1. Archive


The Times offers candidates not recommended by its editorial board an opportunity to respond. Here are some of the responses to the recommendations for the races in the Nov. 4 general election.

Randall Jones

Democratic candidate for Pinellas County sheriff

My 18-year record of public service in law enforcement includes supervising deputies and new recruits as their field training corporal, expertise in community policing, crimes against children, domestic violence and property crimes. I have a Tough on Crime Action Plan that will track down criminals who prey on our elderly, reduce the troubling crime rate, expand crime prevention and work closely with community groups to expand crime watch activities.

I was honored by former Sheriff Everett Rice who awarded me the "Golden Star Award" for outstanding investigation. I am also the recipient of the 2007 Sheriff Distinguished Service Award.

I am a lifelong resident of Pinellas having graduated from Clearwater High School and the Law Enforcement Academy of St. Petersburg College.

I want to be your sheriff so that I can reduce crime, make us safer, and keep Pinellas County a desirable place to live, raise our children, and enjoy our retirement years because your safety is my highest priority.

Susan L. Gardner

Candidate for Pinellas-Pasco judge, 6th Circuit

Your recommendation seems to focus on experience, or lack thereof, and I ask, what specific experience does my opponent have to give him the edge? I have significant litigation experience in most areas of law, including divorces/family law, probate, contracts, landlord/tenant, as well as criminal law experience. My opponent has never practiced in most of these areas. My opponent has also never done a civil jury trial. I have. Also, my opponent has probably spent less time in a courtroom in the past nine years than I have in the past two weeks. Finally, I also have lived on a small family "farm" for the past 30 years, but I don't include that on my resume!

Robin Wikle

Candidate for Pinellas County School Board, District 4

Thank you for referring to me as a "strong School Board candidate" who is "impressive" in your recent editorial. I am honored and humbled.

This is a time of great challenge and transition for our school district. Now more than ever, we must remain committed to our children and the promise of a better tomorrow. My campaign is focused on the future of our children and the quality of our schools. Be assured, as a member of the School Board, I will work hard each and every day to ensure that young people in Pinellas County receive a world class education.

Now is the time for new and visionary leadership on our Pinellas County School Board. We must cultivate a culture of greatness and cooperation within our district. I have the right combination of experience, leadership skills and work ethic necessary to propel our school district forward in a positive new direction - to create a new path for a better future for our children and our families.

Ben Friedlander

Democratic candidate for Pinellas County property appraiser

As a Realtor for more than 33 years I have been involved in the valuation of property every working day. I have served my clients and this community in many civic and philanthropic endeavors. I am committed to fixing the problems in the Pinellas Property Appraiser Office.

My opponent has tried to distance herself from her good friend Jim Smith. As chief deputy it was her responsibility to have a fair appraisal of the land that was bought by the county for $225,000. The appraisal of that land for tax purposes was only $59,400 in 2007. Smith was himself declaring it on his financial disclosure in 2006 as $179,800, in 2005, $150,000. Pam Dubov openly defends her office's appraisal and says the value was correct. As soon as the county owned it, the appraisal rose to more than $170,000. My proven commitment to our community gives voters a clear choice.

Jack Killingsworth

Democratic candidate for Pinellas County supervisor of elections

The Pinellas County voters deserve assurance that their supervisor of elections protects everyone's right to vote including the accuracy and recording of that vote. For that very reason, Pinellas County needs to change from the partisanship politics displayed by closing early voting locations, back to the spirit that every vote counts.

As covered in your newspaper, the incumbent supervisor of elections has fallen short through careless, avoidable partisan actions discouraging early voting, neglecting to count absentee ballots and losing track of absentee and provisional ballots. The incumbent's experience mentioned in your recommendation was described as "a bumpy ride" and her decisions made as "more for her convenience than for voters."

Pinellas County needs to change leadership. I will promote transparent operations, meaningful audits and accessibility to all voters, without secret software or outsourced operations.

Norm Roche

Democratic candidate for Pinellas County Commission District 5

These are indeed dramatic times. And I believe we're in need of well-informed leadership that isn't afraid to cause the status quo to be a little uncomfortable. District 5 voters have a choice between two qualified candidates. One is a 10-year politically accomplished incumbent who promises to pay attention "from now on," the other is a qualified new representative who will pay close attention from the start. It is time to replace long-sitting incumbents who make decisions based on what is in the best interest of their political career, with new leadership who will make decisions based on what is in the best interest of our county and our taxpayers.

I respect my opponent. But she is a long-sitting incumbent on a lock-step board that has produced a 96 percent, no-questions-asked unanimous voting record, costing Pinellas taxpayers millions in questionable dealings - one carefully timed opposition vote does not an independent leader make. I am honored to offer our voters a qualified option to business as usual in Pinellas County.

John Russell

Democratic candidate, U.S. House District 5

Unlike my opponent I am not a career politician. I am beholden to no one but you. I have not taken $148,000 from finance and insurance PACs. As a member of the House Finance Committee and three associated subcommittees the incumbent had nothing to say until America's unfolding economic collapse was fully under way. Experienced people have run our economy aground, and motivated people with fresh ideas are needed to save it.

As your representative, I will be engaged in the work of representing your interests in Congress, not those of the powerful. As a former financial adviser and as a nurse practitioner with an MBA, I have well developed proposals on most relevant issues in contrast to my opponent. I offer you a backbone as an independent-minded Democrat who has stood up for what is right and have the scars to prove it. I humbly ask for your vote.

Richard Emmons

TLP candidate, U.S. House District 9

Your editorial board endorsed all the incumbent candidates. Are they satisfied with the way Congress has conducted its affairs? By endorsing incumbents, your board supports a Congress that has kept our country in two "no-win" wars which we cannot afford; destroyed our housing and financial markets; left our borders unprotected; thrown our money at the problems they created; and catered to special interest groups.

My campaign and John Kaliminios' campaign were never mentioned. Are the members of the board afraid that voters might actually like our ideas? My campaign theme is "Term limits for Congress" which the board evidently thinks is a too-simple solution to our national problems.

Hopefully, my campaign will be supported by voters, not just a few editors who think they know more than the American public.