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:
Shirley Anderson, candidate Supervisor of Elections
Needless to say Hernando County was stunned by the recommendation of politics as usual in the Supervisor of Elections Office. From what your paper has written about the current supervisor, most people clearly expected a different recommendation. In an editorial earlier this year this paper wrote: "Unaware or unconcerned. There is no other way to accurately characterize Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams mailing out almost 432 incorrect absentee ballots, and then her blase reaction to an entirely avoidable error."
This was not the first, second or third mistake by the current supervisor. Supervisors in neighboring counties have been mailing under the not-for-profit permit for years, not blaming the U.S. Postal Service for their waste. The current supervisor admits to using 2003 maps, but blames the planning department for not updating her. During the 2006 election dispute between Rose Rocco and Nancy Robinson, the current supervisor said she, "doesn't police the ballot." One wonders what does she do?
Shirley Anderson is running so that voters have a real choice in this election. Shirley Anderson wants to restore faith and trust into our elections office. In these tough economic times we need someone that will be responsible with our tax dollars.
Shirley believes that voters deserve better and are worthy of a ballot without mistakes. Shirley Anderson will not make excuses or blame others for the conduct of her office.
We all know if you keep endorsing the same candidate you can expect more of the same flawed elections — with more mistakes, more errors and more excuses. It is time for change in the supervisor of elections office and Shirley Anderson will bring that change.
Gus Guadagnino, candidate Supervisor of Elections
Thank you for the opportunity to reply to your recommendation of the incumbent. Your criticism of her record, and your lack of enthusiasm for her candidacy, shows that you share the public's doubts about re-electing her. I agree with you that "Williams needs to perform better,'' and that she "needs to eliminate the miscues while working to modernize the office.'' But, unlike you, I am not ready to give her a free pass and merely hope that she finally will make needed improvements. She has worked in that office for 30 years. She has been the boss for eight years. She's had plenty of time to get it right.
Thank you for acknowledging my "extensive volunteer service to the community'' and my business acumen. It is true that neither of my opponents can hold a candle to my experience as a civic leader and businessman. Thanks for recognizing that "those characteristics haven't changed'' since your newspaper recommended me for supervisor of elections in 2000.
I also appreciate your observation that I am "passionate about improving voter registration and participation among young people.'' It is true that I wish to make Hernando County voters the most conscientious, informed and inspired in all of Florida. And it is true that I am passionate about instilling pride and patriotism in the voting process.
I want to take politics and patronage out of this office. I want to implement my clearly stated ideas for voter recruitment by putting voters first and politics last. I want to change the way voters think. I want them to stop waiting on the world to change around them. I am the obvious candidate for people who want change and who do not wish to have political parties do their thinking for them. And on Nov. 4, remember: A vote for Gus is a vote for us.
Gene Magrini, candidate Hernando School Board
I found the recommendation for school board quite interesting.
I appreciate the fact that about two-thirds of the editorial was written about my candidacy. That fact speaks volumes to the issue that the Times' motivation behind its recommendation is not to inform you to elect bold, creative and outside leadership to the board, but to keep the status quo in our school system.
The Times calls my pledge to give nearly 60 percent of my school board paycheck to the Hernando County Education Foundation "grandstanding." I call it a commitment. A commitment to be a school board member who will be working for our children, our teachers and staff, and the taxpayer — not for a paycheck!
Now, is not the time for the status quo. There is far too much at stake. Now is the time for a fresh perspective in our schools:
If you are a parent (like I am with children in fourth, sixth and eighth grades) or a grandparent of Hernando County school children and want change, I need your vote. If you are a teacher or staff member and want leadership that is accountable to you, I need your vote. If you are a taxpayer and want a person elected to the board that has successfully managed budgets in excess of $180-million, I need your vote!
With your support and your vote, not only can we change the status quo, we will change the status quo!