Florida the rules are different here Chapter LXXXVI
Guess where the town of Loxahatchee Groves is having a candidate forum for upcoming city council races? A nudist colony. Isn't this a great state or what?
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Loxahatchee Groves · For one Town Council candidate, a forum at a nudist resort is more than she can bare.
Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort, a 40-acre nudist resort in Loxahatchee Groves, is hosting a public candidate forum Thursday for the council hopefuls. Its owner, Morley Schloss, said nine of the new town's 10 candidates have confirmed they'll attend.
Schloss, who has owned the 42-year-old resort since 2001 and has been an active member of the Loxahatchee Groves Land Owners Association, said the 100 resort residents want a chance to share their concerns with the candidates.
And while people might be strolling the grounds in the buff, resort General Manager Rebecca Enrico said it's possible no one will be naked at the forum.
"Ninety percent of nudists will not go out of their way to be nude in an environment that might make others uncomfortable," she said. "They don't want to offend anyone."
Still, Seat 1 candidate Toni Vorsteg has opted out, citing both family and religious concerns.
Vorsteg, a catechism teacher at Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church in Royal Palm Beach, has brought her 18-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son to all the candidate forums. She said concerns about bringing her children to the resort combined with concerns about violating a moral oath she signed with her church when she started teaching catechism will keep her away from Thursday's forum. It's the third of four candidate forums in Loxahatchee Groves.
"I just didn't feel comfortable bringing my children there," she said. "It would be opening a dialogue that I wouldn't know how to present to them. I don't take them to nude beaches so why, for the sake of a campaign, would I go somewhere I've never been before?"
Schloss said he doesn't think Vorsteg has to worry about bringing her children. The resort focuses on family activities, forbids overtly sexual behavior, doesn't serve alcohol and is hosting a children's camp in June. A Baptist minister comes out on Sundays to lead services.
"Everything that goes on here is appropriate for children," Schloss said Monday while sitting naked, except for a string of blue beads, at a picnic table. About 15 feet away a small group of children and teens played nude in the pool under a sign reading "Nude bathing only." "Here is the least sexual environment I can imagine."
Other candidates said they had no qualms about speaking to a partially nude audience.
"They've got concerns and I think they should be listened to. We've got an eclectic community with a lot of different characters," Vorsteg's opponent Dave Autrey said. "It's a personal thing and I think people should be careful about passing judgment."
Seat 3 candidate Harold Murphy also said he wasn't squeamish about speaking at the nudist resort.
"It's unusual but they've called for it," he said. "It doesn't bother me either way. I'm not going to go out there and take my clothes off. But I don't see anything wrong with it. Everybody's got their own thing."
Dennis Lipp, a candidate for Seat 5, said his only concern about the forum is how to calm his nerves.
"I've been in public speaking a while. This is new for me," he said. "Normally if I'm nervous I just picture my audience nude. I don't know what I'll do now."
Sandi Reamer has lived at the resort for more than a year with her husband and four kids. She said her children, ages 20, 16, 10 and 4, took to the environment at once.
"I don't understand why people are so concerned about the naked bodies," she said, while some of her kids played in the pool. "It's not what they think. Most people think it's more on the sex issue. But it's not."