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Checks bouncing in wake of ex-school board hopeful

By SARAH SCHWEITZER, JEFF TESTERMAN and GRAHAM BRINK

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 29, 2000


Clarence White, the school board candidate who lost to Doris Ross Reddick earlier this month, is the candidate who keeps on bouncing.

Checks, that is.

In August, White bounced the $1,341.56 check he wrote for his qualifying fee to become a school board candidate. He was assessed a service fee of $67.08 and made good on the bounced check, securing his place on the Sept. 7 ballot.

On Wednesday, elections officials were notified that White's check for $67.08 also bounced. He now owes an additional service fee, which has not yet been assessed.

White also still owes the county $686.25 for turning in his contributions and expense report late. The report was due Aug. 4 and White turned it in Aug. 9. Supervisor of Elections Pam Iorio plans to forward the matter to the Florida Elections Commission.

"This is an unusual circumstance," Iorio said. "It doesn't happen with candidates."

But, she said, there is a lesson to be learned from White's financial troubles. "It can be expensive to run a campaign," Iorio said.

GREEN WITH SUPPORT: Pat Hannon, the Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Rob Turner for Hillsborough property appraiser, contends Turner holds little appeal for farmers or union workers.

In political fliers, Hannon attacks Turner's enforcement of greenbelt exemptions, saying he "forced farmers, dairymen and citrus producers to jump through hoops" to get back the valuable exemptions. Hannon said he even talked to the Hillsborough Farm Bureau about the problem.

Hannon also criticized Turner for limiting employee coffee breaks, blamed him for the suicide of a former staffer and concluded that Turner is "no friend of labor."

Apparently, the farmers and union workers don't agree.

Last week, the Farm Bureau, which represents some of the largest agricultural interests in the county, gave Turner's campaign $250.

Turner also was endorsed by the Tampa Firefighters Local 754, the Hillsborough County Firefighters and Paramedics, the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association and the West Central Florida Federation of Labor, an AFL/CIO umbrella group representing postal workers, ironworkers, printers, electricians, and plumbers and pipefitters.

Turner acknowledges his crackdown on greenbelt exemption abuses, "where someone has an orange tree or two in the back yard," but says he has also tried to "build a relationship with the agricultural community."

As for the labor unions, Turner said, "I think the working man realizes special interests are not getting any special favors from this office."

QUESTIONING HER CHARITY: The dormant race for Hillsborough public defender is beginning to stir. Republican contender Alan Sandler says incumbent Julie Holt is not complying with his public records request for information about how she distributed surplus office equipment to local charities.

Sandler says Holt, a Democrat running for her third four-year term, may not have followed the strict rules about how and when to distribute the equipment, such as computers. Whether she did or not, Sandler says he'll never know unless she hands over the records.

"Her delays makes no sense at all," Sandler said. "All the documents are in their filing cabinets."

John Skye, an assistant public defender and spokesman for Holt's office, wrote back to Sandler saying that his request was not specific enough. Skye said Thursday that the office has complied with Sandler's other records request and will comply with this one once he identifies what he wants.

Sandler says his request is simple and easy to understand. He intends to show up at Holt's office Monday afternoon to view the documents. If they are not made available, he said his only option is to file suit and let a judge decide.

-- Sarah Schweitzer, Jeff Testerman and Graham Brink were on Spin Patrol.

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