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Nicknames fill the air in state attorney race

Who says there's no royalty in America?

State attorney Republican challenger Jackson Brownlee contends that incumbent Brad King is sometimes so arrogant that his name should be reversed to "King Brad."

Specifically, Brownlee points to what he calls King's overzealous prosecution of Sunshine Law violations. He also says many residents have complained about the attitudes of King's employees.

Brownlee's own nickname, by the way, is "Maximum Jackson," a reference to the stiff sentences he doled out while serving as a circuit judge from 1979 to '84.

King challenged Brownlee to divulge the names of those who complained about his workers. He also said Jackson's nickname isn't all that it implies. Of the judges who served during that time who are still on the bench today, he said, at least half exceeded state sentencing guidelines more often than Brownlee.

Maybe he should call Brownlee "Middle-of-the-class Jackson?"

When discussing with the Times editorial board whether judges should be elected or appointed, King recently noted the Judicial Qualifications Commission's role in the process. He quickly corrected that to the Judicial Nominating Committee.

The first option seems more interesting. After all, with his connections at the JQC, the agency that reviews complaints against judges, perhaps County Judge Gary Graham could win appointment to the next opening on the circuit bench.

The supervisor of elections' race was heated in the Democratic primary, and it looks like it will be no less nasty in the general election.

Incumbent Wilma Anderson and Republican challenger Bob Licata had quite an exchange Thursday on QPI Productions' live televised coverage of returns from the primary.

Licata said that if elected, he would buy a pair of bedroom slippers, a reference to Anderson's occasional office footwear. At one point, he also ran out to his car to get a copy of Florida statutes, suggesting that Anderson, who has held her position for 25 years, didn't know anything about running elections.

Anderson said Licata, who is in the bail bonding business, "is full of it."

The two candidates will appear again on television at 8 p.m. Wednesday on a QPI cable talk show seen over the Telesat cable system.

County Commissioner Wilbur Langley took umbrage last week at Republican candidate Vicki Phillips' suggestion that a commissioner should not have any job but serving the public. Langley has a well-drilling business.

Langley said there's been a long-running joke that people should keep their hands in their pockets to hold onto their money when the Legislature is in session.

"We don't need five full-time commissioners sitting in the courthouse all day," he said, but added: "I've never refused to answer a call."

Hero worship: When asked at a political forum last week whom, if anyone, they admired in state or local politics, candidates for the District 5 County Commission seat gave these responses:

Bob Schultheis, a Republican, said he would try to emulate Gary Bartell. "He's been an excellent commissioner," Schultheis said. "He's gotten us away from the good old boy network."

Brad Thorpe, the Democratic candidate, said he admires County Administrator Tony Shoemaker and outgoing County Commissioner David Langer.

Joe Cino, an independent, said he doesn't have a particular idol, but added that he admires anyone who stands up for his beliefs.

The commission candidates also gave the Citrus economic development office mixed reviews.

Phillips, running for the District 3 seat, said she would rate it poorly. "I don't see anything it's doing in the community or statewide to draw industry or tourism," she said.

Walter "Bill" Pitzonka, a Democrat running for the same seat, said, "The economic development director can only move as far as the leash from the Board of County Commissioners." He said the board has to be willing to offer incentives to businesses to locate here.

Frank Schiraldi, GOP candidate for the District 1 seat, said the county's economic development efforts are "all over the board" and "not focused."

"We have to decide what we want . . . instead of waiting for someone to stumble on us,' he said. County leaders should learn from students what kind of jobs they need in order to be willing to stay here. The county is spending money educating students, he said, and then "we're exporting our product."

Sid Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for District 1, said he has heard the county's Development Services Department is too harsh on businesses wanting to build here. He said the county should offer some incentives to encourage the creation of jobs here.

Thorpe said the county should streamline the development application process. To businesses, he said, "time is money."

Cino said Roy Taylor, the economic development director, is doing a good job, but in order to really bring in new jobs, government regulation must be eased. "Why should they move to Florida when the environmental regulation is so heavy on their back?"

Schultheis said the commission needs to determine what incentives it can offer to entice businesses. Also, he encouraged passage of the water cleanup referendum. If the water is polluted, he said, the tourist industry will die.

Endorsements: The Florida Police Benevolent Association Inc. has endorsed Howard Arnold over incumbent Charles Dean in the race for Citrus County sheriff. . . . The United Residents of Beverly Hills has endorsed Bill Pitzonka for the District 3 County Commission seat.

Campaign calendar:

Saturday: The Democratic Women's Club is hosting a picnic and rally beginning at noon at the Yulee Sugarmill State Park in Homosassa.

Oct. 17: Meet the candidates at Crystal River Woman's Club, 320 Citrus Ave. in Crystal River. The forum begins at 2 p.m. The event is sponsored by the woman's club, the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters.

Oct. 17: Roger Weaver, the Democratic candidate for property appraiser, is holding a fund-raiser at Stokes Flea Market from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets for the barbecue are $6 for adults, $3 for children.

Oct. 20: The Citrus Democratic Executive Committee is holding a free reception for the public to meet the candidates at Lakeside Country Club, 4555 E Windmill Drive, Inverness, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Oct. 22: The United Residents of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Civic Association will jointly sponsor a candidates' night at the Beverly Hills Recreation Association Clubhouse at the civic circle. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 24: The public is invited to Stokes Flea Market on State Road 44 between Crystal River and Lecanto to hear and question candidates. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. For information call 746-7200 or 746-2983.

Oct. 24: From noon to 5 p.m., the Crystal Square Shopping Center in Crystal River is holding a promotion called "It's Time to Vote." A candidate forum will be held from 1 to 4 p.m.