The City Commission of Hallandale Beach recently voted to condemn the language of Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub, who posted anti-Islamic comments on Facebook about Rashida Talib, the recently elected U.S. Congresswoman from Michigan, who is Muslim. Lima-Taub wrote that the Congresswoman might "blow up Capitol Hill" and called her anti-semitic.
Lima-Taub’s comments led to protests at last week’s city commission meeting and a proposed resolution to censor her. Commissioners have received dozens of calls and emails from constituents and many people outside of the community. Commissioner Michelle Lazarow, representing Seat 4, sponsored the resolution to censor Lima-Taub and joined the program to talk about how the controversy has impacted city politics.
Editorial note: WLRN has offered an interview to Commissioner Lima-Taub to defend her comments and provide perspective on the story. We are awaiting her response.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
LAZAROW: So the resolution basically was a formal action that I sponsored and it was co-sponsored by two of my colleagues. It basically stated that the commission as a body... condemned her comments. This was not representative of Hallandale Beach. This is not a reflection on the city as a whole and that we were taking steps to send out that message that we did not support that.
We are limited in our ability to actually remove the commissioner. We have limited abilities and what we can do to actually punish another elected official. Only the governor can do that obviously, but this was a statement that we did not support.
WLRN: I wanted to get a sense of what it would mean to censor another commissioner. What would it actually do?
It would actually not do anything other than send a message that we did not support and that we condemn the comments. It was never to limit her from responding, limit her from talking or removing her from office. It just was a formal action.
Take us to the meeting last week. There were protests outside both [in support] and [in] opposition. What did you see?
In the commission meeting... Commissioner Taub has aligned herself with these right groups, these hate groups. Commissioner Taub is a racist... This is not unique to this particular issue. And these were the groups that showed up to align themselves with Commissioner Taub. Therefore we saw the chambers being packed with her supporters that were very angry... And I had noticed that a lot of the people on the other side in support of the tolerance and condemning those comments were not coming. They were ... leaving. They felt frightened. And let me just say the police did an amazing job. They were right there. But the people were leaving regardless because they felt intimidated.