Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chloe Meet

So tonight I went to Chloe Coney meeting at Liz Taylor's house. (Nice house, Liz. Great view. Good food too. And thanks for the wine.) Oh, so where was I?

It was a good meeting. I missed the speeches and showed up in time for the Q&A. Some interesting discussions occurred. Randy asked her about the County's discrimination against gays. She said she is not for discrimination of any kind. Essentially she said what you do is your business.

She said she understood that prior leaders from East Tampa have forgotten us after the election. She said it is a new day with her as far as that is concerned. Since the only job she would have would be as a county commissioner she would have the time to get out to our neighborhoods. She promised that either she or her aides would try to come to our neighborhood meetings. She basically inidicated she would want to work with us, use our activism to help get some changes on issues on the County Commission. She sees us as a long time resource.

We shared with her some of our concerns. Fireworks Ban. Changing Florida Ave back to a neighborhood street, overzealous tax assessor, need for more elderly and low income home repair programs, need for commercial development in Seminole Heights and others.

I was hugged twice by Chloe. A good hug. Not a prissy kissy kissy politician hug but a good solid one.

Others at the meeting please share.

I invited Chloe to write something for the blog called Chloe Speaks to Seminole Heights


Anonymous said...

Like everything except the fireworks ban. I grew up with fireworks and have never set anything on fire, injured myself, or broken a window with them. And I strongly resent anyone trying to limit my freedom to enjoy myself without hurting anyone else. I'm quite willing to pick up dead fireworks in exchange for the right to watch and blow off fireworks on July 4. It's too bad the rest of youse aren't such good sports.

Anonymous said...

Why do local candidates have to voice their opinion on sexual orientation?

I think local leaders should concentrate their time and effort on infrastructure, economic development and taxes not who is sleeping with who and whether they approve.

I'm getting a little tired of this being infused into local political debates, especially by the neighborhood association president.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:59 - it's because there are people that see gay issues in black and white - you're either fully supportive and want to know where you can get a rainbow bumper sticker, or you're a homophobe just waiting to pounce. It's proof that single-issue identity politics aren't confined to abortion protesters or anti-nudity activists.

Anonymous said...

I went to the meeting last night not knowing what to expect, I had no idea who Chloe was or where she came from. I was pleasantly surprised by what she could bring to the commission. She has the attitude and persistence to make positive change happen in the neighborhoods near and dear to her heart. Hopefully we impressed upon her the importance of Seminole Heights to the mix of neighborhoods. She kept bringing up that there is no reason to ‘re-invent the wheel’. She has seen ‘best practices’ used in other parts of the country and can’t understand why Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa will not pull from those resources to make changes happen. We have cities nearby that have turned around their neighborhoods and learned a little something in the process, we should take what they learned and run with it. She also understands that the increased tax revenues (some of which are too high), need to be put back into the neighborhoods that they are being generated from. I would think that a lot of the talk, she make no promises, except to say she would maintain open communication, could be construed as political speeches, but whether she gets the position or not, she will continue working to make her neighborhood a better place to live. Why not let her work to make our neighborhood a better place to live as an active participant of the County Commission? – Christie Hess

Anonymous said...


you know .this person who posted the article to begin with
reads like the lilweirdo alien on
"american dad" on FOXTV.

ranbar said...

Anon 9:59 -

You are exactly right, local leaders SHOULD concentrate their time and effort on infrastructure, economic development and taxes and not who is sleeping with who and whether they approve.

The reason I asked Chloe about this is because many of the current county commissioners HAVE concentrated on sexual orientation issues and I wanted to be sure that Chloe would not.

luckytop said...

Thanks ranbar, for enquiring to find out how Chloe feels toward the gay community. The majority of the current county commission are responsible for the need to ask candidates that question. No, it should not be necessary to ask about it, but it is. Those of you who think it inappropriate to pose this question to the candidates are either unconcerned about equality for all or are homophobes yourselves. Perhaps you would see the issue differently if you walked a mile in a gay or lesbian person's shoes.

Shawn-non-anonymous said...

Anon 9:59,

Short answer: because there are a lot of gay voters in the neighborhood for whom this issue is critical.

Longer answer: because there are a lot of gay voters in the neighborhood who cannot legally adopt, marry (or equivalent), or even have their cultural events recognized in a library or any other county building, organization, or space.

When your gay and lesbian neighbors are equal under the law, then it won't be an issue anymore.

Don't ask gay people why their politics are important to them; ask yourself why their politics are so important to you that you feel bothered by it.

Anonymous said...

I voted early for Chloe Coney yesterday, largely in part because of testimonials on this blog that indicate that they have heard her speak and that she is not for discrimination against gays. I was impressed with a comment to a previous post where she spoke at the Tampa Heights Civic Association meeting and where she recognized that gay-bashing is a tehnique that many right-wingers use to advance themselves. I pray that Ms. Coney is true to her word and I am impressed with what I have heard thus far. I certainly would not vote for anyone who has already proven that they are corrupt by lying and hiding expenses regarding clothing paid for by campaign contributions.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about either one of them?
They aren't looking out for you anyways as much as you all like to think that they are.
Chloe is looking out for the churches and the like and kevin is looking out for himself.

Anonymous said...

shawn, I don't have to ask. And the only reason I feel bothered by it is that these threads keep getting sidetracked by people who don't seem to care about anything *but* gay issues, and in a local election only one of the issues you mentioned is under Commission control. Add to that the tendency of some posters to divide the world into "people who agree with us" and "homophobes", and you get the recipe for annoyance and irritation that can marginalize the issues you care about.

Nowhere have I seen any substantive discussion about whether or not gay pride ought to be recognized on county property. Nowhere have I seen any debate over gay marriage (or civil unions), or adoption, or anything else. Nada. All I see is "homophobe!". So I'll go first.

#1 - Gay pride on county property (and in libraries). I can understand the mind-set of the parents who complained to Fraulein Storms about her children seeing a display that seemed to celebrate gay pride. Depending on how old my kids were, and how I was trying to raise them, I might not want to have to explain homosexuality to them.

#2 - Gay civil unions. Okay, I'm easy. Why not? There's no good reason not to allow it. You can't force a church to sanctify a civil union any more than you can force an orthodox Jewish temple to sanctify a marriage they don't believe in, but you also can't keep a Jew and a Catholic (or a Korean and an African American, or any other combo) from entering into a civil marriage.

#3 - Gay adoption. This is trickier because it involves children, but again, why not? If single people can adopt, why not couples? The overriding criterion has to be the best interests of the children. If there were *objective* evidence that gay unions were less stable than straight ones, or that children raised by gay parents turned out gay more often than children raised by straight parents, then it might be different. (And don't start with the "homophobe" stuff - nobody wants their children to be gay, and the best that most of them can do is manage some kind of acceptance. If it was easy, PFLAG wouldn't exist.)

Anonymous said...

Very well put. I am gay and could not agree more. I don't believe the gay materials in the library was proper. It would be like having literature on any sexual topic. Not appropriate in a public library. However, I do believe that the topic of civil unions are another story. The religious right want to block unions citing morals and the bible. However, the same bible tells us that if you are divorced, you cannot remarry or you commit adultery. Should divorce be outlawed? It comes down to what people are comfortable with.

Anonymous said...

The discussions generated here are fascinating. I am new to Tampa and because of this blog, I am looking for a house in Seminole Heights.I can't wait to read the postings every night. The IQ of the average Seminole Heights resident is far superior to most people I meet - straight or gay.

Anonymous said...

it is my understanding that the presentation that "My way or the highway" Storms ranted and raved about was a presentation of books written by authors - all who happened to be gay. They were taken from the library stacks which thereby means there were not sexually explicit books in the display.

Regarding adoption by gays - I think we should continue the foster system and the adoption system that puts the priority on getting the kids out of the system without regards to their ultimate welfare. Who else could continue to abuse and kill the children that were adopted out of love? If the system ain't broke then why bring individuals that have a loving heart and a willingness to do the right thing into the system. I think we should continue to shuffle children in and out of foster homes until they age out of the system and are dumped into a society they are not prepared to function in. What does love and concern for the children have to do with any of it???

Regarding civil unions/marriages:

I am aware of several "gay" couples in my neighborhhood that are 10+ years who don't cheat on their partners, have others on their side or have been married more than 2 times - oh wait - they can't get married. I don't see a gay marraige as a threat to my marriage - it is simply a matter of fairness as it relates to the civil obligations (taxes/government/retirement/ social security) not religious and it has nothing to do with children - they are many "straight" couples that never have or never intend to have children - how is that a threat to my marriage issue?

Sara said...

I am one of Chloe's neighbors from East Tampa. I have long enjoyed this blog. It is the only one I know of that reflects everyday life in Tampa. I enjoyed meeting some of you at Liz's lovely home by the river. I hope that together, with Chloe, we can get some things that district three residents have needed for a long time! I know that Chloe intends to send Scott some comments, if she hasn't already.

Anonymous said...

So let me understand...

If a local candidate has a solid plan to stimulate economic development along the Nebraska and Florida corridors or eliminate crime or lower taxes or solve any number of substantive issues in the SH neighborhood


they are indifferent to gay issues, there is a large contingent of voters who won't vote for them?

That's really counterproductive, especially at the local level where officlas really don't have much power to affect REAL change for gays.

Now at state and federal levels, I can understand that sort of litmus test. Laws can be created and changed in the Legislature and Congress.

But tying up three or four hours of a local government meeting talking about the distribution of gay pride materials at the library is a waste of time in a community that has so many problems and is begging for leadership and solutions.

ranbar said...

Well, let me say that I and others asked Chloe many questions about many topics over close to 3 hours. I thought the gay rights question was important because it is of interest to a relatively large and vocal gay population in Seminole Heights. Just because there are other legitimate issues (and she was grilled on development, traffic, zoning, insurance, code enforcement, etc...), doesn't minimize the importance of a particular issue to a group of people. You can be sure that members of Friends of the River, for instance, would more sensitive to Chloe's position on the environment and developers would be sensitive to her position on zoning issues.

For what it's worth, I fed her a rather general question on gay rights and she responded with the typical "I am against all forms of discrimination" statement. However, she said that in the Library situation she would have voted to remove because of the exposure to children of sexually explicit material. That is a pretty slippery slope of justification depending on the definition of sexually explicit ("I know it when I see it?"). To me, this topic was about the only one that she seemed uncomfortable discussing, though she was adament that she is against all forms of discrimination. What I did not follow up with was whether she was in favor of civil unions, partnership rights for county employees, etc... Again, these are legitimate concerns for a segment of the electorate and within the realm of subjects that can come before the Commission (i.e. employee benefits).

Shawn-non-anonymous said...

Anon 11:28:

#1 Gay pride on county property. I would be 100% okay with their vote on gay pride provided it included _all_ other cultural activities for everyone else as well. That would include African-American, Irish, Jewish, and any others. Gay and lesbian citizens were singled out for extra-ordinary treatment on the flimsy basis of protecting children. It was pure animus.

The library display was not in any way sexual. It was a collection of books by openly gay authors on a variety of topics. Rhonda Storms didn't have to present any substantive evidence to this because most people jump the same conclusion--anything gay must automatically deal with sex.

How does one talk about homosexuality with their kids? I would imagine the same way they talk about bestiality. But of course they don't do they? And yet they take their kids to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast and not once have to explain how these two people can be in love. When kids see a heterosexual couple walking hand in hand do parents immediately begin discussing sex? Heck no. It's enough to tell kids that those people are in love. If someone is really blind to sexual orientation, that should be the first and only thing that comes to mind--Love.

Anonymous 8:53:

Most of us militant homosexuals actually vote on a spread of issues. We pay taxes, homeowners insurance, have kids in schools, and do all the same things heterosexuals do. So no, we're not one-issue voters. On the other hand, given that we are also not equal citizens in this country, do you think civil rights issues might be high on our list? In a race where the previous commission struck out against us, don't you think this might be a good time to bring up the mean-spirited and homophobic politicians we're trying to replace?

I may be foolish, but I'm assuming my straight neighbors will support me and vote for the best candidate that will represent more than just the other straight people in the area.

I'd sure hate to vote for someone that would refuse to re-vote on the gay pride issue because it's a "diversion" or because they are "indifferent" to the civil rights of people unlike themselves.

Anonymous said...

As a gay couple that have been in a committed relationship for many years, I feel that the reason most people (traditionally Republicans) are threatened by Civil Unions has nothing to do with moral values, but instead taxes. For many years, people have tried to down play the actual true number of the gay population. I think they are finally realizing how many gays and lesbians are out there. I feel that they are afraid that if these civil unions were recognized that would be a huge loss to the national tax base. It is a well know fact that gays typically have high incomes, thus pay a higher tax rate with little deductions. If unions are legalized, there would have to be a tax break for gay couples that fit within the criteria set. I think they are spooked as to how to make up for the loss in revenue to support their frivolous spending.

Anonymous said...

Actually, recognized civil unions would be taxed at the married rate which results in the "marriage penalty" for two-income households and thus more tax revenue.

Anonymous said...


You can *say* that the display was nonsexual, but just exactly what it is that makes gays and lesbians different from straight people? Their taste in clothes and furniture? No, it's who they decide to sleep with. I would be uncomfortable trying to explain polyamory to children and wouldn't want "poly pride" displays in the library either.

And your pick of Beauty and the Beast to illustrate bestiality is unfortunate, since the Beast turned back into a human prince once the spell caused by his selfishness and cruelty was broken. You might have gone back to actually *watch* the movie before you used it that way.

And for the record, when kids see a heterosexual couple walking hand in hand the odds are decent that they *will* ask about sex. I was driving my daughters home from preschool one day and one of them asked me (right in the middle of an intersection) "Daddy, how did you plant the seed in Mommy so we could grow?". After I got my truck back under control I told her it was a special kind of hugging that mommies and daddies do.

But that's beside the point.

luckytop said...

I guarantee you that there are MANY more books that include "sexual" subject matter in the library that are written by straight authors than there are by gay authors. Regarding parents not wanting to explain what gay means to their children, that is a direct reflection of the parents' own inability to be accepting of those who are different from themselves. The parents who are able to comfortably explain what gay is to their children are the parents whose children will not grow up to be homophobic.

jaded1 said...

Absolutely, 10:07. Well said.

Anonymous said...

If you think the library has sexually explicit material, try turning on your TV. Children ask questions because they are curious. The answers should be age-appropriate. When they're 2 years old an answer such as "I got the baby in my tummy because Daddy planted a baby seed" is very appropriate. When they are 10 they ask more indepth questions and, for us, the parents, the answers get more uncomfortable. But, the kids will get the answers from you or from TV or from their friends.

When your child sees a gay couple or asked what "gay" means, tell them its tywo people of the same sex who love each other. Its simple. Why do we have to insist every one is the same?

Anonymous said...

The "gay issue"

As long as I pay taxes to support the library and as long as there are black history, women's history, hispanic heritage displays, etc. I should be able to see gay pride displays (for the morons out there gay does not equal sexual).

All politics are local. local government has the power and the moral duty to say no to discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. It exists in Tampa. It existed once upon a time in Hillsborough County before Rhonda and friends took over.

As to gay marriage. When every heterosexual person has to go door to door asking permission to marry, asking permission for favorable tax benefits, favorable legal benefits, etc. Then the issue of gay marriage will go away.

Funny how those with privilege can be so blind to those who don't share their status!