Editorial: Every picture tells a (fake) story

Published Feb. 20, 2015

If you want some idea of how a candidate would govern, look at how she campaigns. It's not a pretty picture for Jackie Toledo.

The Tampa City Council candidate appears in a commercial talking to construction workers on Interstate 275. Toledo said she "was just doing research" on the $215 million road project and a friend whipped out a hand-held camera. No big deal.

Problem is, her campaign did not get permission from the Florida Department of Transportation to shoot video in a restricted work zone. Nor did it provide the required proof of $1 million in liability insurance. As to Toledo's claim that the visit was spontaneous, the video shows her wearing a pink hard hat, holding what appears to be blueprints under her arm and pointing off in the distance like Gen. George Patton to direct the attention of a uniformed road crew.

This was simply another effort by the campaign to tie Toledo's engineering background to the issue of traffic congestion. Never mind that Toledo has not offered any serious solutions. The video image also was included in a campaign mailing.

Why anyone running for a West Tampa seat would want to be associated with a road project that has shut down major parts of the district is anybody's guess. In May, five photography experts told the Tampa Bay Times that it appeared Toledo's picture was digitally pasted over a photo of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn at City Hall. At least this time Toledo was actually at the spot being photographed. But her attempt to enhance her resume was just as misleading to voters.