© St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000
The Times offers candidates not recommended by its editorial board an opportunity to reply. Here are some of those replies.
Michael J. Robinson
No-party candidate for sheriff
Rather than presenting the voters of Hernando County with the facts on which to base their decision in the sheriff's race, the writer of Nugent gets nod, presents the public with Sheriff Tom Mylander's rubber stamp. Enough said!
The real issue was omitted: protecting you and your family. Hernando County must be able to adapt to the changes that come with growth while serving the community efficiently and effectively. I have proposed the following public safety platforms:
A strong civil service program for the employees of the sheriff's department.
Police Athletic League will be instituted for our youth.
Code Enforcement will be under the management of the sheriff's department.
Illegal drug use and sales will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Traffic laws will be enforced to ensure the safety of our citizens.
Crimes against children and our seniors will be a priority.
Special counsel to assist parents with troubled youth.
Command personnel of the sheriff's department will hold monthly meetings with citizens.
Full cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies will be the policy.
Budget integrity (accountability of your tax dollars).
Crime prevention programs will be enhanced; a neighbor-to-neighbor program will be reviewed for implementation.
I have 35 years in law enforcement, some in command positions, both with the city of Philadelphia and with the federal government. I have been there and done that. Politics has no place in law enforcement. Let's stop allowing our deputies to be second-class citizens. Your safety is priority No. 1.
Elect Michael J. Robinson as your sheriff. Leadership you can trust.
James E. 'Eddie' McConnell
Democratic candidate for sheriff
Thank you for your kind words and the opportunity to respond to your endorsement for sheriff. I agree that administrative and leadership abilities are very important skills for your sheriff to possess. I have gained those skills through supervisory and leadership roles, as well as training and teaching middle management law enforcement personnel.
My platform differs from administrative tunnel vision and focuses on the peripheral views, which are the employees of the department and the citizens we serve. It takes more than administration skills to serve as sheriff; it takes proven people skills, as well as understanding the diversity of the county, east to west, north to south, and the young and elderly.
I acquired this understanding through countless hours, on and off duty, listening closely to the views, suggestions and concerns of citizens. I have taken steps to address your concerns, incorporate your suggestions, and to show an earnest appreciation of shared views. This has been my constant, proven, professional attitude and will continue to be, not just during an election year.
We must have the partnership of the community to successfully prepare for the future of Hernando County.
My campaign endorsements do not consist of PAC money or special interest groups; it consists of volunteer, grass-roots, door-to-door efforts.
As your sheriff, I will have a "door-to-door policy" -- my door or yours.
I know that communication is the key to effectively understanding, educating and servicing the needs of the public.
Your vote and support on Nov. 7 will ensure my continued service to you, the people.
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