At the Feb. 21 meeting of the Dolphin Democrats, “the fix was in.”
That’s according to Tim Smith, the former city commissioner who is running to be Fort Lauderdale’s next Dist. 2 commissioner. In an email to SFGN, Smith said it was unfair that his opponent, Steve Glassman, a gay man, was the only person on the Dist. 2 endorsement voting ballot the Dolphin Democrats gave to its members.
The Dolphin Democrats is the LGBT democratic club of Broward County.
“They assured me that my questionnaire had been logged in and if I made it to the general election, I could compete for their endorsement then. Imagine my surprise when the ballot came out last night with only Steve Glassman's name on it. The fix was in, process completely rigged, and I am truly disappointed that an organization with a mission to stop discrimination, would so blatantly discriminate,” Smith wrote. “They said it was just a technical ‘by-laws issue,’ but everyone saw through it, even Commissioner [Dean] Trantalis said out loud – ‘that's not right.’ I have been a strong LGBT activist for decades, well known in my public positions for the LGBT community, and don't know quite how to feel.”
Asked by SFGN about his alleged statement, Trantalis declined to confirm or deny that he made it and said that he wasn’t qualified to speak about the inner workings of the Dolphin Democrats and didn’t want to get involved in the matter.
In an email to Smith from Dolphin Democrats President Scott Herman, provided by Smith, Herman wrote that “. . . I’m consulting with others to make sure the process is followed in order to be fair.”
Asked about the endorsement process by SFGN, Herman said Smith’s name was not on the ballot because of his organization’s bylaws. “He missed the deadline,” Herman said.
According to the bylaws, “All requests for endorsements must be submitted to a member of the current Executive Board at least thirty (30) days prior to the next General Membership Meeting.”
The Primary election was held on Jan. 16 and the Dolphin Dems membership meeting was held on Feb. 21, which means the candidates had about 5 days to submit their request for endorsement.
On its Facebook page on Feb. 22, the Dolphin Democrats stated, “Candidate Tim Smith made a point of order regarding him being left off the ballot considering he submitted a questionnaire in December or January of 2017/18, but The Parliamentarian and other Directors ruled that Smith submitted an endorsement request/questionnaire for the primary election and that endorsement requests must be made for each election separately, and thus Candidate Tim Smith was not eligible.”
Mark Hartman, a gay man who is a part of Smith’s campaign, wrote in an email to SFGN that he was at the meeting and is critical of what happened. He said a request by Democratic U.S. Congressman Alcee L. Hastings for the Dolphin Democrats to support human rights, not just gay rights, was ignored.
“His message was entirely lost on the Dolphin Democrats. They immediately proceeded to shut out Tim Smith as a candidate for their endorsement leaving a single gay man as the ONLY option for endorsement by the organization’s voters. The Smith supporters, a mostly gay turnout, were incredulous,” Hartman wrote.
Barry Curtis, a gay man who has criticized Glassman, but whose voting intentions SFGN was unable to ascertain before press time, wrote on Facebook that the Dolphin Democrats treated Smith very unfairly.
“The Dolphin Democrats should be ashamed of themselves. We as gay people have been screaming for the world to judge me for who I am not what I am. This group proved tonight what hypocrites they are when it comes the race for commissioner for district 2. There are 2 people running for commissioner of this district not just 1.”
The General election will take place March 13.