When he was just fourteen years old, Michael Weinstein joined a “group of activists occupying” a New York high-rise development. Weinstein and friends were opposed to the gentrification of their Brooklyn neighborhoods. Flash-forward fifty years to find the same Michael Weinstein declaring war on Fort Lauderdale residents opposed to his sixteen story building filled with nearly 700 “micro units.” On Tuesday, Weinstein, the CEO of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), held a press conference to blunt growing criticism of his pet project in Fort Lauderdale.
The damage control press conference was a disaster. Michael Weinstein repeatedly interrupted members of the media and the public who dared to ask questions. Weinstein repeatedly threatened to shut down the event if people kept asking questions. He even threatened to “count to five” if this reporter asked a follow up question.
Instead of forging a compromise, Weinstein declared war on the residents of Fort Lauderdale. Weinstein said, “We are as capable of waging a fight as anyone because People living with AIDS have face more discrimination and more hate than any other group.”
When asked about putting the project in a less residential area, a snarky Weinstein said, “Further from Rio Vista, is that what you’re saying? Further from the wealthy communities?”
FROM COMMUNIST LEADER TO CEO
The class warfare lingo used at the AHF press conference is nothing new for Michael Weinstein. According to an April 2017 exposé in the New York Times Magazine, Michael Weinstein’s an “ex-Trotskyite” who founded one of California’s first gay communist organizations. After his move to Los Angeles in 1972, Weinstein started the “Lavender And Red Union.” In 1977, a socialist newspaper reported the Lavender And Red Union, “a self-proclaimed “communist’ gay liberation group…recently embarked upon a cautious ideological turn toward Trotskyism.” The socialist paper said the group’s call for a “permanent revolution” was “a clear break with the Stalinist/Maoist/New Left milieu from which we emerged.”
Months later, the same socialist newspaper claimed Weinstein’s group betrayed the gay liberation movement. According to the report, “About 85 conference attendees witnessed the pitiful and ironic spectacle of the [Lavender And Red Union] majority members vilifying their own gayness and past struggles in order to fuse with the notoriously anti-gay and anti-feminist Spartacist League.”
Weinstein went on to become an editor for “Young Spartacus,” the official newspaper of the Spartacist League. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Young Spartacus produced the typical pro-Communist screeds. Headlines of the Young Spartacus blasted US attempts to undermine the Soviet Union or Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, while other stories praised unions and left-wing political groups.
By the late 1980s, Weinstein’s activism turned to the growing AIDS crisis. According to the NYT Magazine, Weinstein’s AHF, Inc. currently has a $1.4 billion dollar budget equaling the budget of Planned Parenthood.
As he explained in his opening statement on Tuesday, Michael Weinstein sees his Fort Lauderdale project as a “moral issue.” Yet his remarks were filled with the political language of an experienced communist newspaper editor. He said, Will Fort Lauderdale…and these other communities of great wealth, continue to be places that are hospitable to people of low income or will these cities become, in essence, rich ghettos.”
Weinstein said he would continue to oppose development in Los Angeles. He said, “We have been against granting exemptions to luxury development in working class areas.”
Weinstein mocked residents who opposed his project because, “I see cranes everywhere. If the drawbridge goes up as soon as it involves poor people, it doesn’t speak well for the community.” He said, “Why is the luxury building going up? I see them everywhere.”
Despite statements that the development will not exclusively cater to those living with HIV/AIDS, Weinstein tried to paint the opposition as bigots. He repeatedly said residents referred to not wanting “those people” living nearby. Weinstein refused to give specifics.
TWISTED POLITICAL VIEWS
According to activist Peter Staley, a Weinstein critic, AHF’s noble mission to help those with HIV/AIDS is hurt by Weinstein’s political agenda. Staley told the New York Times Magazine, “A.H.F.’s problem is that once it created the largest AIDS empire on the planet, it started using that power for nefarious purposes: Michael Weinstein’s twisted political views.”
Is Michael Weinstein waging class warfare on Fort Lauderdale’s “wealthy” neighborhoods? He openly mocks Rio Vista residents.
Who’s next? Victoria Park? Idelwylde? Coral Ridge?
Will Fort Lauderdale leaders allow Michael Weinstein to morph Fort Lauderdale into Los Angeles or San Francisco?
Did Weinstein discuss his “twisted political views” in his meetings with Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Steve Glassman?