We spoke by phone with Scott Maxwell just minutes after the PBC Environmental Coalition ended its news conference in Lake Worth this afternoon, where speakers alleged that Maxwell, who is running for City Commission District 1, had ties to racist and white supremacist groups, specifically the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) and local White Nationalist group Stormfront.
When asked about the the coalition's allegations, Maxwell said, "Is there a way to answer this question? It's like the old 'When did you stop beating your wife?' routine? Referring to his alleged association with Stormfront, he said, "I would never knowingly associate with that type of organization. I'm saddened and disappointed that the issues important to the neighborhood are being swept away because those folks choose to talk about something that I have never for a moment brought up in this campaign."
The Environmental Coalition was also behind the recent allegation that Mayoral Candidate Rene Varela was involved in trafficking wild dolphins to Dubai. The rally yesterday afternoon in downtown Lake Worth included activists in support of the Environmental Coalition along with a vocal group holding Maxwell campaign signs. Maxwell's supporters included Greg Rice, a local businessman; gadfly Mary Lindsey, waving a sign that read "Save Downtown: Recall Cara"; and Brandon Lynch, an insurance salesman perched on a bicycle with his son Aiden.
The prepared speeches from the coalition were regularly interrupted by Lindsey, who ran for and lost the District 2 commission seat last year, wielding a megaphone and chanting "Hey hey ho ho, Cara Jennings has got to go!" The reference was to Lake Worth Commissioner Cara Jennings, long a thorn in the side of right-wing neighborhood activists.
"It's a heated argument," said Rice, whose family has lived in Lake Worth since the 1930s, "but most of the information has been obtained from internet blogs, so you don't really know how accurate it is. I'm voting for Maxwell because I think we need some responsible, business-minded people in Lake Worth government. I'm worried that by dredging up these kinds of smear campaigns, we discourage responsible people from running for office. It's commendable that anybody even wants the job."
Coalition supporters who turned out included commissioners Jennings and Suzanne Mulvehill and staff assistant to Congressman Alcee Hastings Dan Liftman. The roster of speakers included Allen Hendricks of Equality Florida and Genia Guerand, a PBCC student of political science.
Guerand noted that her family was from Haiti, and she quoted the Haitian revolutionary battle cry and national motto, ""L'Union Fait la Force."
"In Lake Worth, we value ourselves for being diverse," she said. When asked, Guerand admitted to the Juice that she had in fact never listened to Maxwell's radio program or looked at his website.
Organizers pointed to the fact that Maxwell had shut down his website as proof that he had something to hide from voters. But Maxwell told the Juice that the reason his website was shut down was because it had been repeatedly hacked into, to the point where even he was unable to use it. As for his radio show, he said, he stopped broadcasting when his opponent, Ron Exline, asked him to. "Ron thought that my having my own radio platform was an unfair advantage," Maxwell said. "So out of consideration for his views, I've stopped broadcasting."