Sunday, January 21, 2018
Politics

Ex-Sheriff Gillum seeks return to office in Volusia County

Former Pasco Sheriff Jim Gillum, rejected overwhelmingly by local voters in three successive campaigns, is seeking to become sheriff in Volusia County.

The Daytona Beach News Journal reported that Gillum, 72, a 10-year resident of Volusia County, is the sixth candidate to file papers to run after Sheriff Ben Johnson announced his retirement.

Pasco voters elected Gillum, a Republican and former Tampa police sergeant, as sheriff in 1984 after Gov. Bob Graham removed from office Sheriff John Short, who had been indicted on criminal charges.

Short, a Democrat, was later cleared, but he lost an attempt to regain the seat in a head-to-head election against Gillum in 1988. Gillum's political fortunes turned four years later when the two-term incumbent received less than 30 percent of the vote in a Republican primary. He ran again unsuccessfully in 1996 and 2000, with his vote total dwindling to less than 18 percent in the GOP primary 16 years ago.

Gillum's tenure was filled with controversies, including:

• Revelations that his 1984 campaign received a $100 contribution from the wife of a convicted drug trafficker. Gillum told the News Journal last week that he had no relationship with drug smuggler Joseph Valverde and that the contribution came from Valverde's wife, Lee Knight Moffett, who was acquainted with Gillum's wife at the time.

• Gillum's free use of a rental van from a car dealer three weeks after he gave the car dealer a $770,000 contract for the purchase of 71 sheriff's vehicles.

• His hiring of his girlfriend for an unadvertised job as a legal assistant and then promoting her to staff attorney.

• A state investigation of the activities in his personnel office amid a hiring frenzy in anticipation of the 1990 opening of the Land O'Lakes Detention Center. The state didn't file charges but uncovered record tampering by the personnel office.

The state probe came after Gillum's department offered employment to people without completed background checks. Within a six-month period, 11 workers resigned or were fired after the Sheriff's Office learned they had prior disciplinary problems at other police agencies, criminal charges and a failed polygraph test.

After leaving office 24 years ago, Gillum couldn't escape legal entanglements. He lost his driver's license for a year over allegations of unpaid child support, and he was arrested on a charge of writing a worthless check to his landlord. Prosecutors later dropped the bad-check charge.

His announced candidacy stunned his former political colleagues in Pasco County.

"No," said Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano, a political ally of Gillum's in the late 1980s. "Oh, my gosh, God bless him. But let the people of Volusia decide whether they want him to be sheriff or not."

New Port Richey police Chief Kim Bogart, a major in Gillum's administration and a high-ranking officer in the department under Gillum's successor, Lee Cannon, was silent for several moments when asked for comment.

"I have to admire his grit," Bogart finally said.

Comments
Congressman combating harassment used public money on own case

Congressman combating harassment used public money on own case

WASHINGTON ó Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making un...
Updated: 12 hours ago
The longer the shutdown lasts, the further the economic ripples will spread

The longer the shutdown lasts, the further the economic ripples will spread

The early days of the federal government shutdown wonít slow the U.S. economy much. No workers are missing paychecks yet, and because it is a weekend, few businesses expect to feel the effects of lost customers or suppliers.That could change, quickly...
Published: 01/20/18
Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said people were entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.Clearly, Moynihan never dealt with Florida legislators.Because around Tallahassee, facts are fungible. They arenít just up for debate, they...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON ó The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trumpís inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18
Battle lines already forming for Menendez corruption retrial

Battle lines already forming for Menendez corruption retrial

NEWARK, N.J. ó U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez might spend 2018 asking voters to re-elect him and jurors to acquit him. Prosecutors from the Department of Justice told a federal judge in New Jersey on Friday that they will seek a retrial of the Democratic sen...
Published: 01/19/18
Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

WASHINGTON ó A bitterly-divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being dep...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

CLEARWATER ó Voters may not be too familiar with the name John Funk.So since launching his campaign for City Council Seat 5 against well-known incumbent Hoyt Hamilton, Funk said he has knocked on 2,000 doors to introduce himself. Before the March 13 ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

CLEARWATER ó By asking voters to elect him into office a fifth time, Hoyt Hamilton knows heís now considered part of the old-guard. Born and raised in Clearwater, his family roots stretch back here more than 100 years. Hamilton, 59, spent nearly his ...
Published: 01/19/18

Q&A: Government shutdown looms. Hereís what you need to know

Lawmakers have until midnight tonight to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown.Hereís what that means. Why would the government shut down?Every year, Congress has to approve laws, known as appropriations, that provide money for federal agen...
Published: 01/18/18
Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

REDINGTON SHORES ó There will be no election this year, but the changeout of commission members that began last year will continue. When the new commission is sworn in this March, four of five members, including the mayor, will have changed within th...
Published: 01/18/18