In the past two issues of the Gazette, the local hometown supplement of SFGN, we have listed and covered the candidates running for the Wilton Manors City Commission.

Admittedly, our coverage has not been comprehensive or complete. We have, however, shared with you some basic facts about all the candidates, permitting you to make educated choices.

We will tell you that some candidates are eminently qualified to serve on the commission, like Gary Resnick or Doug Blevins, both seeking to be mayor.

If you want continuity and the status quo, re-elect Gary Resnick, the one time president of the Florida League of Cities, a gay leader, and a candidate who has proven himself as an able, trusted and honorable man.

If you believe in turnover and not vesting a part time commission seat into a full time career position, choose Blevins over Resnick, as a new voice in an old town seeking a change in leadership. It’s your call.

There is more than the Dixie Highway makeover at stake here. This city has spent too many years stalling instead of starting. For five years now, activists have fought to make ‘the Drive’ pedestrian friendly, a community center, and a safe home for an entertainment and nightlife district.

There has been talk and no action, apathy and no passion. For one, everyone knows the city needs parking, but so little has been done for so long, one truth emerges undeniably: incumbency is no virtue.

The only thing this city gives new nightclubs in the Arts and Entertainment district is noise ordinance violations. In the last five years, instead of working with local businesses trying to promote nightlife in this town, the city has cited the Manor, New Moon, Sidelines, Hunters, the Drive, Dream Lounge, and just about every entrepreneur who has tried to make a difference.

The Stonewall Festival, which could be a national focus for gay tourism, loses money every year, because the city takes more from it than it gives back. It’s a joke. We should and could have done better. You must decide whom to hold accountable for these transparent failings.

If you want to make a real difference in the life of a large part of this city, you can also ask that whoever is elected support district wide voting, so that sometime in our lifetime an African American gets elected to the city commission.

Right now, two African-Americans, Naomi Parker and Lillie Harris are running against the establishment. Both eminently qualified, with real life experiences, their chances of prevailing are equally small, given the present at-large voting mechanisms.

One thing the city does not need is a commissioner who made national headlines only last June by ending a confrontation at a Publix with a group of black women by calling them ‘niggers.’ That is what candidate Ted Galatis did.

Now that it is re-election time, our job is to remind you of what he did last summer. Yes, he did apologize, and it is a minor blemish on a distinguished career. Still, that does not mean we ought to re-elect him when other willing and untainted candidates are qualified to serve.

Sometimes, when you screw up royally, you can make up for it by stepping down gracefully. Galatis has not, but you can do it for him by voting no to his re-election bid.

Interestingly, the Wilton Manors City Commission has two other candidates who embarrass the ballot even more. You have to wonder why they are running, how many croutons short of a salad they really are.

First, we have Boyd Corbin, who is only charged with battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, out on bond, and awaiting trial in Broward County Circuit Court. While dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member, he allegedly attacked a well-known drag performer at a Halloween party.

The Sun Sentinel called Corbin’s candidacy ‘colorful.’ No, it’s just stupid. It is fair to say that the citizens of Wilton Manors would be better served by not electing a commissioner who may start his term in office by serving a term in a state prison.

That brings us to 22-year-old Christopher Warnig, who has two arrests on his record for impersonating a police officer. He’s serving an 18-month felony state probation until August of 2015. He lists his job as a security guard at the Alibi? Well, better there than the city commission, though the bar’s new owners may have some serious questions for him.

It’s a shame we have to waste limited editorial space on some candidates who are jerks, but they put their names out there. You are entitled to know more about who they are and where they are going.

Thankfully, with candidates like the eminently qualified Justin Flippen, civic-minded Sal Torre, and the well-established Scott Newton, Wilton Manors still has multiple, conscientious and credible choices. All of these gentlemen have already enhanced our community in some way with their public service and charitable endeavors.

We encourage you to vote for individuals who see things not as they are, but as they can be. We encourage you to vote for candidates who look at local neighborhoods and emerging businesses as partners in tomorrow’s community. We encourage you to vote not just for candidates that are gay, but candidates that are good. Most of all, we encourage you to vote.


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