Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mud slinging against Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin Beckner out of control

Here's a rather cynical strategy for getting voters to see things your way: Say something, anything, about a candidate, and maybe they'll believe it.

Nuance or even actual fact notwithstanding.

Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin Beckner appears to be the current target of that kind of local swiftboating. Why Beckner? Let us count the ways. He's running for re-election to an attractive countywide seat. He's a Democrat, one of only two on a right-leaning board of seven. (Though Republicans are also up for re-election next year, only the Democrats have opposition thus far.)

And although this detail hardly defines what Beckner has accomplished since he won the job over Brian Blair in 2008, he is the only openly gay commissioner. A factor? You tell me.

If the accusations on floridaactivist.com are to be believed, Beckner has spent his time in office filling his pockets and hiding public records from you. The blog post by Nadia Naffe, a conservative activist who was once a field director for the Bush-Cheney campaign, claims the commission job "has been a financial boon for Beckner."

That does sound bad!

Until you look a little closer.

Beckner, a financial planner, says his income grew from gains in investments, stocks and mutual funds that have nothing to do with his commission job. Said investments are specifically detailed on required financial disclosure forms.

Okay, but why does Commissioner Transparency and Openness hide property records related to his home address, huh? And, the blogger wonders, why doesn't he list his checking account?

But there it is, listed under "cash and equivalents" on those forms.

Then there's the question of his address.

Beckner lists his home's value as required. But Florida law says police can keep their addresses out of the public record for security reasons. Beckner shares a home with his longtime partner, Sgt. Gil Sainz, a 26-year veteran of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office, though this did not stop the story from helpfully listing the address of neighbors who live across the street.

And funny, isn't it, that this conservative's blog post refers to Sainz as Beckner's "spouse" and implies he should face the same public scrutiny as if they were legally betrothed, when most conservatives I know aren't all that gung ho on legalizing gay marriage.

The Web story has other muddy shots in there, but you get the idea. And yes, such a site might be best ignored, except mud can stick. The implication that Beckner gorged himself at the public trough sounds a lot like former fellow-commissioner-turned-State Sen. Jim Norman, who raised eyebrows and a federal investigation with that vacation home of his wife's, paid for by a millionaire political activist. Ditto former Commissioner Kevin White, currently under indictment after the feds say he was peddling influence for cash.

Not a whit of which has ever touched Beckner's reputation as a politician.

Got real criticism involving actual facts? Bring it. It's certainly fair game to take issue with Beckner's stance on, say, budget decisions, pill mills or a diversionary program for first-time juvenile offenders.

But even in this ugly period of politics, you hope voters see through the mud to what's there and, just as important, what isn't.

Mud slinging against Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin Beckner out of control 08/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 7:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire

    Blogs

    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman, who was under investigation for sending a directive to her staff that said white students should be in the same class when creating …

    Former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman will retire pending School Board approval. Hoffman created an uproar in April when she sent an email to staff directing them to keep white students in the same class when creating classroom rosters.
  2. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed in Plant City when car runs red light, FHP says

    Blogs

    Two Mulberry teens are dead and another is critically injured after their car collided with another vehicle in a Plant City intersection Thursday afternoon.

  3. GOP Montana win may be blip in Democrats' anti-Trump hopes

    Blogs

    BOZEMAN, Mont. — A Montana Republican businessman won the state's U.S. House seat after being charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of the election, a victory that may temper Democrats' hopes for a massive anti-Trump wave next year.

    Republican Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters after being declared the winner at a election night party for Montana's special House election against Democrat Rob Quist at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday in Bozeman, Montana.
  4. More than half of Senate signs onto bill to end Cuba travel restrictions

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Fifty-five members of the Senate, including Bill Nelson, have endorsed legislation to fully lift restrictions on travel to Cuba.

  5. Militants attack Christians in Egypt, killing at least 28

    Blogs

    CAIRO — Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.