POINCIANA – It was last Friday, Tony Ferentinos said, when a political postcard arrived at his home, addressed to his wife. It was about the candidate that Ferentinos is running against in the race for the Osceola County commission, and it describes fellow Republican Jeff Goldmacher as a nudist and an atheist.
Two things stand out about the postcard, Ferentinos said. First, he had nothing to do with creating it or mailing it out – and second, he agrees with the content.
“I first saw it last Friday. It came to my house addressed to my wife,” Ferentinos said. The photos of naked men on the postcard – with the face edited out – were certainly dramatic, he added.
“Whether those are pictures of him, I don’t know and I don’t want to know or I’ll need therapy,” Ferentinos said.
But the postcard’s claims about Goldmacher, who lives at the Cypress Cove Resort and Spa in Poinciana, are right on target, Ferentinos said.
“Is he a nudist? Damn right he is,” Ferentinos said. “Is he an atheist? Damn right he’s an atheist. He’s told everyone he’s an agnostic. I looked it up.”
An atheist is generally considered to be someone who rejects a belief in a higher deity. An agnostic is usually viewed as one who thinks the existence of a God is unknown, and perhaps will never be known.
Either way, Ferentinos said, his opponent is a non-believer, and voters have a right to know that.
“He’s running as a Republican conservative? What’s wrong with that picture?” Ferentinos said.
Goldmacher, though, responded that Ferentinos almost certainly passed on these false allegations to a political action committee known as With Women We Win, which is out of Brevard County – and that the postcards are a sign of a desperate and politically bankrupt campaign.
“This group out of Brevard County is leading this, and the only way a Brevard County group knows this stuff is because Tony Ferentinos told them about this,” Goldmacher said. “I’m focusing on my community and my campaign. I don’t have time to get into the gutter to try to win a campaign.”
Besides, Goldmacher said, he’s Jewish and not an atheist.
“I have never in my entire 56 years on this Earth ever said to anybody that I am an atheist,” Goldmacher said. “He’s making that up. If you look as this, he’s the one who’s been pointing fingers at me. I am not an agnostic or atheist. I am Jewish. I just don’t belong to a Temple.”
The postcard controversy has injected some last minute drama into the campaign for Osceola County’s District 3 commission seat, which is currently held by Democrat Brandon Arrington.
Arrington is being challenged by Marta Moczó-Santiago in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary, while Ferentinos, Goldmacher and Ivan Rivera are seeking the Republican nomination. The winners of the two primaries advance to the November general election.
Goldmacher has been speaking out about this since last week, wen he first saw the anti-Goldmacher postcard that reads, Vote for Decency, Don’t Vote for Jeff Goldmacher because he’s a nudist and an atheist.
The postcard includes photos of naked men, which Goldmacher has said are not of him. He blames the nudist allegation on the fact that he lives at the Cypress Cove, which is a clothing optional resort. He insisted this is a non-issue by a desperate opponent with nothing to run on.
“I’ll ask anybody, go to my Web site and look at my platform and compare it to his platform,” Goldmacher said. “What has he come out and said in his platform? He has no platform. That’s why these groups associated with him are attacking me on a non-issue. I have kept my campaign clean. He cannot say the same thing.”
Ferentinos fired back, saying the allegations in the postcard are true, but the claim that he was involved in mailing it are not.
“I wish he’d stop pointing fingers,” Ferentinos said. “I’m getting tired of his accusations. I never heard of this PAC (political action committee). I don’t know who they are. And where do I have the money to do this? He’s not only an atheist, he’s not only a nudist, he’s also a storyteller. I don’t want to say ‘liar.’ ”
Ferentinos insisted that he was the only one with a genuine platform, such as his plan to build a multi-use civic center in Poinciana. Goldmacher, he said, has nothing to run on.
“Have you gone on his Web site to read his platform? It’s a joke,” Ferentinos said. “There is nothing there. When you finish reading it, you say to yourself, ‘What did I just read?’ I want to debate the guy, but he’s walked away from debates. Let’s answer the questions. Issue for issue, he doesn’t have a platform and he doesn’t even know why he’s running.”
As for the postcard, Ferentinos said it made him chuckle.
“I’m sorry but when I saw it, I started laughing,” Ferrentino said. “I thought it was funny. I truly believe if he had been up front with the voters of Osecola County, he wouldn’t be in this spot today. Everybody is entitled to believe what they want, but if you’re running for office, be forthright, and tell the people who you are and what you are.”
Cypress Cove, he said, is a nudist camp where adults parade around naked – even in front of children, Ferentinos insisted.
“This ‘clothing optional’ bullcrap is just that – bullcrap,” he said.
As for With Women We Win, Ferentinos said he’s not familiar with the group, but added, “I just assume they’re interested in decency and honesty and morality. I’m glad the women’s group did it, I really am. God bless them. They came out with the truth. Nothing in those fliers is not the truth.”
Goldmacher said since the postcard came out, he’s gotten calls from local residents who are outraged by it, and consider it a dirty form of campaign mudslinging. He predicts it will backfire.
“I think it will have a minor impact,” he said. “There are going to be some people who just believe it. But there will be other people who know me — and know him, and know his baggage — and know this is not me.”
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