LARGO – The examination of candidate campaign reports makes interesting reading. There is information to wonder about and exclaim about.
For example, with another reporting date due tomorrow, we already know that Pat Gerard, who is giving up what might be thought of as a safe seat on the commission to challenge Bob Jackson as mayor, has received contributions from 67 individuals.
Fine. What is unusual is that 50 of them – 75 percent – come from folks outside of Largo. Non-Largo people. What is their interest in Gerard becoming mayor?
An inspection of their possible connections reveals they have certain interests, if one connects the dots correctly. It’s that old “diversity” issue again, which really is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Most amazing of all is the two reports filed by Rodney Woods, a candidate for Gerard’s vacant seat.
His reports filed thus far list no expenditures whatever. This flies in the face of two mandatory fees that must be paid and raises the question of the cluster of signs promoting his candidacy that are sprouted all around his home.
One expense is the city’s “campaign assessment fee” which amounts to one percent of what a commissioner is paid, or $123. Then there is a small fee of $11 or so to the Supervisor of Elections. Both of these must be paid by the filing date which was December 31, 2005.
While there is no mention of these in Woods’s expenditure report there is no mention either of the provenance of the campaign signs. Somebody made them and they appear to be of professional manufacture quality.
Whether paid for in cash or given, they have to be listed as a campaign/expenditure in some fashion. No such listing appears.
There is a provision in the law where a candidate without funds can request a waiver or “pauper’s petition” to avoid the city and supervisor of elections fee.
According to Largo’s city clerk, who supervises the election locally, in respect to Woods, “The only fee due by the end of the qualifying was paid.”
Mysteriously, however, this does not show up on Woods’s expenditure report.
Where there is an omission in a report, an amendment is usually requested and filed. No amendments have been filed by Woods.
However, Jackson says that he has been “nit picked” and had to file amendments on both of his reports. He called some of the procedures “a mess” but did not directly blame the city clerk.
Ernie Bach, Woods’s opponent, says he has been deluged with requests from city hall to fix what he calls “small mistakes” that are “obviously irrelevant.”
The mystery is why such close attention is devoted to candidates who are known not to be favored by the city administration but those who are favored seem to go unbothered – the obvious lack of listing expenditures by Woods being a glaring example.
While candidates were allowed to post a brief statement and their photo on the city’s web site, Woods has not availed himself of neither opportunity, a strange happening for a politician.
Gerard was the leading fund raiser with $12,322 listed in her reports. Jackson, with a total of 55 contributors, most of them from Largo, listed $11,372 in contributions.
Gerard’s contributors are from Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, St. Petersburg (10), Tampa (4), Washington, D.C., Miami, Dallas and Longview, Texas, among other locations.
Few campaigns in Largo have been distinguished by nationwide contributions. Some observers say it makes them wonder.
Contributions to Ernie Bach, Woods’s opponent, and to Jean Halvorsen and Gigi Arntzen, follow the conventional pattern of past contribution lists in city elections.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition