Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ft.Lauderdale Mayor Off Tourism Board

Jim Naugle, the embattled mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, FL who has not only suggested installing "robo-toilets" throughout the city, but has also made several public statements which are incredibly discriminatory toward the LGBT community, has lost his seat on the tourism board. According to the local Sun-Sentinal, Broward County commissioners were concerned that Naugle's actions would harm the tourism industry...a multibillion-dollar asset to the county...and that he'd ignored warnings from commissioners about his actions. The Sentinal reported...

"Since Naugle made his initial allegations about rampant gay sex in public
restrooms nearly two months ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention &
Visitors Bureau has been deluged with hundreds of angry e-mails from tourists.
Some said they had canceled vacations, while others threatened to go

A gay-oriented convention that was to draw 200 attendees this fall is on
hold. A group that plans black family reunions has voiced concern about whether
the mayor was sending a message of intolerance. Bookings of college and
high-school sporting events is also down compared to last year."

And how did Naugle respond to the fact that groups other than LGBT affiliated organizations were voicing their displeasure over his comments and actions? Take a look...

"Naugle was unbowed by the county's rebuke and said commissioners removed
him because they "feared a very vocal minority." He questioned why no
commissioner had talked to him beforehand to hear why he has done what he's

Sometimes the easiest thing to do when you don't want to hear something is
to shoot the messenger, but that doesn't mean that there is not a problem out
there that needs to be addressed," Naugle said.

So now he's a victim? Give me a break. This guy is so obsessed with his homophobic ideals that he refuses to see how his actions have affected the economy of the community he is supposed to serve. County Commissioner Stacey Ritter put it best...

"I had hoped that this would die on its own, but Mayor Naugle continues to
push his own agenda and that is having an increasing impact on our community,"
said County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, who proposed removing him. "He has
continued to escalate his rhetoric, and we cannot be silent."

I half expect Naugle to shoot back by reiterating that homosexuals are the only ones with an "agenda," but he's put the nails in his own coffin with this little crusade of his. I sincerely hope the Ft. Lauderdale voters will take steps to either censure or remove Naugle entirely and replace him with someone who truly reflects the gay-friendly atmosphere that the community has worked so hard to establish. I think the closing comment another Commissioner says it all...

"Hate is something that is simply unacceptable and now has become costly to
the county as well," Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin said.

I doubt Naugle will ever agree, but this is one step in a positive direction for both the Ft. Lauderdale community and the LGBT community as a whole.

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