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Ingoglia ought to be pariah of the GOP

There's reason to respectfully disagree with Blaise Ingoglia, the builder and self-appointed crusader against government waste:

He still thinks it's time to cut taxes. With the declining tax rates and plunging property values in Hernando, I think we've cut enough.

There's reason to wonder where Ingoglia gets his nerve:

He sold houses to flippers and wannabe flippers from all over the country, fueling the speculative market and thereby contributing to the high taxes he loves to rail against.

But this campaign season Ingoglia has also given us reason to just plain ignore him:

In August, he joked that if Barack Obama were elected president, his image would not appear on paper money but on food stamps.

He meant this as a harmless comment about Obama's tax plan, he said. But Paul Douglas, a black Republican Obama supporter, didn't hear anything about taxes. He just heard the kind of crass, racist attempt at humor you'd be unlucky to encounter at a roadside bar.

Except it came from someone who claims a leading role in county affairs — and at party headquarters on the night of the primary election.

Douglas was right to condemn it.

For a few weeks, Ingoglia disappeared from sight. Just maybe, I thought, he had enough sense to lie low, and Republican County Commission challengers Jim Adkins and John Druzbick had correctly decided to shun his support.

Was I ever wrong.

Ingolgia, as you may have read, climbed back into public view last week, announcing plans to spend $28,000 of his own money to oust Democratic incumbents Diane Rowden and Chris Kingsley.

A video on his Web site shows Ingoglia at a 2007 budget hearing wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt, making loud political threats. Though he also appears in recent footage, with a more muted style of speech and dress, his message is basically the same.

The county general fund more than doubled between 2001 and 2006, he said, and Rowden and Kingsley should be voted out for allowing it to happen.

A valid stance at one time. Maybe. But Ingoglia barely mentions the tax rate reductions of the past two years and ignores the county's current struggle to pay for parks, libraries and animal services.

And, though he has claimed his campaign is nonpartisan, his targets are Democrats and his supposed beneficiaries are Republicans.

His most steadfast defender, Ana Trinque, chairwoman of the Republican Executive Committee, said that, yes, she's benefitted from her business association with Ingoglia; she has sold some of his houses while working for the Novo Group real estate agency in Spring Hill, which is owned by state Rep. Rob Schenck.

Mostly, though, Ingoglia is just a friend with a political views she admires.

Adkins and Druzbick didn't ask for Ingoglia's support, they said, but aren't going to turn it away.

So, the only Republican commission candidate who seems to get it is incumbent Jeff Stabins, who objected to Ingoglia's appearance at a GOP. Unity Rally in September.

Ingoglia is bad for the party, he said, because he's "such a negative character.''

Yes, he is. Feel free to ignore him.

Ingoglia ought to be pariah of the GOP 10/18/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 2:58pm]
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