Over the past few years, many accusations of racial discrimination have been leveled against the city. In late January, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced that it had recommended that the Justice Department review hundreds of Fort Lauderdale employee discrimination complaints. Jones, who was the first to bring public attention to the issue in both his reporting in the Times and through the several complaints he's filed, has emerged as a kind of Braveheart among city employees.
Broward County Human Rights Board member Jeff Gorley investigates employees' complaints and reports to the County Commission. "When Elgin first contacted me, I thought this guy has to be crazy, but that's because he so passionately wants to clean up the city. I couldn't believe what he was showing me -- examples of discrimination. But it all was factual." Yet, Jones's reporting about the board hasn't always been so solid. For example, in a November 15 "Around Broward" column, Jones reported that Gorley is "finalizing a resolution to ask for the dismissal of city attorney Dennis Lyles." Gorley says that's not accurate. "I'm considering the request and haven't begun to finalize anything," he clarifies.
Yet Gorley believes Jones is not only an asset to the paper but one of its main selling points. "He's the ultimate insider. The people I talk to who are concerned with what's going on with the city, I don't think want to squabble about what's right journalistically," he says. "People always say to me, "Did you read the Times this week?' Maybe they aren't always accurate, maybe they don't even come close sometimes, but it's getting people to talk. It's generating a buzz."
And that, at least for Broward Times readers, has so far proven itself good enough.