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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

White turns up the heat on challengers in D-3 Commission primary



Democratic Commissioner Kevin White must see former state Sen. Les Miller as his main threat leading to Tuesday's primary.

He has blasted Miller in two separate ads in the Florida Sentinel Bulletin newspaper, which caters to African Americans. The first hits Miller for allegedly for abandoning Hillsborough County's Urban League at a time of crisis and failing to attract minority contractors at Tampa General Hospital while it was his job there to do so.

White revisited the minority contractor theme again at an NAACP forum at Bible-Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace Thursday night. Miller refused to take the bait, touting his 14 year record in the state legislature as evidence of his work for the people.

"I will make sure you will never, ever be embarrassed by me," Miller said.

Valerie Goddard, chairman of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County did a little swatting of her own Thursday, though it was fairly tame. She described White's sexual harassment court case last year as a "distraction" from the pressing needs of the central Tampa and east Hillsborough district, which she said has suffered as a result.

"I think what we need right now is not to have a one-dimensional candidate who only knows children's services," White smacked back.

All three candidates were asked if they thought the media had unfairly targeted White for unflattering coverage on topics ranging from the sex suit to his masked purchase of designer suits with campaign money. White said he thought so.

He alluded to questions about a half-million dollar home purchase in Arkansas by the wife of Hillsborough Commissioner Jim Norman, who is running for state Senate and whose name doesn't show up on the deed. Despite considerable news media attention to the transaction, which also doesn't show up on Norman's financial disclosure forms, White said it would have been worse for him.

"I guarantee you I would have gotten 100 times the ink," White said.

Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer 

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:41pm]


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