Jim Naugle Takes His Shot
Recently received this e-mail via New Times from Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle about my column on Buddy Nevins’ conversion to the GOP:
Bob Normans attack on Conservative Columist [sic]
Bob left out the most glaring example of political activity by a reporter over at the Sun-Sentinel. City reporter Brittany Wallman wrote most of the campaign material for Mayoral Candidate Dan Lewis in the recent city election. Gosh Bob, how could you leave out Brittany?
Ah, this is Mayor Jim at his rascally best. Let’s break down this little communiqué. First, in the subject line, Naugle, who is perhaps the most Republican Democrat in America, takes a jab at me for liberal bias. Then he comes an uppercut, when he accuses me of failing to expose the “political activity” of Sentinel reporter Brittany Wallman, who wrote "campaign material" for Naugle’s opponent, Dan Lewis. Then he asks sarcastically how I could “leave out Brittany,” whom he knows is my own long-suffering wife.
Now for some reality. During the past six years, Wallman has been pointing out the mayor’s mistakes, which have been many. That would be the nature of her job, of course. When Lewis, who is nothing if not a resourceful politico, went up against Naugle, he culled just about every negative story Wallman and others had done and laid them out in his “Campaign Insider” e-mailers. One example cited by Lewis:
"Naugle Known as Hot-Tempered, Treating City Employees Abusively. 'Mayor Jim Naugle has always been popular in this city, except with some of the people who know him best,' wrote the Sun-Sentinel in February 2003. 'City employees say Naugle's reputation for being a friendly, folksy guy ends at City Hall's eighth-floor commission offices, where he is demanding and hot tempered. His public comments criticizing employees... haven't been taken kindly.' [Sun-Sentinel, 2/4/03]"
It was an interesting story that brought City Hall to life and it was one of a long list of blurbs Lewis, whom Wallman has also exposed in print, put in the "Campaign Insider."
So how did Wallman react to Naugle's e-mail? Would she comment for the Pulp? Well, she generally supports me and my efforts, but she’s not exactly thrilled (to put it lightly) that I’m a regular critic of her newspaper. And she happens to be one of the most loyal employees the Tribune Company has. I’m sure her bosses realize that, but I still worry that my Pulp and New Times work might adversely affect her.
Naugle knew he was hitting a soft spot. When I asked her about the mayor's e-mail, she said, “I just saw a movie where a guy said, ‘What kind of sycophant are you?’ And the other guy answered, ‘Well, what kind of sycophant do you want me to be?’ I guess that’s what Naugle wants me to be like.”
She allowed me to quote her on that, but nothing else. It was enough.