UPDATED: Murzin, United Way “Downtown GetDown” showdownby Dara Kam | September 21st, 2009
Rep. Dave Murzin, a Panhandle Republican who’s in a hot GOP primary against Rep. Greg Evers for state Senate, is holding a fundraiser coinciding with the popular “Downtown GetDowns” on Tallahassee Friday night.
The street parties take place each Friday night before a Florida State University home football game.
But an invitation to the Murzin fundraiser at the Florida Hotel and Restaurant Association in the heart of downtown in the capital city provoked United Way of the Big Bend President Ken Armstrong into calling for a time-out.
The United Way created the “Downtown GetDown” moniker more than a dozen years ago, said Armstrong, and he doesn’t want the public confusing the charitable organization’s event with a political event.
So he asked Murzin’s campaign to remove the “Downtown GetDown” phrase from the e-mailed invitation that went out to dozens of lobbyists and potential donors.
Mark Zubaly, Murzin’s campaign consultant who sent out the e-mail, said that’s not likely because Armstrong can’t prove the charity owns the phrase.
“No, I don’t think I’m going to take it out unless he can provide something,” Zubaly, who owns Southern Campaign Resources, said. “If not, it’s just a small little reception at the Downtown GetDown. If anyone wants to come, come on down and support the team.”
Armstrong was unable to say whether the area United Way has a trademark or copyright on “Downtown GetDown” but insisted that it owns it.
“It’s ours. And even if it weren’t, clearly confusion would be caused,” Armstrong said. “My concern is not about anything legal or any of that stuff. My concern is just that people have a clear understanding. (Murzin’s campaign) can help us with that.”
According to state records, Armstrong has owned the nonprofit “Downtown GetDown Inc.” since 1998.
Armstrong said no other politician has ever co-opted the phrase before.
Advertisements for the street soiree say that it is sponsored by Capital City Bank and the United Way of the Big Bend.