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UPDATED: Murzin, United Way “Downtown GetDown” showdown

by 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.

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48 Responses to “UPDATED: Murzin, United Way “Downtown GetDown” showdown”

  1. Annie Oakley Says:

    Wow. Slow news day. And shouldn’t Ken Armstrong be happy that the invitation has the potential to get more people to the area? Or is the United Way not feeling the hurt of the recession?

  2. Heat Packer Says:

    Annie, I think the problem is that the fundraiser DIVERTS people who would have purchased drinks, food, services and products the proceeds of which would have benefited the United Way and its charities toward a politician for political fundraising purposes. While Dave Murzin is pathetic, he is not quite a charity case yet. Or is he?

  3. Dave Murzin Says:

    Wow! Thanks for getting the word out about my Fundraiser!

  4. Annie Oakley Says:

    Heat Packer: That would assume that A) the people (with a boatload of money) that go to the fundraiser on that block for 10 minutes won’t patronize the merchants immediateley afterwards and B) that the average citizen has any idea this is for the United Way since it is usually just called the Downtown Get Down and most people think it is an FSU party and C) that the United Way hasn’t ALREADY made their position clear by obstructing a fundraiser for this guy. The UW clearly must be endorsing his opponent.

  5. No heat, but amused Says:

    Heat Packer – Are you kidding me? Do you live in Tallahassee? Do you honestly think that someone is going to be walking around with a check for the United Way, see Murzin and company on a balcony and scratch out United Way from the “to” portion of the check and instead write in “Dave Murzin.”

    Me thinks me smells the gunpowder on your hands. Go put up some more Evers billboards.

  6. Hammer Time Says:

    Murzin’s personal disrespect and his campaign’s disrespect for the Tallahassee community and United Way are shameful. A simple “I’m so sorry” would have been a classy thing to do — the act of a statesman. Instead we see what he’s really made of.

  7. Murzinator Says:

    Ask Not For Whom The Hammer Tolls……

  8. Barack Obama Says:

    Isn’t United Way like ACORN?

  9. A big Says:

    This is truly pathetic. To use the name of a charitable orgaization to benefit Dave Murzin and his fundraising for his Senate campaign. Typical Dave though to do something like this. He can’t raise money on his own, most people truly don’t care for him, so why not piggy back on to a charity event?

  10. Convert Says:

    To confiscate the name and fundraising opportunities of a charitable cause as venerable as the United Way of the Big Bend is reaching an all-time low. This has inspired me to write two contributions: one very big one to the United Way of the Big Bend and a second one to whomever is running against this idiot Murzin.

  11. Confused??? Says:

    I just read the fundraiser invitation. The United Way is not mentioned. Why is the United Way upset? Do they sponsor this event? If so, I will be rethinking my payroll deduction. I have been to the Downtown Get Down and it is nothing more than a big drinking party. I find it highly inappropriate that the United Way would promote such an event. I thought it was an event held by the restaurant association.

  12. Also confused Says:

    Confused: well, this may be the blind leading the blind, but it appears that the United Way has endorsed Greg Evers but the businesses listed on the fundraiser invitation have endorsed Dave Murzin? But neither of these guys are from Tallahassee so who cares? And why would the United Way get involved in something like this? Not very good judgement on their part. Glad I give my money directly to charity and not to a third party distributor.

  13. No heat, but amused Says:

    United Way – How much money are you getting from the National Rifle Association?

  14. Crystal Clear Says:

    This has NOTHING to do with the United Way and everything to do with a person running for office that has no respect for the United Way as an institution or the rule of law itself. The United Way owns the name “Downtown Getdown.” Dave Murzin stole it for his own political purposes. He has now revealed he really does not care about the rule of law or the United Way or the charities the United Way funds.

    Next thing you know… Murzin will be calling Marion Hammer a liar. Oh…. wait a minute. That was May:

  15. Unwise association Says:

    I have contributed to the UWBB for 5 years via payroll deduction. Each year I have increased my contribution. I have never attended the downtown get down because, frankly its just too dang hot to be outside at this time of year. I also had NO IDEA that the United Way was a participating sponsor of this event. While I don’t condemn all drinking, I do think it is highly irresponsible for the UWBB to be involved with an event that is so largely recognized for partying. Especially given some of the charitable organizations that they have under their umbrella- like Turnabout. How can the UWBB be taken seriously in this case? I will be canceling my payroll deduction and will focus on finding a charitable organiztion that has higher standards.

  16. Annie Oakley Says:

    The United Way owns the name downtown get down? I just googled it and there are pages and pages of cities that have a downtown getdown. And the United Way wasn’t mentioned in any of them. Explain how they “own the name” please? Isn’t that like saying the Republicans own the phrase “fiscal conservative?” Or that the Democrats own the word “hope” or “change”? And there doesn’t seem to be any mention of the United Way in this fundraiser announcement. What on earth is the big deal? Sounds like sour grapes that these guys are having a fundraiser for a candidate that you don’t support.

  17. Facts are facts Says:

    The bottom line here is the fact that you have a candidate that is using something to self-promote and benefit a fundraiser to get him elected, when in fact, the name being splashed across his fundraiser does not belong to him. It is no different than if he had used another name, that he did not ask permission for, in order to further his fundraising. Why didn’t he just ask permission to use the name “Downtown Get Down”? Probably because they would have not let him. A candidate should not falsely use a name for fundraising efforts that they do not own or have permission to use. That is the bottom line.

  18. No lawyer but... Says:

    If the United Way owns the name Downtown Get Down, they must rake in a hell of a lot of royalties from all the cities that use that name.

  19. Panhandle Girl Says:

    Murzin- “Wow! Thanks for getting the word out about my Fundraiser!”

    I think that about says it all. The United Way had the rights to the name and has had the fundraiser for some time, yet Murzin thought it was okay to use it without approval. Furthermore, when the United Way asked for them not use it, wouldn’t the right thing to say have been, “Sure, no problem,” not taking on a charity group.

  20. Next Steps... Says:

    Great news, Dave… You can go on a circuit!!!!! August – MDA/Children with Birth Defects, September – St. Jude’s Hospital/Terminally & Critically Ill Children, December – Shriner’s Hospital/Children Burn Vicims, Easter – Easter Seals, June – The League Against Cancer, etc., etc. Limitless opportunities for you to wax on!!!!!

  21. Going to increase my contribution to UWBB Says:

    To Unwise and the other people who say that they aren’t going to contribute anymore:

    I ALSO have a payroll deduction that comes out each month going to the UWBB. I also have a family and we attend the Friday Downtown Get Down’s before the home games. I support our community and appreciate people putting money back into the community at these events. So what that people drink at these events? That seems to be something that is common when it comes to sports viewing. I consume a couple of beers at this event and overall have a good time.

    I am glad that some of the money that my family, and other people and families spend at these events goes to such a great cause – the UWBB. I will continue to have my payroll deducted and go to the United Way. I would also LOVE to know who these “people” are that are not going to contribute anymore and how much was supposedly being deducted from their checks. I think that I would like to increase my deduction to the amount that these people are going to stop giving. Yes, I think I would…

  22. Confused??? Says:

    I have $100 deducted from every paycheck. I get paid on the 15th and 30th of each month so that’s $200 per month. It was so easy to do it this way. But now that so many of the charities can take recurring donations online, I’ll go that route. I really don’t have a problem with people having a few drinks- and I certainly don’t have a problem with the event itself. I just was shocked to find out it is sponsored by the UWBB. I think that is truly inappropriate. As for this candidate, I don’t care. I vote in Leon County so it’s not my choice to make anyway.

  23. Don't Be So Confused... Says:

    Confused??? I officially just picked up your contributions commitments. I am thrilled to do it. I LOVE the United Way of the Big Bend. They are the best. Don’t be. Confused. Not worth it.

  24. Unwise association Says:

    $50 month is it for me. My church will be happy to see the increase in my tithe though. I’m pretty sure they don’t sponsor a drinking party!!! :)

  25. Summer is over... Says:

    Well- this obvious fight between campaigns must mean that Summer is OFFICIALLY over. And apparently Greg Ever’s camp is slightly ticked off that the Chamber is co-hosting a fundraiser for Dave Murzin. Ouch. That’s okay Greg. You got an AFL-CIO Honorable Mention. They’ll pull you through. They got Obama elected right?

  26. United Way is a scam Says:

    You’ve got to be stupid to still be contributing to the United Way – it’s ACORN for the Parlor Pinks…

  27. Annie-Can't-Take-A-Jokely.... Says:

    Are there any adults in the Murzin campaign? Anyone qualified to vote? Anyone qualified to drive? Anyone qualified at all? Anyone eligible to contribute to Murzin or UWBB?

    Didn’t think so…

  28. The Troops Are Marching Home Says:

    Summer is so much more than over… We are in the game. And there is no tolerance for “Honorable Mentions.” Dave this has nothing to do with “unions” or “trial lawyers.” And – for you – it leads to a nice, long and relaxing vacation outside of the chamber but with the Chamber. Somewhere out there. No “honorable mention” required. Give me the NRA any day… We’re in Senate District 2!

  29. Oops! I missed Sean for this? Says:

    Hey dave you can use downtown smackdown, just hope that McMahon chick don’t woop that head for ya! This wouldn’t be fair. One mean blond,two NRA members and BBUW vs a little Girly man!!!! Dave get in your sand box and play with your “Orlando Choo-Choo”(the 2.1 Billion dollar accident waiting for a place to happen!!!!)

  30. Was the United Way Says:

    the charity that got all cross-ways a few years ago for mishandling their money?

    nevermind. i’m probably wrong. just wondering.

    i see claims flying all over the place stating united way “owns” the rights to the getdown. why isn’t it listed as the united way downtown getdown in the limelight – talgov parking routes – restaurant advertisements?

    will this guy be talking in a microphone or something? or is this a private party?

    i can’t figure out why they care? i guess if there was a party during the christmas parade people would get sideways too. watch out realtors….they gonna get ya!

  31. at most questionable Says:

    So a non profit organization called Downtown Getdowns, Inc. and the fundraiser says Downtown Get Down.

    It’s on a balcony and away from a common person who may be confused.

    And you’re point is….uh huh. And you are trying to say…..uh huh uh huh uh huh….

    Does it make you feel better that all of those businesses and restaurants and other various retail stores may no longer have any say of whether their employees may bring concealed weapons to their place of work (locked in their vehicle of course).

    Or does it just tick you all off knowing that it sucked hundreds of thousands of dollars out of you fighting it over a span of three years?

  32. Dazed & Confused... Says:

    at most questionable… Thanks for the rambling analysis. But let me share something with you. When it counted, my friends stood up to be counted. And I passed my bill. HB 503. It’s over. Game over. Party over. Done deal.

  33. Dark Angel Says:

    Fighting for our second amendment rights should not tick anyone off.
    Perhaps everyone should try it – or perhaps some want to talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.

    What has this got to do with someone using an established nonprofit event name to have a political fund raiser of their own?

    Perhaps the Chamber is ticked because they spent so much time, effort and money to fight against the 2nd amendment rights of the people and lost.

  34. Early Retirement for the Pot Farmer Says:

    Greg Evers, it’s Dennis Baxley on Line 1. He’s mumbling something about getting spanked.

  35. Early Retirement for the Pillsbury Dough Boy Says:: Says:

    Desperate people, say desperate things.

    How sad.

  36. whasup Says:

    Note to anyone who cares about that Senate seat:

    Murzin killed his chances back when he wrote that letter calling Marion “The Sledge” Hammer of the NRA a liar.

  37. Sister "Sledge" Says:

    Well said, whasup. She seems to be answering him pretty well with her billboards though. Wouldn’t want that Hammer coming down on me.

  38. did the homework Says:

    I found Downtown GetDown on the Department of State, Division of Corporations web site. They organized in 1998

  39. Greg Who? Says:

    Greg, which committee is it that you Chair again? Oh…right…

  40. didn't read the homework Says:

    Actually, the articles of incorporation (if you read them) say:
    Downtown Getdowns- yes, with an s at the end and getdown as one word. The invitation says, Downtown Get Down. Two Words. Singular. No legal issue there. Only an issue of the Evers campaign eating sour grapes and trying to obstruct a fundraiser that is being held at a private business.

  41. Ralph Bear Says:

    I just hope that Mr. Murzin and his special interest contributors will throw down pieces of food for us unemployed peasant voters. Please, throw me down the remnants of a chicken finger, oh please drop down some carrots or celery.

  42. annie oakley Says:

    HAHAHAH. Mr.Murzin and “his special interest contributors”!! Apparently you hold him to a different standard or you are ignorant of Evers’ “special interest contributors”:
    Florida Justice PAC, Associated Buliders and Contractors, Marion Hammer (but she’s cheap at only $100), International Union of Operating Engineers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Contractors, IBEW Local Union 1205, Prieguez & Weems, Manny Prieguez, Lori Weems…This is like a Who’s Who of Unions and Trial Lawyers- oh and the NRA in bed with them!

  43. Ralph Bear Says:

    I’m not blind to Mr. Evers special interest contributions, but now that you want to highlight that, I did review both candidates contributions, and Evers certainly out paces Mr. Murzin on contributions from the District. What’s that say about Mr. Murzin that 90% of his money is from outside of the district?

  44. annie oakley Says:

    Ralph Bear shouldn’t throw stones. In a review of Evers contributions, most have come from Central and South Florida- and some from Georgia. What’s it say about Evers that 90% of his money is from outside the district?

  45. Oops! I missed Sean for this? Says:

    O Dave, you got out of that sand box I see. We can’t play nice. I will have to take all your trains again!!!!! I’ll have to talk to Paula about this.

  46. Did my math Says:

    Annie Oakley, maybe you should do your math and put away your stones – or pebbles – whatever it is you are trying to throw. In doing the math, almost 40% of Evers’ contributors were from the district, which makes up about 32% of the money that he has raised. On the OTHER hand, your little doughboy friend Murzin has had a GRAND TOTAL of 2, that is right, TWO people from the district contribute to his campaign. That is equal to 4% of his contributors. This is also being generous considering the fact that one of the two people was himself. Assuming we are playing nice here, the money contributed by those two people is equivalent to 2% of the money that he has raised. If we take Murzin’s campaign start up check out of the mix, you get a total of 0.50% of the money that he has raised has come from his district.

    Evers is definitely doing better with the people back home – AND Tallahassee. That is for sure.

    To answer your question: “What’s it say about Evers that 90% of his money is from outside the district?” This is untrue. But what IS true, is that more than 90% – to be accurate 98-99.5% – of Murzin’s money has come from outside of the district.

  47. Truth Hurting Says:

    Uhm… got a little question for ya’…. where is Marian Johnson? Where is Mark Wilson? Where is David Daniels? Where is Randy Miller? Where is Rick McAllister? Where is Sally House? And, oh yeah, WHERE IS DAVE MURZIN?

    Way to go Marion Hammer. Way to go!!!!!!!!

  48. Annie Oakley Says:

    Wow. Interesting mistake on this guys part. If he is going to proclaim the top Republican lobbyists, he should at least pick the ones who are actually Republicans. He couldn’t even pick up a copy of Florida Trend for some easy research??? “I’m a lifelong Democrat.”

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