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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sons of Italy Bash Florida Chamber



It took nearly a week, but a commercial launched last weekend by the Florida Chamber-backed, pro-Amendment 3 group, Protect Our Constitution, has the anti-defamation unit of the Sons of Italy claiming "egregious stereotyping."

The ad shows several olive skinned men sitting around a poker table smoking cigars bragging how easy its going to be for them to get a citizen initiative onto the ballot and in the Florida Constitution.

"The CSJ (Commission for Social Justice) is non-partisan and has no opinion of the merits of this amendment,”  CSJ National President Albert DeNapoli said in a press release. “However, we take very strong objection to this commercial which is disrespectful and offensive to Florida’s one million Italian Americans.

CSJ said it sent a letter Wednesday to the Florida Chamber asking it to take down the commercial. No word yet from the Chamber, which has heavily bankrolled the campaign to pass Amendment 3, which would require future state constitutional amendments be approved by 60 percent of voters.

UPDATE: The Chamber will be taking the ads down, though its not saying what role the Sons of Italy's criticism played in their campaign strategy. Mark Wilson from the Chamber "had a very nice conversation" with the Sons of Italy leadership Thursday morning, said Christine Fuhrman, spokeswoman for Protect Our Constitution. "As far as we’re concerned, this issue is behind us and she understands that the ad is down and won't reappear." 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:36am]


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