Can mosquito board launch him?
A white separatist who stresses frugality has grand political ambitions and sees the mosquito board election as a starting point.
By THOMAS LAKE
Published April 23, 2006
Airplanes drop clouds of poison over far-flung fields. Helicopters spread bacteria. Boats patrol lakes and ponds, wrecking leafy hideouts, while orange trucks blanket rural roadsides with insecticidal mist.
Pasco County taxpayers spend $4.6-million a year for a full-scale mosquito massacre. But the first man on the ballot for this year's Mosquito Control Board election says another group should fear annihilation:
"We're sitting down and we're waiting to die," said John Ubele, a 28-year-old Shady Hills resident who calls himself a white separatist and has ties to two groups with similar views, the National Alliance and the National Vanguard. "We're waiting to be wiped out."
A stranger who ran into Ubele at a party might never discover his extremism. He is clean-cut and soft-spoken with no visible piercings or tattoos. He repairs windows for a living and likes his pancakes with butter-pecan syrup.
While he may not fit the profile of a political firebrand, Ubele has grand ambitions and a nationwide strategy.
If he can win a seat on the three-member Mosquito Control Board in the Nov. 7 general election - and the competition is stiff, partly because board members get $400 a month for attending just one meeting - Ubele wants to ride his political capital to the County Commission and perhaps the Governor's Mansion after that.
There's more. Ubele is using the Internet to mobilize other white separatists to run for office around the United States.
"Let's make 2006 the year we explode onto the political scene," he wrote on the Web site of the National Vanguard's Tampa chapter. "Every other race has politicians in office which represent their interests. It's time we have politicians to represent ours."
White separatists rail against racial diversity. Immigration policy and affirmative action drive many of their complaints, and some of them want to create a new all-white state.
They are sometimes lumped in with neo-Nazis like the ones on Teak Street outside New Port Richey who are under investigation in connection with a fatal stabbing last month.
But white separatists usually avoid violence and racial epithets, and they are rapidly gaining new followers, said Carol M. Swain, an African-American professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University.
"The danger is, they are tapping into grievances that people already share," said Swain, the author of The New White Nationalism in America. "And that is a little bit of a slippery slope."
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Ubele said his grievance arose 10 years ago, after the riots that started when a white police officer shot a black motorist to death in St. Petersburg. As rocks flew and buildings burned, leaders from a black extremist group called the National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement called for the execution of the mayor and the police chief.
Ubele, who had recently graduated from Gulf High School in New Port Richey, said he believed the people were looking for an excuse to riot. He was further incensed over the name of the Uhuru fitness center, the Uhuru Black Gym of Our Own, because he said it reflected the community's double standard on race.
Ubele joined the National Alliance and made headlines in 2004 when he used a mailing list obtained from the Florida Bar to circulate a letter that offered membership to all white attorneys who were non-Jewish, heterosexual and not addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Today he says he does his best to patronize European-American-owned businesses. He has formed a new white separatist group whose meetings minorities may not attend.
He complains about minorities moving into Pasco County, about Mexicans taking jobs once held by white teenagers, about black claims of discrimination.
"The blacks, they need to get over that," he said. "If they don't like it here that much, they need to go back to Africa."
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Lest anyone think he is doing this for the money, Ubele said that if elected he would move to cut in half the salaries of Mosquito Control board members.
He said frugality, not racism, would guide his decisions on the board. In nine years working for his father's window and door business, Ubele ran revenue streams, helped keep the books and played one vendor off the other for the lowest price. Glass for 42 cents a square foot? How about 40? How about 39?
His friend Bobby Ammon, a 25-year-old Tampa resident, said Ubele keeps a tight budget and rarely buys expensive dinners or name-brand clothes.
"He runs his life," Ammon said, "like a corporation."
But to get on the board, he'll have to get past Rosemary Mastrocolo, a retired nurse running for her fifth term. She estimates nearly 50 people have challenged her over the years. All but one have lost, and even the one who beat her ultimately lost to her in the following election.
"I don't know what he knows about mosquito control," Mastrocolo said of Ubele. "He hasn't gone to any meetings."
There is no telling how Ubele's Eurocentric comrades will fare in other states. Besides David Duke, who won a seat on the Louisiana Legislature in 1989, few candidates with openly pro-white beliefs have been elected in recent years.
That has not dampened Ubele's optimism. Recently, on a discussion board of the white-pride Web site Stormfront.org, a user named Mountain Fox wrote him this message:
"Hello John and other Nationalists: I am off and ruining four the state house of delegates in West Virginia. More to come soon so be watching Stormfront. John you should get in touch with the Nationalist Times and make them aware of your candidacy."
"Thank you for that," Ubele replied with a smiling emoticon, "and I wish you the best."
Thomas Lake can be reached at email@example.com or 727 869-6245.
[Last modified April 23, 2006, 00:50:21]
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