Wilton Manors is the epicenter of South Florida’s LGBT centric community. It has been for nearly 20 years.

Not surprisingly, South Florida Gay News has flourished for over a decade with its offices at Five Points, in the heart of the Manors.  

During this time, SFGN has grown, thanks to your support. We have even established a twice-monthly news insert focused just on our city, the Wilton Manors Gazette, or WMG, as you see it in on our masthead.  

We send reporters and photographers out weekly to cover city commission meetings, breaking news and community events. They illuminate our lives in this affluent island city of many waterways. 

SFGN has interviewed the candidates, published their positions, and presented to you, their ideas. Online and in print, in the Mirror Magazine and our paper, we have laid out their vision for your future. Each are advocates for a better city. Now it is up to you to decide the ones that best advocate your concerns. 

Julie Carson for Mayor 

Earlier this year, our city sustained an incalculable loss. A vigorous young mayor, Justin Flippen, lost his life, felled by a fatal and totally unanticipated stroke. Life is ever so precious, and the tragedy so sudden, it was not just frightfully stunning, but enormously painful. 

Adversity is a challenge that gives people an opportunity to rise to the occasion. City Commissioner Julie Carson did. She became the spiritual center for a hurting community. Carson galvanized our souls with strength and courage.  

Julie Carson empowered us to carry on — to maintain faith and fortitude in the face of the loss we sustained. Julie Carson has convincingly demonstrated she can lead this community in the toughest of times.  

Then came COVID, and our world itself has been tested even more so. With patience and calm, Carson has also helped this city negotiate a second, continuing crisis.  

Carson’s experience, temperament and work ethic have judiciously integrated our community’s social responsibilities with its entrepreneurial and economic needs. 

Now gender or orientation are not grounds alone for supporting a candidate. But opening the doors to diversity most surely is. Passing the torch to a new generation of leaders is what our country should be all about. 

In a community that has been forever white and male, Julie Carson demonstrates to Wilton Manors that it’s time for a female.  

Carson’s most credible opponent is a worthy candidate himself. Scott Newton is a former mayor running again, who helped lay the foundations a developing community is building upon. We respect that work, acknowledge his tenure, and applaud his integrity. 

Still, time marches on.  

Today, I believe that Carson is the person most capable of representing our city’s diverging interests while promoting public safety and economic growth. 

The candidacy of Josie Smith-Malave demonstrates that eventually any one of us can find a place at the table, either as a chef or a commissioner. 

At this time, however, Smith-Malave simply does not have the track record or experience her opponents have garnered.  

We always knew that Julie Carson could ride a horse. This year, on both a personal and professional level, she has shown us she can buck a bronco. She has earned your support. She has led us already. Give her a full term to do more. 

City Commissioners 

Like every other city in this country, the Manors is facing the challenge of negotiating its way through a pandemic.  

The virus has delivered a right cross to our small businesses and hospitality industry establishments.  

The wealth of exceptionally qualified candidates for city commission is proof that Wilton Manors has a rainbow of future community leaders ready to undertake tomorrow’s challenges. Thank goodness. 

We should be proud of the voices seeking election to city hall this year. We do not have barefoot stalkers or charlatans trying to steal your vote or enhance their stature while fighting restraining orders or DUI’s in the courts. It’s a pleasant sea change from elections past.  

In fact, mark this year, 2020, as one where Wilton Manors voters have more eminently qualified candidates than open seats to fill them. Make your decisions thoughtfully. 

Amongst the voices seeking to represent you are Doug Blevins, who has been a respected and honorable civic activist for years, and then the younger Chris Caputo, who has distinguished himself in the nonprofit sector.   

Newcomer Mike Bracchi has orchestrated a professional campaign that brings to the table his reputation as a distinguished attorney.  

Jason Basilico integrates the experience of a Navy veteran with running a popular local bar. Two other candidates bring unique experiences to the table. One might want to move here before running for office, though. Nevertheless, most are more qualified than unqualified. 

We have learned this year that even the decisions of city commissioners can impact your lives immensely.  

If you want to drink clean water, have safe local roads, and ensure that a global health pandemic is addressed with wisdom and caution, then vote for the person you think best able to address those needs.  

The life you save may be your own. 

Good Luck.