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Ward 1 Candidate Question of the Week: Human Rights

Ward 1 Gulfport City Council Candidates David Hastings and Dan Liedtke answer our fourth Gulfport Patch "Candidate Question of the Week."

Voters will head to the polls on March 13 to decide who will represent them as Gulfport City Council Member for Wards 1 and 3.

To help inform the community, Patch will publish a City Council Candidate Question of the Week for both Wards.

Below, you will find the answers for the Ward 1 Candidates: David Hastings and Dan Liedtke.

This week's question is a reader submitted question.

Gulfport Patch Question of the Week: "Where do you stand on Gulfport’s Human Rights Ordinance?"

Dan Liedtke

"I wish we as individuals were only judged by others based on the content of our character. "

David Hastings

"Although I was not on council when this ordinance was brought forward, it is something that I fully support.

"I have never been one to discriminate against anyone. The businesses I have owned and are associated with in Gulfport since 1997 are proof to that. Moreover, I have never looked at anyone as different than someone else based on age, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or physical characteristic. I think that the true essence of a person comes from within.              

"That being said, I am not naive enough to believe that there is no discrimination. The efforts that the City Council put in to make sure that everyone within Gulfport is treated equally and with compassion and respect was tremendous.  Their proactiveness and braveness to work together to include this within our City ordinances is an example of what this City can continue to do when we come together for the greater good."

Lynda February 14, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I agree this was a great question to ask. Human rights can never be taken for granted as being permanently protected. In the current political environment, human rights that have long been considered basic and governed by settled law are being challenged at every level of government. Frankly, under pending voter suppression legislation in several states, many women, many disabled people and many members of ethnic minority groups will lose their right to vote. All voters have a responsibility to know what council candidates' positions are on protecting important ordinances. Thank you, Cherlene for asking the question and thanks to those candidates who gave serious, well-considered answers for voters to evaluate. And if a candidate chooses to quote/refer to Martin Luther King Jr. in his answer, I think quotation marks and Dr. King's name should be part of the answer.
Cherlene Willis February 14, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Thanks Doug and Lynda. As always, I will consider using any user submitted questions for the weekly Candidate Question of the Week. Send your questions to me via email at cherlene.willis@patch.com.
Mr. Fish February 14, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Well then Charlene, how does the candidate feel about the Gulfport City Attorney giving bad legal advice to the City Council?
mtober February 15, 2012 at 02:23 AM
@ Mr. Fish a/k/a Jim Greenwald- Exactly what was the bad advice and who determined it was bad advice?
mtober February 15, 2012 at 02:27 AM
@ Mr. Fish a/k/a Jim Greenwald- Exactly what was the bad advice and who determined it was bad advice? There also are generally two sides to every story.;-)
Juan Happicampa February 15, 2012 at 09:26 AM
To me the presuppositional questions would have value if the ordinance were before them, it's not. There are many questions to be addressed and at the rate of one per week this media exercise will barely scratch the surface. Is there anyone reading this virtual paper that thought one of these candidates would have answered, that, they didn't stand with the HRO? Similarly, I'm sure Rick Santorum can justify all the time and attention he's giving to social issue now, but is he actually addressing the pressing concerns of the general population? Isn't he just using the issue to distract from other pressing matters? Isn't he just pounding the constitution and playing the lute to a special interest group in an effort to motivate them? We've heard that there is going to be a budget deficit in Gulfport, but we haven't heard how they are going to address it, now that they have all committed to not cutting government any further. I guess they will dip into the emergency fund once again or raise taxes and utilities because neither of these two candidates have demonstrated how to avoid it or found how they can squeeze dollars out of Gulfport's illusionary "World Class Assets".
Juan Happicampa February 15, 2012 at 09:27 AM
They're using the emergency fund to address the dilapidating sewers and to supplement revenue shortfalls, but to date; I've never heard a candidate or incumbent asked to define an emergency. What is an emergency, how will our funds be used when there is an emergency, what will we do when the there is an emergency fund shortfall? OH, wait, can't define emergency? Let's change the name to reserve fund. There is a proposed mooring field on the table placing 24 missiles off shore that will smash through the buildings on the beach front when the water rises and comes ashore, what are the plans to address this additional liability? The mooring field will be restricted to sailboats we're told, does that mean that these boats will have to sail to the mooring field or can they use their engines? Sailing into a mooring is almost impossible. Can they use their diesel generators while anchored offshore? If both answers are YES, what is the purpose of restricting the mooring field to sailboats only? With a full mooring field on a hot summer or cold winter day you could have 24 diesel generators running offshore to supply Heat/AC, hot water, cooking and lights. The small generators using about 8 gallons of diesel fuel per day will either exhaust in the water or in the air.
Juan Happicampa February 15, 2012 at 09:28 AM
At least at the marina there will be electricity available so diesels will not be needed. Does anyone here see a conflict of interest? Will the restaurants that are expecting patrons from this mooring field pay for the contributing pollution? Could Mr. Liedtke be right, on this issue if nothing else? Would any of you give him credit for being right if he was? I'm serious, this group think …hive mind stuff is paralyzing. The mooring field will have an unaccounted for and unpaid for carbon footprint and it seems odd to me that no one else sees it or cares to see it. Don't address the real issues, set the other guy up with social non-questions that are already established law. I can see business, arts interests and HRO rights being addressed but you know folks, you can't gather a group of neighbors to clean smoke out of the air or diesel out of the water, and it seems, just like any other polluter, this city is setting it's priorities so that business does not pay for the environmental damage that they bring here.
Juan Happicampa February 15, 2012 at 09:29 AM
To be clear I'm in favor of Mr. Hastings and Mrs. Salmon keeping their seats, but I really think that they both need to get out on a boat. Near 20 burglaries in January among a long list of escalating crimes, how much attention did it get? I'll bet if there was one HRO violation the Neighbors, Watchdogs, Gabber, Patch, all the sitting councilmen would be up on their heels, but for the lowly hundreds of crime victims, they don't even get noticed. It's all soo fuzzy; when special people get special privileges and then lash out at others who only have rednecks, trailer-trash, crime victims and jerks to defend them. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth."
Nancy Kelley February 15, 2012 at 11:59 AM
The Human Rights Ordinance question is a very important question. Thank you Cherelene.To those of us who have been beaten, arrested, denied employment, and housing because of our sexual orientation , it MUST be asked OVER and OVER AGAIN. To Jim And Mark-- Call the candidates and ask your--- oh so important questions if you must , BUT do not post under your ficticious names and DENY or Question our right to ask this question! If you must at least have the Gonads to tell us who you really are.
jo February 15, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Juan, the almost 20 burglaries in january that you speak of, do you know if they were random or were they by people they know? I have heard many times that crimes are usually done by people you know. I have been broken into once at my place and i am positive it was an employee that i fired. Judging by what they took and what they "FORGOT TO TAKE" i know it was an employee. Have any of the 20 break ins been solved? Mine was never solved but my gutt tells me that it was that employee.
Juan Happicampa February 15, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Jo, perhaps there are a % of burglaries that are inside jobs but they are statistics none the less. We caught one in the house behind us a few months back, called the cops and they caught him red handed, with a screwdriver at the back door. The house down the block was an inside job we were told, another was not. The stolen and vandalized cars next door were unknown to the victims. The Gabber didn't know the person who broke in, we never found out who burglarized our house in 1994. I don't think that it matters, as reflected in the city-data that the nations sees when they look into the crime rate of Gulfport. If filling these houses up new residents is a priority then I think a lower crime rate would go a long way. The crime rate is a reflection of the quality of life of the City as a whole, even at your place. It certainly can not be a good selling point to be surrounded by crime any more than it is to be next door to crime, if you know what I mean.
Juan Happicampa February 15, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Nancy, you were abused and denied your equal rights, now you've found safe harbor, so enjoy it. Today there are folks in town who are not getting a fair shake, partially because others in this City are sucking the oxygen out of the room. The City has a deficit to address, sewers to fix and victims to deal with now, if you demand all of the councils attention for arts, and businesses, and old human rights issues, where will they find the time to address the problems facing them today and in the future. Let's see...Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King and Mark Twain are all pseudonym, I'm in good company. Have a nice day!
Cherlene Willis February 15, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Just a friendly reminder that if readers have questions that could apply to all four candidates, you can submit them to Gulfport Patch for a future post. All questions will be considered. Thanks - Cherlene (email me at cherlene.willis@patch.com)
Juan Happicampa February 15, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Cherlene, thank you for your patience. As you can see I have many questions and would not be opposed to you selecting anyone one of them for your applied use. Thanks again All good wishes °¿°
Mr. Fish February 15, 2012 at 05:53 PM
mtober: The state preempts all smoking laws. Did the city attorney miss this one, or is it a pattern of neglect? Just one example. Yes the HRO is important and I feel that all four candidates will vote for its passage. But what about the crtime that does not seem to be addressed?
mtober February 16, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Jim - Totally agree that crime should be addressed. As to the State pre-empting smoking laws, that has been addressed multiple times. The City Atty is not alone in his opinion inasmuch as any number of other Florida municipalities have also banned smoking.
mtober February 16, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Juan you make some very good points regarding the various issues. However, I also have to agree with the others that the HRO is a valid question. I don't know that you or I as white heterosexuals can understand the impact of this ordinance without having walked a mile in the shoes of people like Nancy, or Ray Castro a friend of mine that passed away last year. He played an intgral role in the Stonewall protests in NYC in the 60's. Likewise I also don't think we can fully embrace the feelings of those who are discriminated against because of the color of their skin and/or their heritage. I can honestly say that (glass ceiling issues aside) I don't think I have ever been discriminated against because I am white or because I am straight.Gulfport has a reknowned history of discrimination and to be the first in FL to have taken bold steps to pass an ordinance to protect against such speaks volumes. It is part of this City's being and for a Candidate not to recognize that and not be able to speak to that reflects poor knowledge of this City and it's history as well as it's future.
mtober February 16, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Juan - you are correct. Indeed there is much work to be done. However, I think our current Council took some bold steps in the right direction. The majority of this Council actually said no we are not going to keep taking money from our reserves rather we must look at our expenses and yes our utility rates are below the norm and need to be raised and yes we need at least as much property tax revenue next year as we had last year and so we must equalize the millage rate. Some have criticized the Council for being too hasty. I view this as a Council that did it's homework , took responsibility and tried to take steps to truly impact the future. IMO the easy out would have been to say just use more reserve funds. Wait till next year is what has been said for years and a majority of this council heeded the advice of the city manager and staff and said NO we can't keep saying wait till next year. People have been saying for years that it is time for government to operate like a business. Businesses in the private sector make bold and efficient budget decisions like the above as required. Yet when the current council made bold and efficient decisions, after doing their homework and thorough research, some say it was done too fast and maybe done untruthfully.
mtober February 16, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Con't >>>>> I vividly remember a Council Meeting a few years ago where the Council attempted to implement the roll forward millage rate in order to collect revenues in the coming year similar to the current year. A fairly large group of peole showed up at Council and spoke against the millage increase. Many were business people and spoke to the notion of government operating like a business and speaking to the need to cut expenses. Among the people at that meeting was Candidate Liedtke who has and continues to make assertions that the current council took an easy out by cutting a huge expense and trying to operate as a business rather than an inefficient, pork laden government that everyone criticized several years ago. This Council was also the first in the history of Gulfport to actually engage in a formalized vuisioning / goal setting process that actually plans for the future--yet another tool embraced by private enterprise and the people taht showed up at that meeting several years ago.
mtober February 16, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Con't. >> I and others have asserted that the City needs to also look at ways to increase revenues and it must. Decreasing Marina fees to draw more boats does not increase revenues. 50X10=500; 100X 5 = 500. That type of action is a wash. Diversifying the City's offerings at the Casino, Rec Ctr, etc. may help. Hiring a promotor migt help. Charging promotors for services might help. All are good starts however i submit that they will not provide the needed relief to a potential million $$ shortfall. That kind of money may likely only be realized thru the sale of assets and or annexation.
mtober February 16, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Cherlene- perhaps you could start asking more than one question per week?. Here are two to consider... How has the economy impacted Gulfport and what can the city do to counter the impacts? What is your opinion of annexing Pasadena Golf Club, the parts of St.Petersburg in 33711 that are adjacent to Gulfport as well as the north side of 7th Avenue? Thanks.
Lynda February 16, 2012 at 01:53 PM
These comments and questions are examples of the value of having people who remember a city's history involved with the choice of leaders for its future. It is also important to involve people with fresh eyes to challenge how things have always been done and fight to remove obstacles that have been in place for years. This council election seems to have differing viewpoints well-represented. However, there seems to be a consensus that "business" knows how to accomplish what needs to be done in government. I strongly disagree. Business tools used wisely can help governments achieve results, but businesses fail frequently. Selecting and using appropriate business tools can make for a stronger government serving citizens well. Turning government into a "business" or turning government functions over to businesses does not guarantee success or automatically give citizens cost-saving results. Voting for a council skilled only in business will not guarantee success either.
mtober February 16, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Lynda - good points and I agree with you. I am not suggesting everything should be privaitized or run exactly like a buisness, but rather consider what successful businesses do and operate in a fashion that embraces success. There is no reason for the notion that everything has to be drawn out forever and a day in government just because it is government. "Selecting and using appropriate business tools" holds true for business too. :-) I do believe that there are anomalies to government not found in business and that government is essentially a business with perhaps a stronger social conscience. I think what bothers me most in this case is the contradiction of the candidate from a few years ago to his stance today simply for the purpose of winning an election. Candidate Liedtke also states he would not and will not eliminate positions yet in PYCC he wanted to do away with the personalized service of the security guards and replace them with cameras and came prepared with a vendor to do so. Again another contradiction apparently just for the sake of an election.
Juan Happicampa February 16, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Margarete, l will try to be clear and concise, hopefully without being suspected of one-upmanship. In 1969 the drinking age in Massachusetts was 21 years old. In New York it was 18. I was 18 in 1969 and had already had a driver's license and a collection of vehicles at my disposal. Although it was quicker to ride to Albany NY it was more fun to ride to NYC, so I alone or with other motorcycle enthusiast would ride south instead of riding north to Montréal to find a party. The best location to find a party and a place to crash in NYC in 1969 was in the Village. " Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." - Innocents Abroad Mark Twain
Lynda February 16, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Thanks, mtober. I don't have your historical knowledge of Gulfport so I appreciate your comments with that information. I am concerned about the passion for privatization overwhelming Florida (and much of the rest of the country) as if it is some miracle cure. Having a motive to make a profit does not guarantee perfect results. Many of the delays involved with government action come from citizens not allowing government to take risks or run pilot programs or do anything that hasn't been tried before. Governments are held to a much higher standard than private business. Just as public schools must serve all students while charter and private schools can pick and choose attendees, governments have obligations and accountability businesses do not. This is one reason I thought Cherlene's question about HRO was important for candidates to answer.
Nancy Kelley February 16, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Juan, I only have a safe harbor in Gulfport if the HRO is NOT repealed by elected council people.
Juan Happicampa February 17, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I understand Nancy, my original point was not about the HRO specifically, it was about rehashing established law when so much needs to be done. I wasn't trying to be insensitive, I know more than most about abuse. Many segments of out population was abused in my lifetime, women especially, hippies, bikers were the muslims of the 60's and 70's. I can remember when the sailors would disembark from their ships in Boston and go to the Commons to beat up on hippies and queers for recreation. You can get into a lot of trouble for punching out a sailor. My enlightenment into the world of diversity began when I was 6. A cousin, female and 10 years older than I worked for Hasbro designing cloths for GI Joe. The nature of the work allowed her to work at home, in Provincetown MA. Visiting with her was the highlight of the summer, cause she had a lot of interesting friends who took you along when they went surfing or sailing or just cruising the town. At 12 years old an inner city kid was rarely exposed to such activity. I learnt all about art, sailing, surfing and swimming in rip tides from my cousin and her friends who were all a little fruity, according to the adults back home.
Cherlene Willis February 18, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Thanks for adding in your questions. They will be considered for future posts. - Cherlene
Michael O'Toole March 09, 2012 at 05:37 AM
I too would like more questions, or at least a few broader questions in order to engage more respondents to the back and forth, so people won't feel too intimidated to add their comment. Thanks, Cherlene

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