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Questions for Commissioner Norman? But look, a shiny object!

Right about now I bet Hillsborough county commissioner-turned-state-Senate-hopeful Jim Norman is hoping like heck you don't have time to even glance at a calendar.

I'm guessing he's hoping you are waaaaay too busy with work, and getting the kids back to school, and, hey, don't the Bucs start up again soon?

Now there's something worth talking about! Just ask Norman, who sure has enjoyed that luxury suite at the stadium as a perk of his political position over the years.

Just two more Tuesdays to go, I bet Norman is thinking, and maybe he can glide right through that primary election and emerge virtually unscathed. Maybe he'll manage to out-conservative Republican challenger Kevin Ambler and mosey right on up to Tallahassee, a couple of absurd write-in candidates notwithstanding.

Heck, he's been in public office 18 years — why stop him now?

Well …

There is that mysterious, cash-bought $435,000 lakefront home in a resort town in Arkansas, the one he has nothing to do with, no way no how, his name's not even on the deed, just one of his wife's investments. (Heck of an investment!) With investors he refuses to name. (Hmm.) And everybody's just picking on his wife, if you ask him, end of story.

Okay, so voters might be a tad curious as to how an elected official who wields significant power in Hillsborough County happened upon that fat chunk of change.

Excuse me, how his wife did.

Also, there's the fact that Norman would not specifically say if any of the investors were also his political benefactors.

Which kind of makes you wonder if maybe there's something not quite —

Hey! Look at that shiny object over there!

I bet Norman also hopes you'll forget the fact that he drives around in a Camry that comes with his $95,000-a-year Salvation Army job but still happily accepts $233 a month for a taxpayer-paid car allowance from the county. (It used to be $600 a month, until even commissioners couldn't suck up that much with a straight face.)

Hey! Isn't that Brad Pitt?

Forget, too, that he was short on specifics about what exactly he does to make that kind of money for a charity that asks for our donated clothing and our dollar bills to fill their red kettles come Christmas. Going around the state troubleshooting, he said. "Relationship building," he said.

Shiny object! Shiny object!

Weeks after a reporter started asking, the Salvation Army addressed questions Thursday about Norman's car (it's okay by them if he uses it for other stuff, they said, as long he pays for personal miles through his income tax).

Norman is, according to the charity's press release, "state community liaison" who "engages in public relations and fundraising."

So.

If you have a minute to think about it, we have ourselves a public official who wants to be elected to higher office but is sounding awfully evasive, particularly on family finances on that mystery house.

We also have a primary election coming up in 11 days, on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

But hey. How 'bout them Bucs, right, commissioner?

Questions for Commissioner Norman? But look, a shiny object! 08/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 13, 2010 9:20am]

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