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In District 3 GOP primary fight, Jason Sager has things backward

I guess Jason Sager thinks it's okay for Hernando County to go backward.

Maybe he's nostalgic for the days when our economy was built on speculation and sprawl.

If not, he has to be in favor of stagnation, of holding on to the miserable status quo.

Those are the only two options available because, according to his campaign's most recent press release, he's absolutely, definitely dead set against moving or thinking "forward." And if you aren't, you might just be a Communist.

I'm not making this up. Here's what the release said about his opponent in the District 3 County Commission Republican primary — incumbent John Druzbick — and his use of this new kind of F-word.

"The message of 'forward' was recently seen on the mailers put out by Druzbick and has also been used by President Barack Obama in his re-election campaign, according to a news report by the Washington Times on April 30, 2012. That article also reported that the slogan has ties to left-wing and socialist newspapers and publications and Marxist ideals," Tuesday's release said.

It went on to quote Sager saying, "I think using a Marxist slogan and one that would show solidarity with Obama was not a sound choice."

In case you think Druzbick has suddenly started going around telling folks they have nothing to lose but their chains, here's what his campaign flier actually said, in big letters on the front:

"If we have reliable, fiscal conservative leadership ... Hernando County can move forward."

It's just the kind of statement you'd associate with Druzbick, a middle-of the-road, pro-business Republican.

If you're a member of this party and think Druzbick can't possibly be a true conservative because he has the backing of a Tampa Bay Times writer, well, he doesn't. Not this one.

In some cases, he has looked out more for developers and builders than he has for the public. His attempts to flip condos in Daytona Beach raise questions about his business skills. His initial failure to list them all on his campaign disclosure forms makes you wonder about his integrity.

But at least his political philosophy is actually that — philosophy — and not fantasy.

As for Sager? Well, here's what he says about the scripted, blind calls voters are receiving from his supporters who don't identify themselves as such.

They don't have to, Sager said, because they aren't paid campaign workers, just ordinary folks who want to help out.

This is the reality, according to an opinion from a lawyer with the Florida Department of State: People making calls to strangers in support of a political candidate are required by law to disclose that they are working for that candidate.

Then there was the vintage innuendo that an outwardly respectable Republican business owner, a chamber of commerce member, just may be harboring Communist leanings.

Not saying he does, just repeating what every true conservative's favorite Washington newspaper said about people who go around using that word. And, by the way, have you seen any proof he isn't a Commie?

But even this John Birch-style flight of paranoid fancy may not be as far removed from the truth as the main plank of Sager's campaign platform: that excessive taxes are making county government fat.

The fact is, entire departments are in danger of starving, and any slight increase in the property tax rate — not in the county's overall tax burden — that Druzbick voted for has been just enough to temporarily stave this off.

That leads to one other nonsensical idea that Sager is spreading: that business and investment will be drawn to a county with threadbare parks, shuttered libraries and a barely functioning code enforcement office, that as a big advocate of economic development he'll be able to convince outsiders to invest in a county when its own residents aren't willing to do the same.

Maybe it's all right with Sager, considering his feelings about that other direction. But this is just one more thing he's got backward.

In District 3 GOP primary fight, Jason Sager has things backward 08/02/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 8:25pm]

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