill argued it was unfair that tort defendants should be forced to pay any more than their percentage of fault, as determined by a judge or jury. (A 1999 bill had already eliminated joint and several for noneconomic damages and limited it for economic damages in many cases.)Seiler offered two amendments. The first would eliminate more than 70 non-tort uses of joint and several liability in Florida Statutes. The second would have ended all damage caps and immunities provided in state law, except for sovereign immunity. Seiler argued if joint and several liability was bad for tort cases, then it should be removed from all statutory provisions. Likewise, if bill proponents argued that defendants should be responsible only for the damage they cause, then there should be no caps or immunities in the statute that relieve them of that responsibility.He withdrew both amendments when it was apparent they had no chance to pass the committee, but they allowed Seiler to make his points.In this year’s session, Seiler predicts the issues of most interest to lawyers will include tort bills, including premises liability, and potential constitutional amendments. The latter includes an effort to streamline the constitution by removing outdated provisions and perhaps making some sections statutory instead of constitutional, and a possible amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Bush v. Holmes on vouchers.“I think joint and several is going to come up for a vote. I think you’re going to see an all out fight on the floor of the Senate,” Seiler said. “It will pass the House, despite my opposition.”The constitutional amendments cause Seiler much concern. While he supports an amendment that would require two-thirds of the voters to approve an amendment that has a significant financial impact on the state budget, he questions other efforts.“When we start saying, ‘Well, we’re going to require a super majority for something to be heard’ and saying, ‘Well, we’re going to move certain things to the statutes and we’ll decide what’s best for you,’ that’s not necessarily the best approach,” Seiler said. “The constitution doesn’t belong to the Republicans and it doesn’t belong to the Democrats. It doesn’t belong to the House and it doesn’t belong to the Senate. It belongs to all Floridians. And I think we ought to handle it with the utmost respect.”Politics has always been an interest of Seilers. “I think I was class president from the first grade through my sophomore year,” he said with a laugh. His nickname in the seventh grade was Senator Seiler, he was class treasurer for his junior year, and then class president as a senior.At Notre Dame, he was president of the largest dorm on campus.Seiler got his law degree from the University of Miami in 1988, and shortly thereafter was appointed to the Board of Adjustment in Wilton Manors. In 1993, he was elected to the Wilton Manors City Council, and he served as vice mayor from 1996-98 and as mayor from 1998-2000.That year he was elected to the legislature, and has been reelected since. He has filed for reelection this year, but is term-limited from running again in 2008. After that, “I will kind of wait and see,” he said. “I’ve taken the approach I’m not going to run statewide for office until my kids are a little older. I love that role as a father. I will definitely stay active in politics. But to tell you what that elected position is, I couldn’t.”The legislative respite will also allow Seiler, who maintains a full-time trial practice at Seiler, Sautter, Zaden & Rimes, more time for his professional work.
JEFF Dujon, the former West Indies wicketkeeper, has said it would be a “terrible embarrassment” if West Indies were unable to qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup.West Indies are currently jostling with Pakistan for the final automatic qualification spot in the one-day rankings ahead of the series in UAE, which starts tomorrow.If Pakistan can repeat their 3-0 scoreline from the T20 series in the ODIs, they will jump ahead of West Indies into eighth place.The cut-off for qualification is September 30, 2017, with the ODI nations who sit outside the top eight then joining the qualifying tournament which is currently scheduled to take place in Bangladesh.West Indies missed out on a place in next year’s Champions Trophy after being pipped for the final berth by Pakistan and Bangladesh.“It would be a terrible embarrassment for West Indies to not automatically qualify,” Dujon, who played in the 1983 and 1987 World Cups, told ESPNcricinfo. “It would be damaging for any team who have tasted what it’s like to be in the top echelon of world cricket.“As someone who played in a very successful era, it’s very embarrassing but it has to be an indication of exactly where we are at and something needs to be done. It hurts.“We can’t be fooled by the fact that we’ve just won two tournaments – the World T20 and the U-19 World Cup – the fact we are still struggling to qualify shows we shouldn’t get carried away with that.”On the eve of travelling to the UAE, Phil Simmons was sacked as coach – less than six months after West Indies won the World T20 – with the WICB citing “differences in culture and strategic approach.” Dujon does not believe a satisfactory explanation has been given for Simmons’ departure, despite the strained relationship he had with the board following comments about one-day selection last year.“The sacking of Phil Simmons was a surprise. I’m not sure we have the real reasons, reasons we were given were a bit sketchy,” he said during a visit to London for a Lord’s Taverners event honouring wicketkeepers.“It’s disappointing for me that we haven’t been able to find a settled situation in the coaching area which would give the team some direction. It’s a setback. Jason Holder as captain also still has a lot to prove so things are in a pretty unstable situation now.”Simmons’ last engagement was the Test series against India where, although West Indies lost 2-0, there were moments of encouragement, particularly with Roston Chase’s match-saving maiden Test century in Jamaica and the promising returns of young quicks Miguel Cummins and Alzarri Joseph.“The talent is still there, it’s a matter of who is going to work with them to help them develop,” Dujon said. “We are still in a situation where we are trying to solve the problem from the top down rather than the bottom.“A promising move recently is that it seems we are going to have more A-team tours which is vital for development. They are meaningful when you go and play in countries who are better than you, it gives you a better gauge of where you are at.That has to be the focus, as expensive as it may be, and hopefully we’ll have a better quality of player coming through to the top level in the next four or five years. Right now, some of the players who have come to the top level are not the complete article.”The Lord’s Taverners is the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity whose objective is to give disadvantaged and disabled young people a sporting chance.(ESPN Cricinfo)