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Personal mailings touting a District 45 candidate may have violated election law

Betty took a blue pen, a piece of ripped-out notebook paper and began her plea to a Pasco voter she's never met.

"This is a first for me. I have never written a letter like this before," she wrote in the small, careful cursive of a grandmother. "A friend of mine is named Fabian Calvo and he is running for the Florida House of Representatives in this district."

She went on to state Calvo's attributes - he's a businessman, good dad, puts America first - and ended with her request:

"I hope you will vote for him."

Signed, Betty.

No last name, no return address on the envelope, no disclaimer. Betty's letter simply carried a personal, authentic touch - and was part of an effort by around 20 campaign volunteers, who say they've written up about 2,000 of similarly worded letters on behalf of Calvo, one of three Republicans running for the House 45 seat.

The letters, however, may have violated state election law, which says political advertisements must carry who-paid-for-this type disclaimers and appear on expense reports.

Read more here:

--Jodie Tillman, Times Staff Writer

Posted by tampabaycom at 10:27:34 AM

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Alliance for Florida picks its candidates

The Alliance for Florida, a political action committee spearheaded by developer Don Phillips, hosted an event for its endorsed candidates at the waterfront home of Phillips on Friday. Phillips touts the group as a nonpartisan group simply interested in good political leadership. "You can complain about things or you can get up and do something. We want to be doers," Phillips said before introducing to the candidates to a packed house. The chosen candidates are a bipartisan bunch -- sort of. Of the nine, two are Democrats: Valerie Goddard, a candidate for Hillsborough County Commission: and Darryl Rouson, who's running for the District 55 state House seat. However, there are no Republicans in either race. Of note, though: The Alliance for Florida chose Goddard, a political newcomer, over sitting county commissioner Kevin White and former state Sen. Les Miller. The other endorsement worth noting: The Alliance is backing Trey Rustmann in his run for the District 1 Hillsborough County Commission race. His opponent in the primary: Sandy Murman, who's actually listed as a member of the Alliance's advisory board. Other Alliance board members include Republican party activist Hoe Brown, former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco and Hillsborough County tax collector Doug Belden.

Here's a list of the remaining candidates they've endorsed: Pam Bondi for Florida Attorney General; James Grant in the District 47 state House race: Mark Sharpe for the District 7 Hillsborough County Commission seat: Kathryn Starkey for the District 45 state House seat; Dana Young in the District 57 state House race; and Jack Latvala, in the District 16 state Senate race.

Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer

Posted by tampabaycom at 01:27:50 PM

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Proponents of Hillsborough sales tax launch television ad


With ominous music in the background, the narrator tells viewers: "For 25 years we've done nothing about traffic, congestion, frustration. Now Hillsborough is dead last in transportation." Then the happy music kicks in, while the voice over promises that a proposed 1 cent sales tax will solve the problem by paying for roads, buses, light rail and pedestrian walkways; create tons of jobs; and keep tax dollars local. It's the first television ad for Moving Hillsborough Forward, the group pushing for passage of a referendum on the tax in November.

The ad starts running today, and will run for two weeks on cable and broadcast stations. "This ad campaign is just the first of significant media buys, and we plan to continue to increase our communication to voters in frequency and outreach between now and Nov. 2," said Margie Martin, a spokeswoman for Moving Hillsborough Forward.

Tomorrow, Mayor Pam Iorio, a Democrat and one of the most vocal champions of the tax, is scheduled to speak to the New Tampa Republican Club about the initiative.

Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer

Posted by tampabaycom at 05:48:52 PM