And he's finding himself with fewer and fewer friends, which is a good thing. Today it was the local tourism industry's turn to ask Naugle to just shut the hell up already.
The leaders of Broward County's tourism industry demanded Thursday that Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle stop his attacks on homosexuality even as he pressed them to change marketing designed to lure gay tourists.
Executives of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau and members of the Tourism Development Council accused Naugle of damaging the reputation they sought to craft in the two decades since the demise of Spring Break. They said while some gay tourists and gay-oriented conventions are reconsidering visiting, Naugle's comments have others fearful of coming if there is rampant public sex.
Naugle's only real friends now are the far-right nutter community and perhaps the developers wh haven't filed for bankruptcy yet, but they're in no shape to help him. Today's demand was for him to stop the rhetoric. Before long, I hope, the demand will be for him to resign. Our local economy is in bad enough shape from the bursting housing bubble–we don't need to have a major tourist segment start boycotting us because of one loud-mouth who happens to be mayor.
NOTE FROM PAM: I wanted to add this bit of info…
According to Waymon Hudson of Fight Out Loud, the tourism board shared with Naugle the blowback that is already occurring:
Board members said that each time the mayor speaks they receive hundreds of E-mails from potential visitors to Ft Lauderdale, saying they plan to take their money elsewhere. One board member said a 200-person group was scheduled to stay at a prominent hotel in Ft Lauderdale. In light of Naugle’s comments, they have placed the reservation, along with $250,000 in revenue, on hold. These concerns have come from not only gay and lesbian travelers, but from other tourists as well. They have said they no longer see the Greater Fort Lauderdale area as a welcoming or safe place to travel.
What did Naugle say in response?
“I am the Mayor that’s not going to back down. One of the things that my dad taught me is that it isn’t always about the money, it’s about doing what’s right.”
And he’s going to take all of you folks in Fort Lauderdale down with him.