Sunday, June 04, 2006

Jim Naugle not backing down.

Florida: Why? he is loving all the attention and I am amazed he has sticked to his guns this long. I guess term limits are liberating.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Mayor Jim Naugle doesn't mind being called "selfish," "asinine," "callous," and "out of touch" for saying that homes are affordable in his city to buyers willing to expect less and work more. He said he doesn't mind spending political capital to counter what he says is a media-concocted community "crisis" over affordable housing. Naugle wants to defeat a proposed city law, on the City Commission table again Tuesday, that would force residential developers to sell or rent new housing at artificially low prices, or kick money into a kitty that middle-class buyers could use to buy or rent homes. In the past two weeks since his comments were published, Naugle wrote e-mails defending and expanding on his views, to critics and supporters alike, that Fort Lauderdale's affordable housing crisis only applies to people sticking to a 40-hour workweek and coveting a single-family home.
Michael Mayo will be depressed the Lenin-Sentinel Press got nowhere with Naugle.
Naugle told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in the past week that Fort Lauderdale's housing market will likely "de-select the 40-hour folks" and single people because of high prices, "and we're going to have more families." In part, that's because home prices have quickly outpaced salary increases in recent years. A city-funded study found that Fort Lauderdale will need anywhere from 1,889 to 6,422 more "affordable" housing units by 2020, depending on how much the population grows. The city's definition of affordable right now is $253,652. But Naugle said there's no reason to tinker with the market. Fort Lauderdale has more multi-family homes, like apartments or triplexes or condos, than single-family homes, he said in his e-mails. The median price for a condo was only $202,000 in March, he noted. "In my city," Naugle told one e-mailer, "we have plenty of housing available at a good price." In his eighth and final elected term, Naugle finds himself with a rapt audience for the ideas he has espoused for years. "I have received some criticism and much praise," the mayor responded to one writer. "I also do not think it is a crisis, though the media wants us to think it is. Most people are onto the media these days and don't believe much of what they read." .... According to Naugle, that means people who can afford homes because they work two or three jobs would be paying higher prices to prop up people who clock out after 40 hours. "What I said was, `why should a guy that is working 60 hours a week pay more, so that some schlock working 40 and sitting on the sofa drinking beer can pay less?'" Naugle wrote in an e-mail Saturday to an out-of-town critic, re-stating his most inflammatory published comment. "I stand by my comments. It is not fair and is not American." Naugle wrote to one person that "socialism is alive in America and in my view needs to be defeated." To a Parkland woman who asked him to apologize, Naugle wrote that "the key to happiness" is finding a job you love, and then "40 hours is not enough, because your job becomes your joy. Try it!" Among the e-mail attacks were outpourings of praise for the conservative, registered Democrat's comments. Local resident Mike Ferber likened the proposed law to "moral cannibalism," saying in his e-mail that it gives "unearned rewards" to some, and "unrewarded burdens" to others. Another thanked him for his "straight-talk," writing that "as an immigrant who came here with nothing 15 years ago, and just moved into a million dollar home, I firmly believe that I should live where I can afford and no one has a duty to give me anything." Even national radio-show host and conservative hero Rush Limbaugh featured Naugle's views on a recent show. "That's a big deal to me," Naugle said this week, "because I look up to him."

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