Gilbert Gomer won his recent appeal, allowing him to put JEWBAN on his Florida license plate. Gomer, a Miami resident, bought the plate last August by paying the $12 extra fee. But the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles received a complaint from someone who took JEWBAN too literally, as in "ban Jews." The DMV put the plate on administrative hold until Gomer could convince a committee of DMV employees that JEWBAN was actually homage to his ethnicity: Gomer was born in Cuba and his mother is Jewish.
Other vanity-plate owners might be curious as to what they can get away with. The answer is: quite a lot. After a controversy early last year surrounding a tag that read ATHEIST, the DMV set up a six-member committee, made up of DMV employees, that reviews questionable plates. Their decisions are then approved or reversed by Carl Ford, the DMV's director, or another official designated by Ford. Together they decide whether a personalized plate expresses disapproval, dislike, hatred, violence, or is lewd, indecent, disgusting or a slur. If it does, they take it off the streets.
Based on a list of objectionable plates obtained by Orlando Weekly, it appears Ford is more lenient than the committee. For example, neither the committee nor Ford liked BG PIMPN or BGPMPN. But Ford accepted BIG PIMP over the committee's objections.
Other plates that didn't make it onto Florida's highways: 1 HUNG LO, 1 BAD HO, 2BZ2PEE, A55HOLE, ALLBTCH, BADAZZ1, BAGS SUK, BANG EM, BADMOFO, BLU BALS, BOMB, CLT LKR, COMDIVR, CUM N UP, DEZ NUTZ, DMEFUKQ, FAR-TER, FAHHQ, FCOFF, FUK-IT, G8R H8R, H2 SUX, HALS AZZ, I H8 GOD, IDFKME, IH8MYX, ILOVE69, JEW BOY, MAN HO, MDL FNGR, MR-AHOLE, MUF DVR, PHATAZZ, PHUKUAL, R U NKD2, SUXTOBU, TIT OFF, XKILL.
A few plates that Ford and the six-member panel approved: BUTUGLY, F FSU, FCU TONY, FLUX OFF, GOOSMA, HELL YEA, HOGGASM, HOSALE, HT4TCHR, JSUSFRQ, LUCIFER, LUST, TOPLES, UR DOA, UR2 FAT, WE-SWING.
And plates that the committee rejected but Ford approved: 4NAK8U, A69LIK, BADASP, CRNR WKR, CRYN PAZ, DEAD, DOG-STYLE, E Z LAY, G40FUX, GO DOWN, ILV BJ, JAPIII, MR HOLE, PIC PUS, PIMPDUP, PKRHED, ZOSO 69.
The new system used by the DMV is actually much better than the old. Under the old process, a single complaint was sufficient to condemn the use of a personalized plate. "One objection was analogous to a heckler's veto," says Robert Sanchez, a DMV spokesman who sits on the committee. "It was like saying you couldn't have a speaker come to the Waterhouse Centre because one person might object. The committee brings more eyes and different experiences to the process."