In the past two weeks, we have witnessed dirty tricks and bad politics by the Log Cabin Republicans as well as a Democratic politico trying to tarnish the image of an LGBT friendly Republican sheriff, Al Lamberti.
Two weeks ago, the Log Cabin Republicans ran a despicable advertisement in the Florida Agenda that visually depicted our slain United States ambassador, being carried away from the explosion in Libya.
The convoluted ad seemed to imply that because President Obama does not support Israel, the ambassador was killed. The ad had no credibility, and quickly led to universal censure, even from the national director of the Log Cabin Republican club, a veteran himself.
The Florida Agenda contradicted itself when it suggested they ran it for ‘free speech’ purposes. SFGN uncovered that they did in fact censor the ad to some extent, asking the LCR to remove the word sodomy. The truth is they ran the ad to take in the cash when it should have been summarily rejected as offensive, unconscionable and fact-deprived. It’s not censorship when you are a private business using common sense.
Last week, it was the Democratic activists’ turn to embarrass themselves. Leading the charge was Ron Gunzburger, who sought to give Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti’s Democratic challenger Scott Israel’s campaign a shot in the arm. Instead, he shot himself in the foot.
Gunzburger’s transparently political motive was to use a 21-year-old gay bar raid to paint Lamberti as a homophobe. It’s nonsense — pure unadulterated nonsense. Gunzburger should be ashamed of himself.
Regardless of whether you support the challenger or the incumbent in this year’s election, Lamberti’s four-year term in office has been marked by stunning and supportive outreach to the LGBT community at every turn, including his tenacious support for prosecuting hate crimes.
First, Lamberti launched an anti-bullying campaign, even sponsoring a film that has won national acclaim, taking his message personally to elementary and high schools that all kids should be treated equally and with respect.
Second, Lamberti has held community service seminars at the Pride Center at Equality Park, actively holding his outreach programs for the LGBT community, including actively recruiting gay and lesbian officers.
Third, Lamberti has maintained uniformed officers to be liaisons with the LGBT community, and supported linkage programs in the jail for those living with HIV as well as transitional initiatives for homeless teenagers, many of whom are young and gay.
Fourth, the sheriff has even had his major crimes and homicide units keep the LGBT community aware of ongoing and unsolved investigations involving LGBT victims. Personally, he has come to rallies and spoken out against LGBT violence.
If you want to support a different candidate for sheriff, you have that right. But you don’t have the right to demean the sheriff’s exemplary conduct and outreach to the LGBT community in the past four years. We cannot let that stand.
More so, the truth about the two-decade old raid on the Copa Bar in Dania Beach is that it was orchestrated by Sheriff Nick Navarro, not Al Lamberti, who was then the BSO chief in Deerfield Beach.
Ironically, the person who spoke publicly in defense of the raid for the sheriff at the time was then head of the Organized Crime Division, Ron Cacciatore, now a political associate of — surprise! — Ron Gunzburger.
There are ways to win an election, and ways to lose it. It seems more responsible to advocate the truth about your candidate, rather than lies about your opponent. You can pepper and post all the spurious comments you want on our website to take issue with us, but this newspaper supports facts, not fiction; credibility, not crap.
You can’t undo the truth by making up a lie 21 days ago or 21 years later. Log Cabin Republicans or devoted Democrat, you ought to know that.
CORRECTION: After publishing this story, Ron Cacciatore contacted SFGN and said he was not with the Organized Crime Division of the Broward Sheriff's Office at the time of the raid on the Copa.
However, Ron Gunzburger, whose Facebook post referring to the event as "Lamberti's homophobic raid," was the basis of our editorial, stated to SFGN that Cacciatore was actually at a dinner with Sheriff Navarro moments before the raid.
Regardless of who did what or ate wherever, SFGN is obligated to point out that the former deputy Ron Cacciatore, is offended, and does not want to be affiliated with an event, or BSO operation, perceived as 'homophobic.'
As a matter of fact, he points out to us that after serving in the Research and Planning Division of BSO in 1989, he was moved to the Community Involvement Unit, eventually serving as the BSO liaison to the LGBT community, appointed, in fact, by Sheriff Navarro. "While I was in that position Navarro lost the election and I retired," Cacciatore writes us. "Why would the sheriff do that if I led the raid?"
In point of fact, nothing in this story was intended to demean either the Democratic challenger to the sheriff, Scott Israel, or former BSO deputy, Ron Cacciatore. The focus of the editorial, which SFGN stands by, is that regardless of who you vote for, Sheriff Lamberti has served a four year term in office making positive outreaches and overtures to the LGBT community, and comments to the contrary are baseless.