The exchange occurred December 18 between Starkey and Jeff Rubinoff, at the holiday party of the Davie / Cooper Republican Club, of which Rubinoff is chairman. He wanted Starkey to take down an adopt-a-street sign that recognized the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim group attacked by conservatives for ties to Hamas. The sign is near the intersection of College Avenue and Southwest 39th Avenue.
In an email, Starkey told Juice:
The statement he alleged " Jews try to convert everyone". I am stunned by and offended by the comments and written statements such as this made by Jeff Rubinoff and further perpetuated by Joe Kaufman. I would not say such statements that would offend anyone in this way.
There was at no time any "Anti-Semitic rant" made by me. Mr. Rubinoff is a member of the same activist group as Mr. Kaufman. Many statements made by Mr. Kaufman are hateful, prejudice and outright lies. I have had a wonderful opportunity to serve the town's diverse population of 92,000 residents as well as a colleges and university professors and students within the town. I had promoted, supported and voted for a $18 Million dollar bond for which the town co-signed with the Broward Jewish Federation, and Davie JCC and Soref no other city in Broward stepped up to help. I have attended at invitation of my Jewish Community many events and functions. I supported Rabbi Pinny's congregation in the Town of Davie and in fact meet with him and a friend today for guidance on this matter.
We should also note, for the record, that the Jewish faith is not one for proselytizing. In fact, it's a mighty big hassle to convert to Judaism, at least compared to the ease with which you can become a Christian.
In an email yesterday to Starkey, I asked her to characterize her discussion with Rubinoff.
I would describe the holiday conversation on Dec. 18th a little out of the ordinary in the fact that Mr. Rubinoff was upset that Broward County and the Town of Davie had not immediately removed a sign that he and Mr. Kaufman insisted be removed. He demanded answers and I explained that we were looking into the matter. I have since learned that the sign in question is a part of the Broward County "Adopt a Street" Program to clean up litter on the streets and they are handled administratively by the County and Town Staff. No action is required of the County Commission or the Town Council. This is a volunteer program by organizations to pick up litter.
In yesterday's post, I ventured a theory that the rupture between the two Republicans, Starkey and Rubinoff, was an illustration of larger statewide trend of conflict between the party's moderates and its more conservative wing. Starkey's environmental activism would seem to put her among the party's moderates, while Rubinoff's suspicions about CAIR suggests he's in the more conservative crowd. Starkey responded:
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Yes, I am a registered Republican but do not belong to any "clubs". Municipal government is non-partisan. I consider myself a fiscal conservative environmentalist. I believe in strong family values, community, honesty and integrity and treating everyone fairly as I would like to be treated.I have know that both the Republicans and Democrats have divisions with extreme views sometimes on both sides. I prefer to stay involved with my issues within the town that are important to my residents and stay out of the fray, there is more than enough to keep us busy in trying to provide adequate quality services in these tough economic times.
Kaufman, who admits he didn't witness the argument between Starkey and Rubinoff, rejects the idea that it was related to any trends of Republican Party tension. In an email responding to yesterday's post he said:
Mr. Rubinoff's interaction with Councilmember Starkey had absolutely nothing to do with any type of infighting between members of a political party, and it had absolutely nothing to do with any political issues. Rubinoff did what's right, and he should be commended for it.
Your spin has absolutely no basis in fact whatsoever.
So there you have it.