Commissioner John Sims publicly apologized Tuesday night for a racially charged comment he posted on his Facebook page that angered commissioners and residents.
"To those of you who were genuinely offended, I offer my deepest apology," said Sims at Tuesday's workshop meeting. "Rest assured that I will continue to serve our city well and continue to work equally for all people in Cooper City regardless of religion, ethnicity or social status.
The comment Sims posted Nov. 30 read: "Just wanted to let you know ... today I received my 2013 Social Security Stimulus Package. It contained two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, two discount coupons to KFC, an 'Obama Hope & Change' bumper sticker, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my ass and a 'Blame it on Bush' poster for the front yard. The directions were in Spanish. Yours should arrive soon."
Newly elected Mayor Greg Ross made a last-minute decision to add the item to the city's workshop meeting after he received an outpouring of email from outraged residents.
"The residents' phone calls asked me to please ask him to resign or to fire him," said Ross. "I don't have the right to do that. It's the citizens who vote him in and the citizens' right to vote him out."
Ross added that Sims would benefit from "sensitivity training."
Resident Gabriel De Gedeon shared with the commission his family's distaste with Sims' comment.
"Those comments are 100 percent bitter and ignorant," he said. "I'm shocked that those offensive comments were written by a Cooper City commissioner."
Sims said he did not come up with the post on his own; rather, he reposted it from another site.
"The post was done as a humorous commentary," he said. "I deeply regret that I failed to consider that some might find it offensive."
Resident Jimmy Jones, who is the Hollywood assistant police chief, originally brought the comment to the city's attention and requested Sims' resignation last week. Jones said he was open to an apology from the commissioner Tuesday night.
"As a resident in this community since 1999, I want my community served by people who care about everybody in the community," said Jones, who is white.
Christine Timmons, defended Sims, saying he should not be humiliated for exercising his right to free speech.
"Every time a white person opens his mouth, people say, 'Oh, he's a racist,'" said Timmons, who is black. "He can say what he wants to say. He's got a right to free speech like anyone else."
The mayor and commissioners said they do not condone Sims' comment and apologized to the city's residents.
"The comment was vile, offensive — it reminds me of a Neanderthal comment because it's very backward. It was not in good taste," said Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi. "But I accept his apology and we're going to move forward."
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