The Times offers candidates not recommended by the editorial board an opportunity to reply to the newspaper's recommendations. Here are some of the responses:
Steve Donaldson, candidate superintendent of schools
Marge Whaley, 16-year Pasco County School Board member, said it best. Below is her endorsement of my campaign:
"I firmly believe there is a single candidate who has the graduate-level education, leadership skills and business experience necessary to lead our schools to success.
" That candidate is Steve Donaldson.
"Steve received his master's degree in educational leadership from Saint Leo University and teaches Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes at Gulf High School in New Port Richey. He brings a fresh blend of experience, leadership and caring to the classroom. Steve has seen first-hand the issues and challenges our schools are facing every day and this knowledge enables him to bring innovative and new ideas to the office of superintendent.
"Steve is a 25-year U.S. Air Force veteran (major) who is passionate about public service and improving the lives of others. His military experience brings a unique blend of leadership and management skills to our district.
"Steve also has the business experience needed to be a successful superintendent. This experience allows him to recognize the challenges our community business leaders face during these difficult times. He taught an electrical apprenticeship program at Hillsborough Community College which gives him insight into the importance of vocational programs. Steve has stated that implementing vocational programs which lead to a real world certification will be a top-priority.
"Steve is the most qualified candidate for superintendent of Pasco County Schools. I endorse Steve's candidacy and ask you to do the same."
K.S. "Kim'' Bogart, candidate Pasco Sheriff
Thank you for affirming to your readers that I have the experience and knowledge to run the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Under Sheriff Bob White's leadership, the public has witnessed:
A 28 percent increase in violent crimes over the last two years with robberies topping the list with a 98 percent increase;
His denial that there is a gang problem in Pasco County;
Years of reduced drug enforcement efforts, part of which was based on advice he took from a convicted drug dealer;
His wasteful spending habits and mismanagement of tax dollars;
His budget increases totaling over $32-million;
His failure to take timely action for employee misconduct.
The bottom line: The citizens of Pasco County can no longer count on Bob White to protect them from home invasions, robberies, and other violent crimes directly related to drug and gang activity.
Our Sheriff's Office needs new direction. With my 29 years of law enforcement and leadership experience, education, and police agency consulting and accreditation background, I am best qualified and prepared to lead it.
I will develop responsible and realistic budgets, provide much needed leadership, and manage our scarce resources during these financially difficult times. Most importantly, I will be tough on drugs, tough on gangs and tough on crime.
Terri Conroy, candidate Pasco Commission, District 3
First, I would like to thank the 64 percent of Democrats who endorsed my candidacy for County Commission District 3 with their vote in August. They made the right decision, even if the papers did not. But now I need all the Democrats, Republicans and independents to help me make a change in our county because the choice is really simple.
If you have had enough of giving millions of gallons of our drinking water to Tampa and St. Petersburg; had enough of fiscal irresponsibility including over $130,000 of personal gain by triple dipping into the system by my opponent; had enough of paying top administrators more than what Gov. Charlie Crist makes, then you will agree with me that it is a time for change.
For 24 years our opponent has been spending tax dollars on things like a tennis stadium for a private community, been involved in some of the worst relations between the Sheriff's Office and the commission and of course, giving our water away. Problems that faced this county 24 years ago; roads, water, building, are still problems today. And our opponent has done nothing for the thousands of residents who have lost their jobs, the foreclosures or the thousands of homeless that this county has.
We can't afford four more years of an out-of-touch millionaire. On Nov. 4, let's end the problem and take this county in the right direction. Vote for me, Terri Conroy, Democrat for District 3.