As I’ve done in the past, I’m switching my writing style.  There’s a lot to say, and you won’t want to scroll forever.

Many readers will remember the six month war back in 2005, but some won’t.  It left me with a reputation of being anti-gay.  While nothing could be further from the truth, I am and always have been anti-demagoguery.  And the issue was fired up by four would be demagogues  who lied through their teeth to the community and the media from day one.

Let me start with one little known fact:  The hard fought GLSEN agreement was about to expire.

The irony of it all was the interview question by the idiots at the Miami Herald Editorial Board who couldn’t even get Steve Kane’s name right (Stan Kane.)  They were reading from scripts and not listening to a word.  Let me give you a direct quote from the interview:

“SO YOU’RE SAYING THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?”  Let’s find out.

At the center of the fight was a rather harmless video with live action and cartoon characters singing the song “We are Family.”  Our would be demagogues demanded that the video be included in the district curricula.  The only problem was that it directly conflicted with the district’s policy on stranger danger.

But that didn’t matter to the four.  It was more about exerting their will on the School Board.

Their contention was that 4,000 school districts were using the video while only 4 were not.  Of course Broward was one of those four dastardly holdouts.  We had staff make phone calls to other districts in Florida and around the nation.  When the count passed 100 ‘no’ we stopped counting since the truth was obvious.

“SO YOU’RE SAYING THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?”

Frustrated in being caught in a bold faced lie, the group took its demands to the School Board Diversity Committee, tying up not one, but two successive meetings.  When they couldn’t make headway in the first meeting, they demanded a public hearing and debate at the next.  The next meeting went even worse for them.  They figured that public speakers would support them.   Not quite.  The public speakers with the exception of one or two basically told them to get lost.  The would be demagogues would have none of it.  They demanded a vote from the Diversity Committee lying to the members that the School Board expected the committee to vote.

The Committee voted them down by an overwhelming margin.

Unfortunately, two Committee members made comments that fired them up.  One was one of my appointees, radio talk show host Steve Kane.  The other was made by the Vice Chair who compared their idea of “family” to the Mansion family and the Jim Jones family.  He also referred to them as “disease carriers.”  Now the fight was brought directly to School Board meetings with a demand that the Diversity Committee be disbanded.  You can figure out why.  When the Board refused to disband the committee, their tactics changed once again.  They started personal attacks during Board meetings, first against Kane, and then me.

Meanwhile, these self serving demagogues had the Board frightened into the Bunker mentality.  The late Carole Andrews asked me what I was doing.  I told her that I was showing some backbone.  One of the other Board members commented that there were “more of them than there are of us.”  My answer was that there were more of us than there are of them.  The proof was to come later on.

“SO YOU’RE SAYING THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?”

One of the would be demagogues was none other than Ken Keechl.  I arranged a one on one meeting with Keechl at the 84 Diner in Davie.  Behind my back, Keechl invited three others in order to gang up on me.  They were planning an ambush.  But in a blast e-mail they lied about it.  “A lunch meeting was arranged for August 3 rd between Kenneth Keechl, Melissa Fojtik, Michael Albetta, and Marty Rubinstein.” I found out through my own sources about the “ambush” and brought a gang of my own.  Keechl and his cronies were so incensed that I dared to bring “troops” that one of them wrote a nasty e-mail blast to the county Democrats having the audacity to complain about my “stacking the deck.” Surprisingly, Mr. Rubinstein did not come to the meeting alone, but was accompanied, unannounced. 

“SO YOU’RE SAYING THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?”

The personal attacks weren’t working so they switched tactics once again.  Now they demanded that the Board change Diversity appointment policy so that a majority of Board members could vote out anybody they didn’t like.  That didn’t sit well with the Board, either.  Time for a new tactic.  This time a demand was made for a public hearing in front of the School Board.  We gave it to them.  24 speakers not including Board members.

I was first to speak.

At the end of my speech, I accused the demagogues of attempting to suppress freedom of speech.  The audience went into an uproar of cheers.  The next three speakers after the rest of the Board members were the demagogues. They went first with the usual diatribe.  “Hatred.  Anti-Gay.  Diversity out of control.”  How right they were.  Out of their control.  And one by one, the remaining speakers gave their speeches and followed my lead on freedom of speech.  Each time the phrase was used the audience went into another uproar.  All except the three who sat on their hands.  It was crystal clear that the three were alone.  They were outnumbered.  Time for another tactic.

Several of the speakers that night were founders of the CCC (Citizens Concerned about our Children) and the direct reason for the existence of the Diversity Committee.  Our e-mail blaster lied once again and claimed that those folks boasted to the audience that they didn’t have to follow Diversity policy.  CCC attorneys and Diversity Committee members alike stood at the special meeting on August 23 rd to say that they don’t need to obey Diversity Policy because their “religious” or “Christian” beliefs are in opposition to homosexuality and even had the gall to say they were not required to be tolerant.”

Absolute nonsense.  Lying was their only way to get attention.  Meanwhile the media swallowed their hype and lies hook, line and sinker:

Here’s the text of an August 2005 WPLG editorial that shows what the media did report during the “war.”  And this is tame by comparison.

WPLG Editorial: School Diversity Committee Exhibits Ironic Intolerance 8/7/05

“There’s something called a diversity committee in Broward. Its members are supposed to be the defenders of diversity for the county’s public school system. Recently though, after the committee made a recommendation regarding a children’s video, the committee has ended up being criticized as “homophobic” and anti Gay.

The committee was concerned that the video called “We are Family” was sending a sinister, pro Gay message to Broward’s public school students.

It’s caused such an outcry that school board meetings have been the scenes of numerous shouting matches.

Fortunately, the school board didn’t follow the committee’s recommendation.

How can we trust this committee to police prejudice when they are accused of sending a message of intolerance? At best, the committee has a serious PR problem. At worst, some members have outed themselves as anti-Gay. That’s our take on things.

Let us know what you think.

The only thing the editorial got right was that there was a Diversity Committee and it was being characterized by the demagogues as homophobic and ant-Gay.  The rest was nothing but crap fed to them.  WPLG never bothered to contact anybody from the School Board for either confirmation or rebuttal.

The media never bothered to find out the truth.

“SO YOU’RE SAYING THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?”

Their final tactic was to phony up a group with the initials “CCC” on a phony petition claiming that the CCC was supporting the demagogues.  Our e-mail blaster took the “petition” to a meeting of Democratic Club Presidents and intimidated the members to sign the phony petition.  I found out about it when I got two angry calls from the signers when they found out they were duped.

You don’t make suckers out of the Presidents of the county Democratic clubs without consequences.  That was the end of their political support in Broward County.

But the Miami Herald wouldn’t let go.  School Board reporter Steve Harrison wrote a hit piece about me hiding behind junior reporter Hannah Sampson. While it was being written, just about everybody who was interviewed called me and fed me the questions being asked.  It wasn’t pretty.  I wrote a long, scathing reply to the editors which was never published.  Harrison disappeared from the Herald within a week.

In a final insult to everyone, the demagogues deceived the public into the notion that the School Board knows nothing about diversity and needs training.  We scheduled that training, being held in February, 2006.  Not one of the  demagogues attended.  Had any of them bothered to attend, they would have heard the facilitator say this: “Without diversity of opinion, there is no diversity.”

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