Baker action: Opponents of former mayor Rick Baker sound off on his equality record

By : Samuel Johnson
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ST. PETERSBURG – We will go forward; we’ve come too far to go back. This was the overarching sentiment of some 20 LGBTQ advocates at a press conference in Saint Petersburg May 11. They gathered on the front steps of City Hall to voice their concerns about ex-St. Pete mayor, Rick Baker, and his announcement that he is entering the city’s mayoral race for this year.

Ed Lally is a St. Pete resident who works with Equality Florida. He was on hand for the event, brandishing a “Rick Baker Never” sign. Lally didn’t mince words in his assessment of Baker. “He’s not a man for equality for the whole community. I don’t trust the guy and would never vote for him. … His prior actions with the LGBT community would rate a big fat F,” he says.

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The gloves come off as the race for District 70 gets closer

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG – The candidates are upping their attacks as the Democratic primary for District 70 gets closer.

St. Petersburg business owner, and openly gay candidate, Dan Fiorini has called Tampa Bay area lawyer CJ Czaia out for hiring Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter as a campaign consultant.

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Glee’s ‘Unique’ to perform at St. Pete Pride

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg As a near capacity crowd at Enigma night club watched the television screens, it was revealed that St. Pete Pride’s big-name entertainer for 2015 is Alex Newell, who played “Unique” on the FOX hit Glee.

The transgender character was a first for the show, which was recognized throughout its run for promoting diversity among LGBT students and the overall community.

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St. Pete Pride reveals grand marshal nominees

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – For the fourth year in a row, St. Pete Pride is asking the community of Tampa Bay to select its grand marshals. On March 8, the organization revealed its 2015 nominees and the community has until March 27 to make their selections.

Those nominees are selected by the board of St. Pete Pride and each has made significant contributions toward LGBT rights in Tampa Bay and in the state.

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Amy Foster, Darden Rice win Primary, both head to general election

By : Staff Report
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With nearly all precincts reporting, out St. Pete City Council candidates Amy Foster and Darden Rice trounced their opponents in the primary election on Aug. 27 and will move on to the Nov. 5 general election in their respective districts.

Early results in the District 4 council race showed Rice leading the pack with almost 46% of the votes, followed by Carolyn Fries with nearly 27%, Dr. David McKalip with 24%, and Richard Eldridge with almost 5%. If the numbers hold true, Rice will face Fries in November’s general election.

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8.15.13 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_758976908I could have easily changed a regrettable moment in my past by simply commenting on a specific style of shoe. But because of surprise, or maybe a sheer lack of balls, I remained silent and have been embarrassed by my inaction ever since.

The cover of this issue of Watermark, featuring the incredibly talented Jami Gee, brought back a vivid memory from inside a St. Petersburg Payless Shoe store.

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Democratic leaders converge on Key West

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More than 120 LGBT Democratic activists, elected officials, and candidates representing all 13 of the Caucus’ chapters headed down to the Summer Conference of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus in Key West last month. The conference was hosted locally by the Lambda Democrats of Key West, and Central Florida sent a delegation from the Rainbow Democratic Club of Orange County, the Hillsborough GLBTA Democratic Caucus, and the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County. 

Several Key West officials welcomed the group, including Rep. Ron Saunders, the incoming Democratic leader of the Florida House, as well as a slate of openly-gay elected officials including Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, Key West City Commissioner Teri Johnston, and Key West Police Chief Donnie Lee.

The morning session featured Democratic candidates running for statewide office, including openly-gay U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Burns, Attorney General candidate Dan Gelber and Florida Agricultural Commissioner candidate Eric Draper. Florida CFO and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink joined the proceedings via conference call, reiterating her support of LGBT issues. 

Subsequent sessions featured the following highlights: Terry Flemming and Cathy James from Organizations United Together (OUT) revealed their goal of creating a single bureau that can be used to keep all statewide groups and organizations informed on issues affecting the LGBT community, a phone call from Harvey Milk associate Cleve Jones, who is organizing the October GLBT March on Washington and openly-gay Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who said she believes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act will most likely be addressed in the beginning of 2010. 

Central Florida was recognized as an important participant in the GLBT Caucus.  The Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County, whose president, Rick Boylan, is also secretary of the Florida Democratic Party, will host the winter 2010 conference (dates TBD). Additionally, the Rainbow Democratic Club of Orange County will host the Caucus during the FDP’s Convention in October, as well as host the Caucus’ 2010 Summer Conference.