ISSUE: Is talk radio in mayor's future?
Fort Lauderdale mayor Jim Naugle has sunk to the depths of a cartoon character in recent months, but his bizarre tirade against a group of people who has contributed much to Fort Lauderdale and South Florida brings a serious question to mind.
Namely, is this the type of person who should be the official face of a city the size of Fort Lauderdale?
Who knows what drives Naugle's inexplicable, shallow characterization of gay and lesbian people. If nothing else, you'd think the leader of a city with a vibrant gay community would at least have a better understanding of his citizenry.
Clearly, he doesn't. And when Naugle, mayor of Broward's largest city, goes on his diatribes, he does a humiliating disservice to the city he claims he loves.
The man loves publicity. He loves feeding his ego. If that was ever in doubt, just note that he co-hosted a South Florida radio talk show Friday morning.
Fine, if Naugle wants to host a radio show, that's his right. He'll have his partisan listeners, much like ideologically pure Stacy Ritter will have her following. Ritter is the Broward County commissioner who touted the silly idea of dropping a local radio station from weather emergency broadcasts because she felt its programming is too conservative, and she's being rewarded with a radio show of her own.
Is this a great county or what?
Here's the deal, though. As mayor, Naugle ought to be a statesman. Instead, he's been acting like, well, a radio talk show hack.
Naugle was elected to be mayor of the entire city and all its people, but obviously he feels he can use his bully pulpit to continue spewing his bile against one group he obviously detests. He feels he has the title of mayor of Fort Lauderdale, and he can say whatever he wants, no matter how hurtful or divisive — or nonsensical. With those traits, maybe he can set the groundwork for a talk show career.
But it's embarrassing for everyone to think he's actually the mayor, when he has lost credibility as a leader. The year 2009, when Naugle is term-limited out, can't come soon enough.
BOTTOM LINE: No leader should
be acting like this.