February 19, 2013 4:53 pm
CHAZ STEVENS --
Chaz Stevens Q & A: Poitier, His Work And How He Got His Name
BY BUDDY NEVINS
Blogger Timothy “Chaz Stevens has been labeled profane. He’s been branded biased. He’s accused of being a shameless self-promoter.
Whatever you think of Stevens, he is unique. No one has shaken up a local City Hall in recent years like this phantom of the Internet.
He did it himself without some media company behind him. He calls himself “a private citizen working with very modest resources and from a tiny office not much bigger than a broom closet.”
Stevens got results again Wednesday. Deerfield Beach was rocked by the arrest of a city commissioner who was a perennial target of Stevens Commissioner Sylvia Poitier.
It was Stevens’ writing that triggered the inquiries into Poitier, a former county commissioner and long-time power in the black community.
Who is Chaz Stevens?
Here are 10 questions I put to him and his answers:
(1) What started you writing My Acts of Sedation?
My Acts of Sedition. Though, at times, folks are probably sedated.
Four years ago, in preparation for writing a book, I wanted to improve my writing abilities. In my professional career (software developer), I know the best way to learn a new skill is to have a project. So I matched my love of Deerfield, a long standing interest in politics, and my desire to become a better writer.
From that, MAOS was born.
(2) When did you realize that there were problems in Deerfield Beach City Hall? Did you try to talk to officials and tell them about the problems before writing them on the Internet?
The former City Manager of Deerfield Beach, Mike Mahaney, who by the way was a close family friend, termed me “radioactive”. To say that I was unwelcomed would be an understatement. Therefore, I was forced to affect my changes remotely.
(3) How long have you been trying to clean up City Hall?
My first letter to the Editor, complaining about (then) Commissioner Peggy Noland was written in 2001. MAOS was launched in 2007.
(4) How did Poitier pop up on your radar? She wasn’t your initial target, right?
After filing the complaints against Gonot and Capellini*, I didn’t have to look very far for another corrupt politician. In 2008, the various elected officials in Deerfield Beach offered quite a target rich environment.
(5) Poitier is black, an icon in the black community and a grandmother. Did that ever cause you to hold back, lessen or pause in your criticism?
As a grandmother, she should be ashamed of the example she is setting for the child of Deerfield Beach. Regardless of their color. She might be an icon, but her legacy will be one of a politician arrested for political corruption. It is never my style to hold back – fixed bayonets, damn the torpedoes, all that jazz.
(6) Have you been accused of being anti-black? To your face? By e-mail?
The race card is played quite often in Deerfield Beach. Mainly by those who seem to be under criminal investigation. I am a long standing member of the NAACP. That means I am either the world’s most conflicted racist or, in my case, a person that doesn’t judge a man by the color of his skin or the cut of his suit.
(7) Do you feel elated today? Are you optimistic that Deerfield Beach is on a new path? Do you believe a person like you is needed in every community?
I came. I saw. And I really kicked her ass. Bob Norman incorrectly wrote that my journey to bring Poitier to justice was a several months long affair. Her arrest today started with a complaint that I filed in June, 2009.
Is Deerfield Beach on a new path? We now have hope… With our great City Manager, maybe for the first time in a long time we can unjam ourselves from the quagmire that’s bogged us down for the last decade.
A person like me? Buddy, what I do is nuts. I have endured threats of physical violence, worried about lawsuits, I often have the police parked outside my house. Just this week, my dog was poisoned. To go against the Establishment, especially the Black Establishment is not for the meek of heart.
However, in Deerfield Beach, I am the thin line protecting 76,000 people from corrupt political officials. I just wish the pay was better.
(8) Do you believe your inflammatory style and language cause people to dismiss you, not to treat you seriously?
I never ever once worried about what others think of me. Not once. There is a gentleman in Hallandale Beach, an activist by the name of Mike Butler. He’s a wonderful individual — polite, refined, and polished. Butler is often ignored. So, it seems that folks that hate the message attempt to cloud the issue by pointing out the particulars of the messenger.
Buddy, they might not like me, but they certainly read what I write. My blog had over 400,000 visitors last year. The SAO takes me seriously – just ask Gonot, Capellini, and now Poitier. The Federal Government takes me seriously:
As for the media’s role, your blog activity and e-mails … were very helpful in uncovering some of the activities that were cited in the report.
– Armando Fana, South Florida Regional Director, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
To those that don’t like me, I say good, the feeling is mutual. Oh, and they can eat me. Stupid fucks. I hope you quote me here.
(9) If you want to say anything about your personal life, this is your chance. Totally your call. Age? Interests other than writing? Were you involved in politics or fighting corruption or computers at an early age? Write whatever you wish about you, Chaz Stevens.
Let’s talk about what really matters to me. For 20 years, I have been involved with Amnesty International — in particular, I am involved with promoting awareness to the problem of violence directed against women and children. To that cause, every single penny I have ever earned from MAOS has been donated to Women In Distress. Unfortunately, there are lots of women and children in this world who desperately need a helping hand, and I do what I can to help out.
(10) How did you get the nickname Chaz?
Chaz. A nickname given to me 25 years ago by an extraordinarily cute blond who was very naked at the time. Her hiney could have ignited a war back in the middle ages.•••
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