Update: Homophobia Again Stains Ft Lauderdale Campaign






Desperate candidates reach for life preservers, even if the life preservers are dripping with misleading tripe and thinly veiled bigotry.

In an email sent to supporters this week, Fort Lauderdale candidate for mayor Bruce Roberts took this pathetic tactic.  Roberts is widely assumed to be running far behind his opponent for mayor, Dean Trantalis.

Roberts said this:

“I am not accepting Washington DC dollars from national organizations because my loyalty will be exclusive to you. The former Mayor of Houston is hosting a fundraiser for my opponent on Miami’s South Beach this week. This is the first time in a Fort Lauderdale municipal race that a fundraiser is being held outside Broward County and it doesn’t sit well with me.”

First of all, the opening sentence is misleading. Only individuals and not organizations or corporation are permitted to give money to candidates in a Fort Lauderdale City Election. Roberts took plenty of money from out-of-town individuals — developers, real estate investors, lobbyists and other business folks.

Most of all, this paragraph reads like a dog whistle to those who opposed openly-gay Trantalis because of his sexual orientation.

What national organizations?  Wink. Wink.

The fundraiser was thrown by the Victory Fund on February 23 on Lincoln Road. The Victory Fund works to election LGBTQ candidates.

Here is the invitation:




This is worth mentioning in a campaign email?  Really.

The only possible reason for the mention is to start a whispering campaign about Trantalis’ sexual orientation.

After this was posted, campaign consultant Judy Stern emailed that she wasn’t responsible for the letter, which included several other paragraphs of balderdash.

“…All communications for the campaign have been turned over to Chuck Malkus who has refused to let me see or review any communications,” Stern wrote to a Fort Lauderdale gadfly who styles himself Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz, along with Browardbeat.com and Brittany Wallman of the Sun-Sentinel.

Whoever wrote it, Roberts is responsible for anything in that email.

I may not have interpreted the email the same way if Roberts hadn’t already been criticized for using this caricature of Trantalis in the primary:



Browardbeat.com received several emails — some printed and some not printed — about the ad:

“Let me see…a gay man, on a theater stage with a red velvet curtain, with one of the images having red lipstick and red makeup on cheeks… and a slogan “Dean Trantalis, Not Right for Fort Lauderdale” with “Not Right” underlined.
This certainly is homophobic….” said just one.


The South Florida Gay News interviewed some LGBTQ activists and Fort Lauderdale residents. Reporters found mixed opinions on whether or not the caricature ad was homophobic.

Activist Michael Rajner told the SFGN that he didn’t view the mailers as homophobic. Ed Leuchs, a Fort Lauderdale resident and director with the Dolphin Democrats, said it’s hard to believe anyone who puts out these mailers professionally would not know how depicting a gay man in makeup would be perceived.

At the very least, the caricature is insensitive towards some LGBTQ residents.

I’m reminded of the campaign between Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Cary Keno and openly gay Ken Wolf in 1994. Wolf was repeatedly criticized for accepting “out of town” money from “national organizations.”

Just like today, the media 24 years ago knew what lay behind that veiled language: Homophobia.

Sadly, the bigotry worked. Keno won.

Keno’s victory means nothing today. I covered politics in Fort Lauderdale back then and it was very, very different.

City Hall was led by an outspoken anti-gay mayor. There was a significant voting bloc of grey-haired Old School conservatives deeply frightened by the changing world. (They were not big fans of Jews, African Americans or Hispanics, either.) The Keno/Wolf campaign was hopefully their last gasp.

That was 1994.

Today is 2018.

Most of those bigots have passed on. Many of their homes are now occupied by LGBTQ singles and couples. LGBTQ folks have revitalized neighborhoods and built businesses. They have poured money into other businesses and local non-profits.

Even the Broward government is on board. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau spends beaucoup bucks promoting Fort Lauderdale as a gay vacation site.

Fort Lauderdale didn’t come to an end when the LGBTQ community started to move into Fort Lauderdale as those 1994 voters feared.  Fort Lauderdale improved.

It’s a different world, Mr. Roberts.

So Fort Lauderdale voters need to ask these questions of Robert:

Why? Why did you do it?

Are you so desperate, Mr. Roberts, that you will do anything to win?


12 Responses to “Update: Homophobia Again Stains Ft Lauderdale Campaign”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #1 Bruce Roberts while he was police chief hired more LBGT etc than any other police chief in history.(yes).He even had and appointed (wait) a gay liaison(bruce Brice was it).He even promoted the officer(look it up).I thought the puppet was dumb.Was it homophobic.Well if you took the caricature as gay than its homophobic.I personally did not think so.They all have PACs working on their behalf so to have an outside Broward ghar fundraiser in Deans defense now( i sand bag no one) is not a big deal.More appropriately the blog could have stated Roberts gasping for straws here.More fitting.To call or insinuate that Bruce Roberts is homophobic is a strategy the Trantalis camp is using to basically state that Roberts is a bigot.To close to both Roberts and Trantalis- with less than three weeks to go maybe its time to draw a line in the sand and roll the dice on March 13 etc.Boy this mayoral campaign has been nasty on both these two.Be careful both if them because if it gets to negative alot of Charlotte Rodstrom supporters will stay home on election day.If that happens and Rodstrom supporters stay home- guess what Roberts prevails.Be careful guys.Notice Charlotte hasn.t endorsed either of them.Keep it cute guys..

  2. Their silence is deafening says:

    Typical Judy Stern mud slinging…

    I heard Judy was whispering in the ears of Ftl Republicans this week how a PAC tied to Dean accepted 20k from someone who (GASP) gave 20 million to Hillary Clinton. Remember this was the same woman who was one of biggest Hillary supporters in Broward for years.

    Wonder what Stern stooges and prominent gay democrats, Michael Rajener and Ken Evans have to say about this?

  3. Roberts Views says:

    Roberts is part of the old days you wrote about, when cops thought gays were only good to pound on the head with nightsticks.

  4. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #2 Please.Mike Rayner.”prominent democrat.Sure.Is that before or after he cashes his disability check..As far as Mrs.Stern be careful with her.Thats all im saying( u have been warned).She is going nowhere.If Roberts wins,loses etc.She is basically a lobbyist.And could care less who likes her, who doesn.t etc.On to March 13…

  5. Judy the Snitch says:

    Stern has burned many bridges in Broward but always maintained 3 core groups to keep her afloat. They are gone now.

    1) Gays – This article explains why they are gone.
    2) Money from the DDA /FTL Chamber crowd – They got hoodwinked into looking anti gay by financing the above ECO piece. Also, they plowed over $120k into the Roberts campaign to see him eek out of the primary with only $10k in the bank.
    3) Blacks in NW FTL – Gone. Snitches get stitches. Stern was the one who said she “heard around Sistrunk” Elijah Manley was tampering with Roberts campaign sings and then he got arrested by FLPD. No one was named as an eyewitness to Manley’s crimes. Not mentioned is the fact that Manley is running for School Board against Donna Korn whose campaigns Stern has worked on in the past. Manley may be written off by Thurston and McKenzie as a mouthy punk, but people in the black communities all over Broward are now will continue to be made aware of Judy the Snitch.

  6. Joel says:

    Plain and simple, Bruce is UNFIT to lead Broward. He is an elitist who is all about special interest. He seemed to change some of his tune (Against The Wave) because he came in over 15% of the vote less than Dean’s 46%. I honestly believe if Charlotte was not in the race, Dean would be our mayor now.

    With that said, Bruce, I stated you at a meeting of the penny tax last year that not wanting an average citizen on the oversight board shows there is no good faith basis for people like me and something to hide to the community. I promised you I would do everything in my power to make sure that tax never happened, and it failed at the polls. I give you my word I will do the same thing to make sure you are not the next Mayor.

    You play dirty. Your childish campaign fliers that littered many a mailbox showed how scared you are to lose. You will do anything to get elected. You even go to the extent to delete opposition on your Facebook page. Guess truth hurts, doesn’t it, Bruce

    As I said, you will do anything to win.

    l and others do anything to make sure you don’t, and do it honestly.

  7. Charles King says:

    Why are people still writing about the mayor’s race. “Gun Show” Jack Seiler’s 70 year old toady “Bought & Paid For” Bruce Roberts has all but put his house on the market. If you want to do a story about homophobia in a Fort Lauderdale city election still worth writing about how about “Towering” Timmy Smiths words and actions in the District 2 race. First, he refers to gay people as “the gays” in candidate forums. Second, He seems to equate gay rights with the legalization of prostitution in Fort Lauderdale which he favors. Smith says he’s a supporter of gay rights: “I’ve always championed my gay neighbors.” For that matter, he’s fine with hookers too: “Personally, I think prostitution should be legalized,” he says. “Amsterdam has the right idea. It belongs in the right geography, though, not in that little part of Searstown.” Third, Timmy went to Fort Lauderdale Pride in “Gay Drag,” specifically as a long in tooth party boy for hire. I’ve attached below the entire New Times article from 6 and half years ago where “Towering” Timmy advocated for legalized prostitution in the city Fort Lauderdale.

  8. Clinton Tyree says:

    Chuckie has outdone Judy in ineptitude. The mentioned piece is only one example. I’d note it’s OK to let the statewide FOP influence the race, but not for a group dedicated to helping LGBT candidates. I guess if Charlotte had made the runoff, Bruce would be attacking Emily’s List.

    There was one Facebook ad where Bruce was petting a dog and it said he would be “trusted and reliable.” There was one where he said he had been police chief for 30 years (wrong) and used a photo shaking hands with someone who is supporting Dean. That person made a big point online demanding the removal of his photo. But that’s never happened.

    There was one where Bruce took credit for tourism growth. Not quite sure how that is. Seems more like that’s Stacy Ritter. There was one where he talked of “strategically managing growth” and used a photo of him with old white guys. Was he saying these are the type of new residents we want?

    His recent infrastructure ad on Facebook failed to mention he once said the crisis was hyperbole. There was one ad in which he said Dean had “numerous … ethical violations.” Not true, not once. In the same ad, he tried to conflate the ancient “Waves” housing project with the Wave streetcar to imply Dean supported it.

    In another ad, he said Dean had no infrastructure plan although Dean has laid one out. Yet another, he said you could trust him to keep you safe because he’d put more eyes on your neighborhood. Yet, he made a point of holding up filling vacancies.

    Another — He said Dean was a full-time lobbyist when there is absolutely no factual information to support that. He also made the farcical statement: “Unlike my opponent, I will not adhere to the lobbyists… I will not cater to special interests.” I guess he already has forgotten Judy Stern has been his campaign manager and the Bahia Mar lobbyist

    Then, there was the great one where he linked himself to Rick Scott. He might as well chosen to tie himself to Trump, just about as popular in Broward. Finally, there was the coordinated PAC mailer whose title was, ” Bruce Roberts leads with actions.” You can’t make this stuff up!

    Bruce’s campaign is a literal train wreck. He’s washed up.

  9. Blame Game says:

    Interesting tweet from Brittany Wallman where she states that Malkus stated the email in this article came from an ECO. That Malkus is communications director for Roberts campaign he has (essentially the Roberts campaign) nothing to do with the ECO. Do we need to guess who is tied to the ECO? It is clear Stern knows the campaign is dead meat and is trying to set up Bruce and Malkus to take the blame for its demise.

  10. Zowie says:

    See this odd news about the sudden replacement of the editor at the SunSentinel. Any background on what’s really going on there Buddy?


    Off topic.

    Based on the Sun-Sentinel’s own statement and sources at the paper, the new editor has been told to push the paper aggressively into various online ways of telling stories using new technologies. What new technologies? I’m not sure anybody at the Sun-Sentinel really knows.

    The goal, of course, will be for the new management to increase revenue and earnings.

    I have no idea why tronc, the erratic owners of the paper, thought Howard Saltz wasn’t the person to move the paper further into the future. I also have no idea why Saltz had to be shoved out the door so abruptly that they had to change leadership in the middle of one of the biggest stories for the paper in years — the Parkland school shootings?

    It is strange that a media company is so lacking in transparency, both here and throughout the rest of its chain.

    Howard Saltz’s last day is Wednesday, February 28

  11. Voting Citizen says:

    The main issue is, people need to get their behinds to the polls. Yes, Bruce came in under Dean by double-digits. Yes, Broward had a 12% turn out. What the heck is wrong with people. Do you not care about your city?

    Would love to Charlotte announces support of Dean. If she wants to ever have a position on the dais again in Broward again, say commissioner, voting for Bruce would most like end that. WE don’t all have short memories……..

  12. Scott W Rothstein Esq. (disbarred) says:

    Corruption and cover-up commited Bruce Roberts as chief. Shooting of a police employee is covered up on Bruce Roberts watch…… So much for his leadership.