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Candidate's stance unclear

For two weeks, mayoral candidate Frank Sanchez has been asked about his stance on Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's refusal to admit women.

By DAVID KARP, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 6, 2003


For two weeks, mayoral candidate Frank Sanchez has been asked about his stance on Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's refusal to admit women.

Even Sanchez concedes his words have been confusing.

At a debate Wednesday night at the University of South Florida, he did not make things clearer.

Sanchez and the other candidates were asked if the city should work with groups that aren't fully integrated.

"I believe it is important for the next mayor to set a very high example," Sanchez said. "Where we have a parade where the city is very involved, we have to have access for everyone."

What did that mean?

After the debate, Sanchez said he meant the event -- the Gasparilla parade route -- would have to be open to everyone.

"I was not talking about the organization," Sanchez said. He wouldn't "insist" that the krewe be open to women.

Of course, the event has been open to everyone for 99 years.

The only controversy has been whether the krewe should be more inclusive.

That issue hasn't been simple for Sanchez to explain.

On Jan. 24, Sanchez answered a question about the krewe by saying, "Discrimination in any form by government, by important social organizations, is debilitating."

Later, after fielding calls from krewe members, he said: "I believe that the krewe and any private organization has the right to establish its own membership criteria."

Sunday, he issued a statement saying he is sticking to his original statement, which he said had never changed.

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