We’ve got a big gay secret and we’re not telling (unless we have just one drink and then maybe we’ll tell you everything)! Gulp! Actually, like most gay secrets we’ve tried to keep – hi, Mom! – the payoff in the end is much less that of slack-jawed surprise than a disappointed smirk of “I already knew that. Don’t burn any bridges, lady.” But, this being Pride week, we thought we’d dress this one up really big and send it flying out of the red boxes underneath the rainbow flags currently flying all over downtown: We have a drag queen running for the Florida Senate! On Sept. 27, Lyndon Stevens – also known as former Orange County Commissioner Linda “Lovelace” Stewart – officially tossed her oversized bedazzled gardening hat into the Senate pool for Florida’s 19th District, the very same seat that droopy-drawers belt peddler Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, is simultaneously exiting so he can run as his own wife Victoria! God, Orlando is gay.
We dutifully yanked at the dusty old string connecting our gossip can to Stewart’s gossip can to get the shocking details. News flash: They aren’t that shocking. Stewart’s been hinting at a “big announcement” ever since her loss in the Orange County mayoral race last year – when not popping up uncomfortably at the Casey Anthony trial and in public flash mob scenarios, that is. (She says her “performance” of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” at this weekend’s pride parade will be her last tug at that tired meme). Stewart plans to make her official announcement at Lake Eola’s Walt Disney Amphitheater on Oct. 7, the day before the parade. If this seems opportunistic coming from a lady who once squawked a duet of “Islands in the Stream” with us at a divey gay bar, it probably is. She says her focus, at least for Pride, will be trying to gather the 1,500 signatures she needs to get on the ballot without paying. Cheap!
Stewart’s fairly amorphous agenda in-cludes jobs, transportation, the environment, restoring agencies axed by the Republicans by “renaming them” and reintroducing them. Also, she loves the gays. “I’m very liberal,” she says.
So far, she has four Democratic opponents including “Mrs.” Siplin, State Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, former State Rep. Curt Levine and some guy named Robert Acosta. As of yet, there are no Republicans, gay or straight, in the race. But even with slightly intriguing chances at gaining higher office, don’t expect Stewart to go changing her wigs, er, stripes.
“I know some people say, ‘Linda, you gotta get dressed up,’” she says. “Linda is Linda. I’m sorry, I can’t be that way. I’m just going to be natural.” Baby, Lyndon was born this way.
Getting off the gay path – well, sort of, anyway – you know that wishing-well-shaped void of urban-planning schizophrenia purportedly known as the Creative Village? Well, it turns out that all of those space-age plans for a monorail future full of think tanks and neon dreams may turn out to be more like cuffed skinny jeans on a fixie, to hear Rollins College tell it. A couple of weeks back, the school posted an article on its website titled “Civic urbanism students bring Portland design ideas back to Orlando’s Creative Village.” Uh-oh. The Creative Village is going to be Portlando™?
“Portland is such an excellent laboratory for urban-planning studies,” Rollins Environmental Studies professor Bruce Stephenson told his own school’s news source. “Over the last 20 years, its vacant downtown industrial areas have been redeveloped and revitalized resulting in urban spaces that continue to win awards for sustainability.”
Stephenson took 12 of his students – and Creative Village developer Craig Ustler – to the hipster mecca in order to pick their clockwork minds for ideas on what to do with the 60 acres of old Centroplex property that has yet to be demolished. Free labor! Totally unexpectedly, the kids came back saying things about the “Portland way of thinking.”Like any wise professor, Stephenson gleefully responded to the resulting presentation of manic-depressive doodlings of faux-European piazzas by his students, saying, “They did a far better job that [sic] I could have done.” Ustler, meanwhile, was apparently “blown away.” We, meanwhile, remain dubious about this multimillion-dollar class project, except for the fact that after six years of typing “Creative Village” with our eyes in the back of our head, we can now simply shorthand it to something more meaningful. Welcome to Portlando!
Remember Commander X? He was the guy who took credit for this past summer’s cyber attacks on websites (often loosely) affiliated with the city of Orlando. On one occasion, this “hacktivism” campaigncompelled the webpage of Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride to spit out, again and again: “BOYCOTT ORLANDO – FnB #OpOrlando.” As the X-Man made clear, this was in retribution for the arrests of those sharing food with the homeless in violation of the city’s Large Group Feeding ordinance. “Your recent arrest of Food Not Bombs activists is the line in the sand,” he wrote to the city government, whose webpage emerged unscathed.
As it turns out, a man alleged to be the Commander was indicted in California on Sept. 21 on three counts involving “intentional damage to a protected computer.” It’s a slightly stale piece of news, but keep in mind that Orlando police announced the Sept. 22 arrest a full week after it occurred. The delay is a bit ironic, considering that Terminator, cough, Commander X – reportedly known in real-space as 47-year-old Christopher Doyon – earned notoriety by making informational websites run extremely slowly. Adding to the irony, Doyon is considered to be a homeless man, doing his damage not from home, but from various coffee shops – that is, when he wasn’t living in a “camp” in Mountain View, Calif.
Are we unduly connecting Doyon to a nefarious nickname before he’s had his trial? Doyon’s lawyer, Jay Leiderman, made some squirming remarks to tech-news outlet CNET when posed with that question: “Is he Commander X? At this point we’re not admitting he is Commander X,” Leiderman said. “We are denying that he participated in the attack he is charged with participating in.” Doyon was arrested for alleged attacks on the website of Santa Cruz, Calif., a city where demonstrators were intentionally violating a ban on outdoor sleeping last December. Sound familiar?(According to OPD, the Orlando attacks are still being investigated.)
Commander X obviously savored the glory of being the bad guy for whom we could all cheer, and hence, talked freely with the media. When we landed an email interview with X for a Bloggytown entry on June 21, we felt like we had gotten a scoop with an elusive, mysterious figure. “What we do online is no different than taking up seats at the Woolworths lunch counter,” he wrote, justifying his “DDoS” attacks. But the excitement faded after we realized that X was a politician first and a hacker second – that exact line was also given in an on-camera interview with CBS News, in which he donned sunglasses, a bucket hat and wrapped a bandana around his face to speak with an artificially deepened voice. If you didn’t hear it on CBS, you may have on Democracy Now. “Amy Goodman is my hero, getting to chat with her on air was the most amazing honor,” he wrote on his Vimeo page. Hero, yes, but who was his idol? “The World Through Sunglasses – Quotes By Commander X,” a lonely post by Commander X on the PLF Member Network website, gives us a pretty strong clue.
And the unsolicited details didn’t stop with ideology – it went well into the realm of the personal, epitomized by a blast email on Sept. 11 that spoon-fed investigators clues to a real-world identity. The message was probably the least worthy manifesto in the history of risky political writing: a tired polemic about where he was and how he felt on 9/11, and what he learned from it. “I make this statement at great risk to my life and liberty. It could well be used … by the FBI and other police agencies. But on this day, when 3,000 innocent people were slaughtered in a matter of hours – I can not, and will not, remain silent. My heart still aches from that fateful day, and I must speak out.” The result? A bored audience, and up to five years in prison. Silence is golden.
 - 2011.09.21 -- Doyon (Commander X) Indictment