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Spelling gaffes should be lesson to candidate
Published March 7, 2008
Pasco School Board candidate Peter Hanzel's platform includes increased opportunities for high school ROTC, college preparation, an agricultural curriculum and vocational training. A greater emphasis on the English language might be just as appropriate for the public-office hopeful.
Hanzel's Web site Vote4PeterHanzel.com posted a news release recently that included the District 2 candidate's 10 key points for his campaign. Unfortunately, four of the 10 planks included misspelled words and three of the four goofs were hard to miss because they were in all uppercase letters.
Hanzel said he wanted board meetings to be "telivised" and agricultural "educatonal" programs at all grade levels. He said the district must prepare students for "collge" and promised time to listen to faculty, students, parents and "administers."
Spelling isn't the only area that needs improvement. Subject and verb agreement lacked, as well.
"Yes, I, Peter Hanzel am retired and therefore has the time to listen," the statement reads.
Hanzel, we must note, is not a fringe candidate. He is active in the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce, serves on his neighborhood's Community Development District board, is a member of the school district's visioning committee, and is a civic booster for better mass transit service in central Pasco. Hanzel is in a three-person contest with Kurt J. Conover and Joanne Hurley in what is anticipated to be a highly competitive race to succeed Marge Whaley, who is retiring after 16 years on the Pasco County School Board.
However, the sloppiness surrounding Hanzel's platform statement detracts from the message it contained. There is no easier self-destruction method for a political campaign than a candidate's propensity for sticking a foot in the mouth, or in this case, tapping a foot on the keyboard.
After Times staff writer Jeffrey Solochek highlighted Hanzel's errors in the Web log, the Gradebook, (blogs.tampabay.com/schools) and in this newspaper, the proofreaders went to work. By late Wednesday morning, most of the errors had been corrected. "Educatonal," however, remained in the third of his 10 points. By Thursday, it, too, had been fixed.
Hanzel said the statement was a rough draft and not meant for posting. He accepted responsibility for the gaffe. He should. The bottom of the news release includes the familiar language "political advertisement paid for and approved by Peter Hanzel."
It is a good lesson for candidate Hanzel. Using the computer's spell-check function should become part of his platform. It would be a smart way to demonstrate the ability to make better use of available resources.