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Times Editorial

Campaign offenses

A CHEAP SHOT REOPENS OLD WOUNDS: Hillsborough County Commission candidate Linda Saul-Sena took a cheap shot by implying that opponent Ken Hagan is racist. The Democrat placed signs in predominantly black neighborhoods featuring a Confederate flag and declaring that "Hagan Honors Confederate Memorial Day." The sign refers to the Republican's support for the annual proclamation, which the county bestowed as a matter of routine before a controversy ended the practice in 2007.

The commemoration was a relic that inflamed race relations. Saul-Sena has not made it a campaign issue, and her last-minute attack is the sort of crude appeal to race that reopens old wounds.

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STRETCHING FACTS FROM HERE TO CALIFORNIA: It's been all too common this election for Florida Republicans to nationalize state elections. Chief financial officer candidate Jeff Atwater hit a new low by linking Democrat Loranne Ausley to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Atwater's ad suggests Pelosi, a representative from California, recruited Ausley, a former Tallahassee legislator, to run for a state Cabinet job in Florida. Has Ausley even met Pelosi? Then, amid unflattering pictures of both women, Atwater's ad contends Ausley "wants total control of our money" and that she would raise taxes on property, the elderly and gasoline.

The CFO has no authority to raise taxes or dictate spending. Only the Legislature, where Atwater is the outgoing Senate president, has those powers. Guess who was in charge in 2009 when the Legislature voted to increase various fees? Jeff Atwater.

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SCOTT'S SHAMELESS SCARE TACTICS: Republican candidate for governor Rick Scott has shamelessly preyed on seniors' financial insecurity to inaccurately paint Democrat Alex Sink as an irresponsible administrator of the state pension funds. The worst scare tactic is a television ad that features a mix of somber, older actors talking into the camera contending "Sink lost billions in Florida's pension funds. … If she can't run a pension fund, how can she run a state?"

Sink doesn't run the pension fund. She is one of three elected officials who serve as trustees of the State Board of Administration. A Republican, Attorney General Bill McCollum, and Gov. Charlie Crist are the others. They set broad policy, but the SBA staff does the actual vetting of stocks and investments and make the purchases for the pension and other government accounts. SBA accounts lost significant value with the 2007 collapse of the stock market, but have since rebounded. No retiree's benefits have been cut or threatened. That hasn't stopped Scott from scaring seniors. Shameless.

Campaign offenses 10/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 6:59pm]
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