Friday, December 28, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST December 28, 2007

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Express Gay News

Top 10 state and local gay stories of 2007
From Naugle to Anita Bryant, it was a year of protests, progress andnostalgia

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Express dubbed 2006 "the Year of the Closet" - and among those who werefound hiding behind the tie rack were a conservative Republican politician,Mark Foley, and a right-wing preacher, Ted Haggard. Well, in 2007, thecloset was out and the bathroom was in for people who wanted to hide theirsexuality. In fact, it was the year of public officials hiding their gaysexual proclivities from the public by having clandestine sex - in public.

Yes, the great sucking sounds of 2007 were all of those flushing toilets.WOOSH! Mayor Naugle's already dubious reputation among Fort Lauderdale's gayresidents and straight liberal elites was flushed down the toilet after hisJuly 4 interview with a Sun-Sentinel reporter in which he castigated gaysfor having sex in public restrooms. Then, not long after Naugle's July 4toilet talk - WOOOSH! Republican state Rep. Bob Allen's career went down thetoilet when he was arrested for soliciting for gay sex in a public restroomin Titusville, Fla. But it didn't stop there. The pandemic of public sexseemed to be spreading across the country - at least that's what theright-wingers wanted people to believe. WOOOOSH! Republican Sen. Larry Craig'scareer was flushed after he was arrested for allegedly soliciting for gaysex in a public restroom at the Minneapolis airport.

The sex stings raised serious concerns about overzealous police tactics andpossible violations of people's rights. Many people criticized what was seenas flimsy evidence in the Craig case. In addition, a Boca Raton priest wasarrested in a public restroom in North Carolina for simply asking anundercover officer to go home with him and have sex. A lawyer for theAmerican Civil Liberties Union said the priest's rights were violated. Ofcourse, public sex wasn't the only thing happening in 2007. So, should oldbathroom acquaintance be forgot, here are the Express' top state and localgay stories of 2007:

Mayor Naugle's public sex crusade

Like an overflowing toilet, the Naugle story just kept getting bigger andmessier, eventually flooding the entire country with negative poo-poo aboutFort Lauderdale. Naugle launched his crusade against public sex on July 4when he told a Sun-Sentinel reporter, "Homosexuals.they're engaging in sex,anonymous sex, illegal sex." The mayor went on to say that he used the word"homosexual" instead of gay because "most [homosexuals] aren't gay; they areunhappy." The latter statement particularly infuriated the local gaycommunity.



Express Gay News

2007's movers and shakers
Express picks '10 Most Influential GLBT People of the Year'

Thursday, December 27, 2007

FROM THE ARTS TO POLITICS AND even in the gossip pages, gay men and women inFlorida have made a difference in 2007. The Express compiled a list of GLBTmen and women who were the biggest agents of change this year. Be it throughtheir personal styles, their responsibilities or their sheer grit, these arethe people who have influenced the gay and lesbian community and the largermainstream community in Florida.

As Broward County's first openly gay county commissioner, Ken Keechlembodies the political clout of Broward's GLBT community. Keechl has beenout front this year in leading efforts to pass an amendment to the county'sHuman Rights Ordinance to include protections based on gender identity andexpression.

When Susan Stanton was fired from her job as city manager of Largo, Fla.,she gave transgender discrimination a name and a face. Stanton was dismissedafter her plans to transition to a woman became known in the media. Sinceleaving her job, she has been among the most visible activists on the genderidentity and expression front. She was among the audience when Democraticpresidential candidates debated on LOGO, a network that caters to the gaymarket.

Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, stands up forcivil rights for all people all of the time. Smith garnered headlines thisyear when she was tackled by Largo, Fla. police and arrested for holding asign that read "Don't discriminate" at a hearing over the firing oftransgendered City Manager Susan Stanton. A fearless activist, Smith takeson homophobes and conservative activists with a powerful, even-toned manner.

This year, Unite Fort Lauderdale emerged in response to the controversialstatements of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle. The organization evolvedfrom an activist front into a multi-layered agency devoted to addressinghate and bias. Doug Cureton, a local entrepreneur, has been at the center ofUnite Fort Lauderdale from the beginning. Although Unite has no officers,Cureton's smarts and ability to organize make him the backbone andconscience of the organization.

Sporting her signature raspberrycolored hair-do and retro-futuristicfashions, Carol Coombes knows something about making a statement when shewalks into a room. She's even more adept at setting a tone in her fastidiouswork programming films, organizing parties and managing just about everyaspect of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. In 2007, the festivalexpanded its screenings in Fort Lauderdale. In 2008, MGLFF will celebrateits 10th anniversary by launching a parallel Fort Lauderdale Gay & LesbianFilm Festival under Coombes' direction.

Karen Doering makes it a point to be on the front lines of issues thataffect the GLBT community. An outspoken civil rights lawyer, Doering, seniorcounsel with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is deeply involved inopposing the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage. Doering representedSusan Stanton in the high-profile transgender job discrimination case thisyear. In recent years, she has been an omnipresent figure on the legal frontlines of the GLBT rights struggle, representing many clients.

As president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Rand Hoch, aretired judge, has kept pressure on politicians and community activists tosupport civil rights measures. This year, Palm Beach County Commission- erspassed into law amendments to two county ordinances to ban discrimination inhousing, employment and public accommodations based on gender identity andexpression. Hoch is also involved in lobbying state legislators to passsimilar amendments to the state's civil rights statutes.

Miamiborn Mario Armando Lavandeira casts an unapologetically gay image onthe internet and cable television as the colorfully coiffed gossip mongerPerez Hilton. Hilton's over-the-top fey antics border on the ridiculous. Yethe constantly breaks out into mainstream media. This year, he's beenfeatured with his own series of shows, "What Perez Sez," on VH1, andappeared on MTV's "Celebrity Rap Superstar" paired with former Crip gangmember Tone Loc. Perez has earned his moniker - "The Queen of Mean" - and itall started in South Florida.

Adriane Reesey is one of the most active and entrenched people in thecommunity. Her work as community liaison for the Broward Sheriff 's Officekeeps her involved in virtually every neighborhood in the county. She hasalso made a difference as chair of the county's Human Rights Board. Thisyear, Reesey played a key role in moving forward an amendment to the county's Human Rights Ordinance that adds protections for transgendered people andpregnant women.

As co-founder of the non-profit organization Fight Out Loud, Waymon Hudsonmade big noise in Fort Lauderdale this year. Hudson and his partner, AnthonyNiedwicki, were largely responsible for organizing a unified response toFort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle's negative comments about gay people. FightOut Loud was formed after the couple blew the whistle on a homophobicbroadcast by an employee at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.


Express Gay News

FIRST DATE OF 2008: Ring in the new year at one of South Florida's gayparties

Thursday, December 27, 2007

WHETHER YOUR THING is rock 'n roll, disco, magic or a fund-raising party,South Florida is full of places to pop the cork and leap into the leap yearof 2008 in style.

You can rock into 2008 with performances from Tim McCarron and Chuck Panozzofrom 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The party will introduce Mark LaFontaine, thecandidate for State House, District 92. The party will be at 2020 N.E. 3rdTerrace in Wilton Manors. There will be hors d'oeurves, cocktails anddessert. There is a suggested donation of $100. 954-394-4980

Narcotics Anonymous is having a New Year's Eve party in the main hall of theGay & Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30a.m. This is a clean and sober party for those of you who need to stay soberor want to accompany a sober friend. Gold Coast N.A. is sponsoring theparty. The GLCC is located at 1717 N. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.
954-463- 9005.

Discotekka is bringing in the New Year with a $25 cover and open bar from 10p.m. to midnight. There will be a champagne toast and party favors. DJsJarell and A Luv will spin the tunes. After midnight, DJs TommyT, A Luv andRalphie will continue to spin dance music well into the night. Discotekka isat 950 NE 2nd Ave. in Miami. 305-371-3773.

Gary Santis and Hilton Wolman present the Official Masterbeat 2008 New Year'sMiami. From 10 p.m. to 10 a.m., DJ Abel will spin a 12-hour set, and therewill be a performance by Jeanie Tracy. The huge party will be at SohoStudios Miami is at 2136 NW 1st Ave. (at NW 21 St.) in Miami.

Kevin & Caruso will bring their magic act to Coliseum for New Year's Eve.The evening will also feature the music of Joe Bermudez and performances byMizz Cori, Vegas Dion, Gina D'Angelo, Daisy D, Erika Norell, Glitz Glamourand TP Lords. Coliseum is at 2520 S. Miami Road in Fort Lauderdale.

Dance music diva Rachel Panay will perform cabaret selections and some ofher popular dance singles this New Year's Eve at Halo Lounge. There will bean open bar, hors d'oeuvres, party favors and DJs.

The event costs $150 all-inclusive. Halo is at 1625 Michigan Ave. in MiamiBeach.

Start New Year's Day with Genesis V, featuring DJ/producer Tracy Young onJan. 1 at 8 a.m. It's the fifth year of annual party, and it's supposed tobe bigger than ever. The event is at Cameo, which is at 1445 Washington Ave.
in Miami Beach.

The Fifth is offering a "Night of Magic with Victor Calderone" this New Year's
Eve. There will be an opening set with DJ Cue, custom party favors, amazingset decor, a countdown, a balloon drop and nonstop dance shows by Hot JamsEntertainment. The party starts at 9 p.m. and goes to 5 a.m., with open barfrom 9 to 11 p.m. The Fifth is at 1045 Fifth St. in Miami.

Black Banana is opening just in time for New Year's Eve with a big bash. Theevent will feature a Sean Kingston CD release party and performances byAngelique Ali and Nikko Matos. Black Banana is at 6890 Powerline Road inFort Lauderdale. 954-779-6030.

Drop by Score in Miami Beach for the club's "Casino Royale" party. DJ DrewTribe will spin, and the hostess will be the fabulous Alyssa Kartiar. Expecta balloon drop, complimentary champagne and a live broadcast from TimesSquare. Score is at 727 Lincoln Road (and Meridian Ave.) in Miami Beach.

There will be a "Disco Inferno" this New Year's Eve at Lips. The party,which is hosted by Electra, will feature dinner, a drag show, dancing, achampagne toast, hats, horns and party supplies. Lips is at 1421 E. OaklandPark Blvd. in Oakland Park. 954-567-0987

Smarty Pants Bar is ringing in the New Year with a performance by AuntieMame at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Smarty Pants is in Times Square Plaza, 3038 N. Federal Hwy., on the cornerof U.S. 1 and Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. 954-561-1724.

Steel is "Glowing in the New Year" with their party. There will be achampagne toast at midnight, a $1500 balloon drop and the sounds of DJ LarryMonteleone. There isn't a cover for this event. Steel is at 1951 NW 9th Ave.Powerline Road) in Fort Lauderdale. 954-522-9985.

Celebrate New Year's Eve at Scandals with a balloon drop, prizes and freechampagne. There will be party favors and much more at the country bar.Scandals is at 3073 NE 6th Ave. in Wilton Manors. 954-567-2431.

Georgie's Alibi presents their 11th annual New Year's Eve Spectacular withballoon drops, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. The staffinvites you to watch the ball drop on their big-screen TVs. Georgie's Alibiis at 2266 Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors. 954-565-2526.

Celebrate New Year's at Bill's, where they will have prizes and giveaways, aballoon drop and a midnight champagne toast. You can ring in the New Year'swith Gary Nolan's Top Videos of all time and a countdown of the Top 10Videos of the Year. Bill's is at 2209 Wilton Dr. in Wilton Manors.

Catch New Year's Eve Fever and relive 1978 at Rosie's this New Year's Eve.Dance to your disco favorites while you sip 78-cent Ketel One cocktails.Rosie's Bar & Grill is at 2449 Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors.

Doors open at midnight for Torpedo's New Year's celebration. Enjoy freechampagne and hors d'oeuvres. Torpedo is at 2829 W. Broward Blvd. in FortLauderdale. 954-587-2500.

Ramrod bar is having a "Poseidon Adventure New Year's Eve Bash" a.k.a. "thegay cruise" to bring in the new year. There will be a balloon drop atmidnight. Don't forget your leatherwear and harness when you go. Ramrod isat 1508 NE 4th Ave. in Wilton Manors. 954-763-8219.


From Palm Beach County Human Rights Council

The Year in Review, and 2006 too!

December 2007

Palm Beach County Commissioners amend both the County's Equal EmploymentOrdinance and the County's Fair Housing Ordinance to prohibit discriminationin employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity orexpression.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's office advises the Palm BeachCounty Human Rights Council that his office's policies have been revised to"provide enough latitude" to allow employees to use sick leave to care fordomestic partners.

November 2007

Palm Beach Gardens revises its Equal Employment Opportunity and Harassmentand Discrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexualorientation and familial status.

Palm Beach Gardens initiates basic domestic partner benefits (personalleave, acute illness leave, bereavement leave, and access to an EmployeeAssistance Program) for city employees.

Palm Beach County Human Rights Council
Post Office Box 267
West Palm Beach, Florida 33402
(561) 845-6545



Orlando Sentinel,0,3663078.story?track=rss

Florida cities are worst in nation as housing prices drop more than 6percent
Miami, Tampa lead nation in declines; local Realtors say Orlando faresbetter

Anika Myers Palm
Sentinel staff writer
December 27, 2007

Bad news for Floridians who want to sell their houses:

Two Florida cities showed the largest declines in home prices in October ashome prices fell nationwide for the 10th consecutive month, according to amajor index of home prices.

Metro Miami home prices dropped 12.4 percent in October 2007 compared withOctober 2006, while prices in Tampa dropped 11.8 percent compared with thesame period a year earlier, according to the Standard & Poor's Case-ShillerHome Price Index.

Home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas fell 6.1 percent inOctober -- the 23rd consecutive month of decelerating returns.

Orlando is not included in the Case-Shiller index, but according to datacompiled by the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, the median resaleprice of a house in the core Orlando market was down 7.4 percent in Octoberfrom a year earlier, and down 6 percent in November from the same period ayear earlier.

more . . . . .


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