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Ad: Rogers=Naugle

Is the endorsement of controversial Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle a pro or a con?

We'll find out in the Feb. 10 primary and the March 10 general election. Commission candidate Coleman Prewitt sent a campaign brochure that says "Same ol' Same ol''' with an unflattering mug shot of opponent Romney Rogers and a mug of Naugle.

Naugle has endorsed Rogers and given his support to mayoral candidate Jack Seiler. Rogers, a longtime Fort Lauderdale resident, has a much bigger warchest and likely broader name recognition than Prewitt. But the question is whether linking Rogers and Naugle will help or hurt Rogers. Naugle was popular among residents for constituent services despite his comments that infuriated the gay community such as suggesting the city buy a six-figure individual-sized robotic toilet for the beach to cut down on gay sex in park bathrooms.

And Prewitt's campaign brochure omits that he is openly gay and has been active in the community -- raising the question about whether he wants to appeal to conservative voters or if he merely wants to avoid being labeled as only having support in one community.

Rogers has defended Naugle but in a recent interview also vowed to get along with everybody.

"I think (Naugle's comment) was taken a little out of context at times. He was talking about an issue that does on occur on occasion in terms of our public parks, not just gay sex -- just inappropriate conduct in the bathrooms. ...  I would be the commissioner for everybody -- I wouldn't draw any lines or make any distinctions.''



Comments

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Resident of District IV

Prewitt has been active in the residential community for sometime, participating in his neighborhood association, the Council of Civic Associations, the Citizens Volunteer Corp and a variety of other boards and committees. He has run on a platform of change in government - one that ask for fiscal responsibility, civility, support of our first responders, directed growth and most importantly economic development. He was a member of the building code reform committee that submitted proposed changes to the ULDR that specfically protect neighborhoods from bad development and help retain the character.

Whether he is gay has not been a piece of his platform as it has been in other races and it is interesting that you would infer it is the case in this one.

Apparently the brochure intimates that Rogers is more of the same type of government as provided by Naugle - one that nearly bankrupted the city at one point, created a hostile environment on the dias between commissioners and alienated the employees of the city from its management. More importantly, placed our city in a very bad light throughout the nation by providing a personal opinion that conflicted with the one of the commission - one that he was called on the carpet for by his fellow commissioners.

For me - I will take change and fresh ideas. "Mr. Rogers from your neighborhood" as he defines himself isn't known for service in his own neighborhood or any others in town. He has participated at the business level on most committees or boards and very little to none when it comes to the residents of the city.

Perhaps Prewitt can be the change we need.

George Q. Public

Amy,

I came across your article and felt compelled to respond to one particular aspect of it that appears to come directly from you:

re: "And Prewitt's campaign brochure omits that he is openly gay and has been active in the community -- raising the question about whether he wants to appeal to conservative voters or if he merely wants to avoid being labeled as only having support in one community."

Since when does a candidate for office in any election, specifically including Fort Lauderdale's non-partisan election, have to declare openly whether they are gay, straight, black, white, red, blue or whatever??

Inserting such comments into your article is clearly inappropriate bias for a professional news reporter, especially when it appears that Mr. Prewitt's campaign brochure clearly and unequivocably did not raise the issue of sexual preferences. If he had, then it would be open season and you'd clearly be entitled to pursue reporting along those lines. But it didn't and simply associated Mr. Rogers with the endorsement of an outgoing politician who many residents disliked for many, many more reasons than just those particular anti-gay comments he made a while back.

The thing I do agree with you about as valid is the question of whether Mr. Naugle's endorsement is a boon or a drawback to the candidate.

And just to be perfectly clear to the lowest common denominator of readers here who might want to think otherwise to justify their own prejudices, I am a 57-year old, white male, married, heterosexual, small business owner who has lived and worked in Fort Lauderdale and South Florida since the mid-80s.

As such, the distinction among candidates to me and most of the people I know and associate with is purely a question of which candidate's ideas for Fort Lauderdale's future direction, in every aspect of city government, is most appealing...rather than the narrow distinction you've chosen to bring forth in your article of which candidate is gay, straight, religious, black, white, etc.

What I'd hoped to read from you and other reporters covering our elections is how well almost every candidate in this campaign has conducted themselves and how they've concentrated on the issues they care about and the direction they want to take this city. THAT would be an article that might well serve a purpose to our community by bringing to light how qualified, responsible and civic-minded candidates for office actually CAN be...and that maybe we HAVE actually evolved a bit as a society and actually CAN have politicians we can trust.

The lesson of the recent national elections would seem to be that voters today are more intelligent, informed and open-minded than ever before in our nation's history...surely we should be able to expect a higher level of discourse from our news reporters to reflect that new reality.

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