Signs point to dirty tricks in City Council election

Published February 20, 2007

TAMPA - City Council candidate Gwen Miller's front yard has never seen so much dirt.

She woke Monday to find campaign signs along her driveway plugging her five opponents.

Her own campaign sign had a note attached to it with a rumor romantically linking Tampa police Chief Stephen Hogue with his department's spokeswoman, Laura McElroy.

Hogue, in a written response Monday, called the rumor completely false, and "a desperate attempt to sway voter attention away from the real issues that affect our citizens and community." McElroy said the note was politically motivated and hurtful.

Miller's husband, Les Miller, a longtime politician who served 14 years in the state Legislature, called the incident scary.

"For someone to actually come in our yard and do this. ... What's next in the plan?" he said, wondering what might have happened had he caught the person in the act.

Miller said he was on his way to work when he saw the signs. He noticed some of his wife's signs and a Mayor Pam Iorio sign in the street. When he went back out 30 minutes later, Miller said, the Iorio sign was gone, leading him to believe he was being watched.

Miller said he doesn't want to leave his wife alone until after the election March 6.

"I don't feel safe," said Gwen Miller, who is seeking re-election to the District 1 City Council seat.

Tampa police are investigating to determine who trespassed on the Millers' property.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or 813 226-3401.