By now, even your grandmother’s pet frog in Pennsylvania knows that Dean Trantalis had a monstrous meltdown during the tragedy at the Stonewall Festival last week.
With no information at his disposal to lend credence to his words, he improvidently declared a tragic accident to be a terrorist attack.
At a time when a community leader needed to exercise measured calm and restraint, he jumped to an irresponsible conclusion, in the face of facts and advisors who pleaded with him to do otherwise.
As football announcers would say, at this point, more censure for those mistaken words would be “piling on.” The mayor already has enough critics on point.
Unfortunately, since then, the mayor has had a continued run-in with his own words and himself. He could be his own worst enemy.
More consequential than his impetuous remarks on that sad day has been the mayor’s response to those criticizing him, upon learning he erred. He keeps shifting the blame from himself to others. Not only the Sun-Sentinel has said that. Many people in our community agree.
The mayor’s regrettable intransigence reflects stubborn hubris, the arrogance of power, and an unwillingness to face up to an otherwise understandable mistake.
The mayor first walked back his inaccurate assessment of events with a “statement of regret” at the vigil, blaming it instead on “being too close to reporters.” Yes, like they really twisted his arm to go on camera.
The very next day, Channel 10 asked Mayor Trantalis if he wanted to apologize for the error of his words. He did not, he said. Instead, the mayor attacked the interviewer.
Mayor Trantalis condescendingly replied to her that “this was not about him; that the only one who has to apologize is the driver.” Well, Dean, he did — and that’s more than we can say about you.
The recurring truth is we have a gay mayor who does not withstand criticism well. He has proved it to SFGN before, and he is showing it to the city this week.
For your information, our gay mayor has refused to talk to your gay newspaper or its staff of reporters and editors for years now. The mayor has been terribly irresponsible.
We have called him multiple times on a host of issues inviting him to comment on a variety of topics, but he refuses to reply to us. It is time he was called out for it.
Today, I will give you two instances. Sadly, there are many more, involving at least four different reporters he has repeatedly ignored.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation Controversy
In February of 2020, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation called Dean Trantalis out for turning his back on their low-cost affordable housing project in Fort Lauderdale, which he had previously supported.
In response to an opinion piece endorsing AHF’s position and criticizing him, the mayor texted one of our reporters he would never talk to us again because it hurt him “politically.”
The mayor was invited to write a column, speak to our reporters, or give an interview countering our editorial position. He refused. Still does.
The mayor said he would not “dignify the paper with a response from me.”
He also added that SFGN is not “a legitimate newspaper.”
The last time I looked, our paper was not created to coronate a straight king or gay queen.
We are entitled to express our opinions, and they do not have to agree with the mayor on every issue. They don’t.
The Coral Ridge Church Controversy
This year, another controversial issue emerged in the Fort Lauderdale city commission. The mayor chose to endorse a resolution celebrating the Coral Ridge Church on its 50th anniversary. We were outraged and said so.
This church is represented by people who call us Sodomites and has sought to deny our community equality at every turn. Still do.
By the way, how is that partnership going? On another page of this paper, you will find a list of those who were going to participate in the parade last week. Don’t think I saw the float of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church or the Westminster Academy there. Did you?
We did see the church’s names amongst those congratulating our neanderthal governor for signing legislation that denies the rights of transgender girls from participating in state sporting events at their high schools.
Instead of talking to our credentialed reporters, the mayor granted embarrassing interviews to gay bar guides, which ever so conveniently sucked up to him. We don’t. That is not our job.
SFGN was not created to throw rose petals on His Honor’s feet. Mr. Mayor, it’s time for you to man up.
SFGN’s Duty to You
SFGN is a credible institution with 10 years of award-winning journalism under our belt.
We are not only part of the Florida Press Association and the National LGBT Media Association, but have been news partners with CNN, the Sun Sentinel and have collaborated with the Associated Press.
SFGN’s duty is to report the news and provide editorial commentary upon it. We are not supposed to agree with city officials on every issue, but instead hold them accountable for their decisions.
SFGN comes together weekly with a plethora of journalistic talent, supported by a blend of distinguished contributors, columnists, and critics covering issues from finance to fishing — online daily and in print weekly.
We are the local gay paper that will write about the life and loss of Jim Fahy, who generously delivered SFGN to his Galt Ocean condo weekly.
We are the paper that will tell the trauma of Fred Johnson and his partners at the Gay Men’s Chorus.
We are the paper that celebrates our community’s Pride, but also shares its pain.
We are the paper that will write about our community’s wins, as well as our warts.
SFGN’s mission is to report news of importance to the LGBT community with straight facts. That’s our mission. That’s what we have done.
SFGN will shield our community from harm. It will not shield those who use you for their own gain. Ask George Castrataro how that worked out.
Imperfect though we are, improving every day as we must, that’s what we will continue to do, no matter who the mayor is.