A Times Editorial

He has no room for complaint

You would think a public official who got caught using campaign money to buy Italian suits and who is fending off a lawsuit that he sexually harassed a secretary would be dialing down the bad press in his run-up for re-election. But Kevin White is in a league of his own.

The Hillsborough County commissioner blew a gasket the other day after learning that the county public television station taped an interview with former state Sen. Les Miller of Tampa for a program on blacks in politics. Miller is running against White in 2010 for the commission seat.

This is why Hillsborough has a county charter: to prevent elected commissioners who lack a sense of ethics from misusing the wheels of government for their own benefit. White blasted a county staffer, writing in an e-mail that there was "ABSOLUTELY no excuse" for inviting four other black local officials, but not him. White said the slight was "reprehensible and personally offensive."

What's offensive is that White thinks he's entitled to complain. The four black elected officials invited on the program have actually done something for the east Tampa district that White represents at the county level. Miller, for example, was a Democratic leader in the Legislature. And the four have not embarrassed the district as White has with his misconduct and self-promotion.

The county pulled Miller's show and taped a segment with White, though it maintains the commissioner's outburst had nothing to do with it. (Of course not.) After the furor became public, White asked the county not to air his segment either. That's some contribution — abuse the staff, bigfoot the bureaucracy and scuttle a program on blacks in office. No wonder the station wanted to talk with Les Miller.

He has no room for complaint 02/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 27, 2009 2:39pm]

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