Trantalis Victorious in Dolphin Elections 
     Insurgents Defeat Board’s Nominations ~ New Dolphin President 
     by Gerald Joseph 

Following a year of turmoil, the Dolphin Democratic Club elected new officers on Wednesday, February 9, and insurgent candidates swept to victory. In a room filled with tension thick enough to cut with a Ruth Chris steak knife, Dean Trantalis won election as the club’s new President. The results were greeted by a cheering crowd.

By over a 2-1 margin, 57 votes to 25, prominent local attorney Dean Trantalis defeated incumbent Tony Espaillat. The Nominating Committee of the Dolphin board had recommended Espaillat for election. He had been finishing the term of William Salicco, who had resigned the seat earlier in the year to run for the District Four City Commission seat in Fort Lauderdale. Salicco, however, was trounced in the citywide elections the day before, receiving only 10% of the popular vote.

Nominated from the floor for the Vice Presidency of the Dolphins was Paul Jaworski, who went on to defeat Board-nominated Michael Albetta, in a much closer contest. He garnered 46 votes to Albetta’s 36. Declared Scoop political columnist Shane Gunderson, himself a former Dolphin president, "It’s obvious that the Board was seeking a change of direction and leadership." Gunderson, whose column appears weekly in Scoop Magazine, had previously written that Salicco was a "laughing-stock candidate" who had "used the office of the Dolphin presidency to advance his own political career."

Even the slate of proposed officers for the Board of Directors was contested, and the list of eleven winners was headed by top vote getter of the evening, Lori Glasser, who gained 58 votes. She was followed by Perry Johnson with 56, Robin Bodiford,55; George Hunker, 52; Diane Arnold, 52; Emil Tyrkas, 49; Gail Scolamiero, 48; Jeffrey Demontmoreny,45; Mitchell Weisbrot, 44; Joan Fleischman, 43; and Gretchen Hasselkus, 43. The remaining candidates who did not prevail included Rich Rubin, Bill Rettinger, Bob Kerwick, Jaclyn Tucker, and John Connor.

Re-elected as Secretary and Treasurer were, respectively, Mark Dickerman and Kevin Swogger, who both ran unopposed. Dickerman commented that he was "impressed by the way everyone treated each other; the elections were conducted with a lot of dignity..." Initially, the meeting room was clearly tense as the Board nominated slate fought for its survival. Supporters for Trantalis and Espaillat lined up on separate sides of the room "like a wedding party," one participant commented.

Over the past year, City Link newsmagazine had exposed weaknesses in the Dolphin organizational structure as well as personality conflicts that diminished the group’s status in the community. Questions had been raised over Salicco’s use of office stationery to promote personal positions as well as over the group’s efficacy.

Dean Trantalis, 46, has a distinguished record of achievement in the gay community. A graduate of the Stetson Universtiy School of Law, he served as the Chair of the United Citizens for Human Rights in the early 90’s. Trantalis later formed BUAD, Broward United Against Discrimination. BUAD was instrumental in opposing American Family Association initiatives objecting to the passage of gay rights laws. 

In 1995, Trantalis served as Co-chair of the Americans For Equality, which engineered the successful drive to enact the Broward County Human Rights Ordinance, and later prevented its repeal. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Dolphin Democratic club for the past five years.

Upon his election, Trantalis said: "It is a time to move forward and not look back. The energy in the room was refreshing, vibrant. The club has missed it for many months.

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