Jim Naugle's final term as Fort Lauderdale mayor feels like it's never going to end. Yesterday, on a radio show with Russ Morley and Michael Woulffe, Naugle talked about his legacy and how he's proud of having stood up to "the radical gay lobby." You can hear the whole thing here, but I transcribed a section near the end that I feel gives you a sense of how the conversation went. I cleaned it up in the sense that I removed the errs and umms and such, and any errors are mine.
Morley: Mike and I and you are all old enough to remember that gay used to mean happy at one point in time and how the male homosexuals got gay and the women got lesbian, I'll never know. I guess they got first pick.Okay, I admit it. I included the first part of the quote because I wanted to poke fun at the collective stupid in it.
Naugle: The poor people on that island in Greece that have to put up with that.
Morley: And Gay Paree, I mean, is the whole city homosexual? I don't think so....
Naugle: Back to the two gentlemen who are running for mayor. I think that a homosexual does have a chance to be elected mayor in Fort Lauderdale if they reject that notion that it's okay to take over our parks and public places with that kind of activity. If a responsible homosexual were to run for office and reject that sort of activity, if a responsible homosexual were to run for office and do something about the AIDS crisis here, recognizing that promiscuous activity has a heavy cost on human life and dollars, I think they would have a chance to be elected.
But Naugle's stupid in the longer quote is of a whole different caliber. The insults come fast and furious--this controversy began (and we started writing about it) because Naugle made the outrageous claim that spending money on a self-cleaning toilet on Fort Lauderdale Beach was a bad idea because it would give gay men a place to have sex in public. When the gay community erupted in outrage, it wasn't because gay men were mad about one of their options for sexual exploration was being taken away--it was because what Naugle described simply wasn't happening, and he was scapegoating an important part of the community for his own bigoted reasons. So the idea that "a responsible homosexual" would need to "reject the notion that it's okay to take over our parks and public places with that kind of activity" is insane. No one is running on a platform of "free lube in the men's room," Jimbo.
And as for the AIDS crisis remark, well, just go to hell and stay there. No one has felt the AIDS crisis more dearly or done more to combat it than the gay community. Part of the problem is that sex-ed and AIDS prevention funding has been slashed by the state legislature, which also favors abstinence-only sex education.
I think the chances Fort Lauderdale will have a gay mayor are pretty good, and it will have nothing to do with Naugle's concerns about gay activity. Local economy and real estate development will probably be the main concerns, and because the election is held at an odd time, there will probably be crap for turnout, except among the highly motivated. For that, Naugle should be thankful that he's term-limited out, because he would undoubtedly go down in flames if he were running for another term.
Edit: Amy reminds me that Mayor Naugle was actually advocating for the robo-toilet because, he claimed, it would cut down on gay sex in the public toilets. Knew I should have refreshed my memory. And welcome Blue in Redsville to the blogroll.