Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Suit versus a Hat

The Tribune endorsed Chloe Coney today, as its pick for the Democratic Candidate for County Commission District 3.

Running against her is SE Seminole Heights own Kevin White. I know Kevin. He is my neighbor two blocks over. I thought Kevin had done a good job as City Council member.

Earlier this week I was prepared to publish an endorsement of Kevin. Then the story broke about Kevin's use of his campaign money to purchase suits to campaign in. The disturbing element of the story was the perceived attempt to disquise the purchases. This may have cost him the election. It has given me pause. I was very disappointed.

I like that Chloe Coney has been a neighborhood advocate. However, I was disappointed to read in the Trib that Coney was not going to take a stand on gay rights ""I'm not going to be sidetracked," said Democrat Chloe Coney, one of five candidates for the seat being vacated by term-limited Thomas Scott. "If we go and poll our community, [gay rights] would not be our top issue. We need to stay focused on what the community needs."

However, gay rights is an issue in this community of Seminole Heights.

I don't know Kevin's stance. However, he is surrounded by gay neighbors.

I am also concerned as to whether Chloe will pull a Gwen Miller. At election times when Gwen Miller was running for the city council seat that includes SE Seminole Heights, she'd be in the neighborhood, but after she won, you would never see her here. Frankly, in the larger scheme of things, SE Seminole Heights is a white minority neighborhood in the majority black East Tampa. A black former elected official told me that race was an issue in her lack of involvement with SE Seminole Heights. Chloe has already come to at least one Seminole Heights function (BGOSH meeting) After being elected would Chloe come to Seminole Heights and listen and represent us in addition to her majority constituents?

Kevin was in this neighborhood a lot before the election. He and his wife marched in drug walks
with us. After election I see him while walking my dog or at porch parties or other events. I know he is representing me because I can talk with him.

I think Kevin can represent Seminole Heights well, however I am going to hold off on making a recommendation until much closer to the election, to see what happens.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do we know Kevin's stance on anything?

Anonymous said...

Kevin is approachable & even though the "disguise" is the most disappointing part of the suit issue... I'll take him over the hat lady anyday.

Anonymous said...

I did not pull my Kevin White sign down yet. Something about this Chloe lady is not setting well. I think Scott hit the nail on the head. First of all, at this time of the year, just having read about Gay Pride, and the unfortunate stance County Commssion took on Gay pride, I am a little dissappointed that she sidestepped. I am afraid, that her intrest lies in the "true East Tampa" and not the entire district. Has she ever stepped foot in our neighborhood. Has she ever championed for a cause that would not only help black children or residents but also white children. Maybe it is the scary hats, but I have a feeling you would never see her here, she will stay hidden somewhere in East Tampa.

Anonymous said...

Either way we're screwed.

Anonymous said...

this suit issue is ridiculous. i could care less about it and i'm angry that it distracts from real issues

Anonymous said...

Really? You think spending campaign funds for one's personal wardrobe is ridiculous? Also his attempt to cover it up means he knew it wasn't exactly kosher. What are the real issues in your opinion? I'm curious.

Anonymous said...

the real issue here is we need to reformat the government.

purge, replace, reformat

Anonymous said...

her side-stepping on the Gay rights issue means that she is the typical east Tampa democrat that believes that the civil rights movement stopped with black people. I am sure that she is one of those Southern Baptist Bible thumpers. Kevin White is not much better. I scrated him off of my list over a year ago when he stomped out of a council meeting refusing to hear the invocation given by an atheist. I guess you have to believe in religion to count as a citizen in Mr. White's eyes.

Anonymous said...

no the Gay rights issue is not the MOST important issue BUT it is very important to our Gay neighbors. We owe them at least as much as they have contributed to us. Consistantly, gays in our community give much more than any the average citizen in time, energy, and money. Ms. Chloe may not think that this issue is the most important but I would be that she would certainly like to have some of their votes.

Anonymous said...

I think the prayer issue is a bit different. I am gay and agree with Kevin for stepping out of the meeting. Just my belief. I was taught to stand up to the world for God and I think that is what Kevin did! I applaud him for it.

Anonymous said...

Well anon 4:06, that's all fine and good but I don't think the Posse Comitatus is going to be able to pull that off before the next election.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:51. You said it..."just YOUR belief". Why is it so difficult for you religious wackos to understand that not everyone of us AMERICAN CITIZENS have the same beliefs??????????? and that we shouldn't be sidelined because we don't believe the way YOU DO??????? Freedom of religion also means Freedom FROM religion.

Anonymous said...

rolls eyes.......



what is the real issue here?
the groups of said people's who improve this neighborhood and recognition for that or being gay and living in seminole heights..or is it the clothes nazi's?
What are the parties beliefs and
what they claim to offer to this city as a whole should be something we consider ? hm?
I m just a voter ...

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate the main post here. It was informative and nuanced and will help me make a decision on election day. Thanks, Seminole Heights Blog!

Anonymous said...

6:34 anon, you are exactly correct. I agree 100%, as Americans we do have the opportunity to exercise Freedom of religion. So, If the previous poster, Kevin White, or I do not agree with yours we have the freedom to get up, excuse ourselves and leave the room. Thank you... Elvis has left the building!

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is a 3rd alternative. There is a third candidate DOROTHY NICOLLE ADMIRE www.avote4change.com, I have not heard much about her, but at least you know there are other options if you don't like any of the other choices.

Anonymous said...

At to her website at http://www.chloeconey.com/home, Chloe opens her site with the following quote "God gave me a Gift, the Will to use it, and a Neighborhood in which to practice . . . " This is truly scary. She is also married to a pastor and holds am aster's in biblical counseling from Florida Beacon Bible College. She received an honorary doctorate degree from Blessed Hope Bible College.

She is likely hiding judgmental horns under that hat. I think the third alternative posted above appears to be much better than the other two evils running.

Anonymous said...

I do think that we (through Scott and his Blog) have power! Scott I think you have the power to put together questionaires to send to the candidates to have them answer. I would love to have a side by side comparison. When I say you have power, I mean that your site is so well read and well respected a candidate would be foolish not to respond. When you consider the readership on this blog, in their district of interest, I think it would be an awesome service.

kelly said...

For a change, I'm in agreement with the Tribune on their choice for District 3. Chloe Coney is a warm, intelligent woman with a lot of conviction and a long history as a community activist in East Tampa. She listens and reasons well and I think she's capable of doing a far better job as a representative than her three oppenents in District 3. Kevin's a nice guy, I got to know him fairly well when we ran for office together in 2003. But he's always seemed a bit self absorbed with his "bling" and I think this latest imported suit scandal combined with other questionable decisions (asking for a raise as his first action on the Council) indicate that his priorities are screwed up. Admire has not impressed me as a candidate and is relatively new to the area.
Regarding the fear that Chloe is a bigot and wouldnt support gay rights: don't believe it. She's right in saying that the issue has been a distraction on the commission created to galvanize support from Eastern County conservatives. Gay rights is an important issue, but it would not be in the local spotlight if it wasnt for that library display. Chloe is an inclusive person not a moralist, but she's playing it political on a hot button issue. Before you condemn her for having "judgemental horns" under the hat, call her and talk with her and find out:813-610-0706.

Sara said...

Well stated. Dorothy has only lived in Hillsborough County since November. How can she possibly be familiar with all of the issues that affect District 3. Kevin cannot be trusted to correctly interpret the rules, even after they are explained to him. Chloe is a bright woman, who has not shown herself to be untrustworthy or prejudiced in any way. She worked tirelessly for the CDC. A friend who lives in Town and Country still remembers the volunteer work that Chloe and her husband, Ernest, did years ago when they lived on that side of town. Chloe lives to make the world around her better.

Anonymous said...

As long as she will actually leave her world to come to our every once and a while, I think she may be a viable candidate.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I couldn't believe some of the comments (assumptions)that I just read about Chloe Coney. Let's talk fact - I was there at the Tampa Heights Forum where the gay issue was raised. Chloe answered the question by stating that she would never have prejudice toward, or ostracize any group. She stated that she felt first hand the sting of prejudice, as she was one of the first to integrate high schools here in Tampa. She went on to explain that the gay issue can be used as a distraction or dividing issue in government or politics (because the government is here to protect and serve all of its residence) She then went on to explain that she would not be distracted from doing the work of a county commission, creating a strong community, and not casting moral judgements. The Trib quoted the last piece of the quote.

When it comes to making a decision about your next leader for district three, you should ask yourself - Who has done the most for my community, and Who has the respect of others to build consensus to champion my cause. For me, I will look at the fact that Chloe Coney has brought in over $30 million to East Tampa (that is Seminole, Tampa, Ybor, Belmont and Jackson Heights) She has brought in grants to partner with manufacturing companies in Ybor for job creation, and most recently is bringing Suncoast Credit Union to Hillsborough Ave(in Seminole Heights) She has organized drug marches, and rehabbed buildings to return respect and pride in our communties. Her record does not speak to casting moral judgements, but rather seeking to serve the community. This is the gift and choice she has made - to increase the quality of life for all residence in district 3, and bring hope to all residence regardless of race, creed, or social status. As suggested call Chloe or visit her campaign office to get more facts about her.

Anonymous said...

If Chloe or any other candidate believes discrimination is wrong then let them prove it in word and deed.

White folk, gay and straight marched and were injured and killed the cause of black civil rights. Where is the black community when it comes to gay rights? Answer that and you also have the answer for the AIDS epidemic in the black community.

Maybe Ms. Chloe needs to revise her agenda.

Anonymous said...

Kevin White too clotheshorsey, Admire too new, Coney too .. what? Just Coney doesn't hang a rainbow flag on her car antenna doesn't make her a homophobe, and she's right about 'the gay issue' being a stimulant for East Tampa religious conservatives. I take her at her word that she won't discriminate against any group.

Of course, if by 'discriminate' you mean 'refuse to take up the rainbow flag and run it across the barricades' it may be a different story.

Anonymous said...

No candidate will be perfect. But I welcome one that keeps an open mind and is not afraid to fight for quality of life issues. Don't let the signature hat fool you. Coney is a get in and get it done person. She is fearless and committed. Dif between she and Kevin is enormous. She is a working involved citizen, whose life is about improving her surroundings. She has a deep sense of community. Kevin is only in community service for the power, and anything he has ever done in the community has been done to enhance our opinion of him, not because he genuinely cares.

time4joy said...

"She is likely hiding judgmental horns under that hat."....WOOOOOOOOOWW! Was this comment not a judgement itself? It's amazing how people can request rights that they are not themselves willing to give! Wouldn't it be only FAIR for you to attempt to speak with a candidate & LEARN more FACTS before you start throwing around frivolous opinions?

Ispeak4me said...

In response to the following comment: "If Chloe or any other candidate believes discrimination is wrong then let them prove it in word and deed.

White folk, gay and straight marched and were injured and killed the cause of black civil rights. Where is the black community when it comes to gay rights? Answer that and you also have the answer for the AIDS epidemic in the black community.

Maybe Ms. Chloe needs to revise her agenda. "

CHLOE CONEY HAS A RECORD FOR CHANGE AND IMPROVEMENT...SIMPLY DOING A MINOR AMOUNT OF RESEARCH WILL SHOW THAT SHE IS VERY MUCH A LEADER OF DEEDS, NOT JUST WORDS! IT IS IMPORTANT AND UNDERSTANDABLE TO WANT A CANDIDATE WHO HAS YOUR CONCERNS ON MIND & HEART...HOWEVER, IT IS ALMOST FOOLISH TO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A PERFECT CANDIDATE WHO CAN TAKE ON EVERY SINGLE ISSUE THAT IS THROWN OUT THERE...AND ANY CANDIDATE FOOLISH ENOUGH TO CLAIM THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO CONQUER ALL IS LYING TO YOU. WE SHOULD LEARN TO RESPECT PEOPLE FOR THEIR HONESTY, DIRECTION & GOALS. AND JUDGING BY THE RECENT ARTICLES FROM THE ST. PETE TIMES, THOSE ARE 3 THINGS THAT MR. KEVIN WHITE JUST CAN NOT OFFER! IF HIS LACK OF INTEGRITY ALLOWS HIM TO SPEND MONEY MEANT FOR CAMPAIGNING ON EXPENSIVE RAGS THEN I CAN ONLY WONDER WHAT OTHER TRICKS HE HAS UP HIS $6,000 SLEEVES....PUN INTENDED!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, Check out this article from the St. Pete Times:

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/08/17/Opinion/Ferlita__Coney__Rodri.shtml

In relevance to this blog/our community it states:

"District 3 Democratic primary (central, east Tampa)

Chloe Coney's ethics, attitude and record of accomplishment far exceed what her main opponent, Kevin White, brings to the table. Coney, 56, retired recently as president of the Corporation to Develop Communities, where she helped attract millions in public and private investment to impoverished east Tampa. Her work to expand affordable housing, child care and family services in this predominantly black community has left a positive legacy for generations. She could build on that in public office.

White, 41, a Tampa City Council member, is an arrogant, ethically tone-deaf candidate who offers no agenda. East Tampa deserves and can do better. Another challenger, Dorothy Admire, a 39-year-old social worker and health services administrator, seems genuine. But Coney's record is unmatched. The respect she commands would draw more attention to Tampa's poorest neighborhoods. The Times recommends Chloe Coney in the District 3 Democratic primary for Hillsborough County Commission."

Anonymous said...

I try not to prejudge people too harshly, mostly because taken as individuals, they're always going to suprise you. However, in the case of elections, I'm being asked to vote for or against someone that I'll never really know. I hope I can be forgiven for falling back on general assumptions about people as a starting point with politicians.

As an open, unapologetic gay man, there are two groups of people I've learned to fear: 1) Evangelical Christians 2) African Americans. I don't think #1 requires too much explanation as Evangelicals are open, unapologetic believers in the complete lack of value in homosexual persons. Number two, however, might surprise some people.

You might be tempted to think that a group of individuals that have gone through a horrific past as the target of discrimination and institutional bias might have empathy for another such group. You'd be wrong. The African American commmunity (again, individuals are another issue) is one of the most homophobic I've encountered. Any slight I may suffer from them as a white homosexual is minor compared to what black homosexuals must endure.

When I learned that redistricting would place me in a majority black district, I pretty much gave up hope that gay & lesbian civil rights in our area would have a representative. Chloe may have done great deeds for her own community and I certainly agree they need and deserve a champion. But I am not tempted to think her political dodge is a cover for pro gay civil rights opinions. Just the opposite, I think she's hoping to get the gay vote that often goes to undeserving Democrats simply because the alternative is worse.

I respect the right of people in any group to hold whatever opinions they want about me. But I lament the irony that the largest gay and lesbian neighborhood in the city of Tampa is located in a district nearly guaranteed to produce one homophobic representative after another.

If I cannot vote for "none of the above" I'll vote for no one.

researcher813 said...

County Commission candidate Kevin White was unapologetic when first questioned about the expensive Italian suits he purchased with campaign donations.

But after a story appeared in the St. Petersburg Times detailing $6,100 paid to clothier Robert Ulysses Robins under the heading "Robbins Consulting," White said he decided to amend his campaign reports and pay for the suits himself.

"I wanted to clear up any ambiguity that may be surrounding my expenditures," he said Monday.

Campaign records show White, a former Tampa police officer and current City Council member, made three amendments to his finance reports on Aug. 9, the same day the Times published its story.

The three changes pertained to expenditures of $500, $1,600 and $4,000 paid to "Robbins Consulting, 4206 N 29th St., Tampa."

There is no such thing as Robbins Consulting. And 4206 N 29th St. is the home address of Robert Robins (with just one b), owner of BC Men's Wear, located at 1903 E Hillsborough Ave. Robins said last week he had no knowledge of "Robbins Consulting."

The original purpose listed for the $6,100 expenditures was "consulting services." White has now amended that to read consulting services and campaign attire, his campaign consultant Victor DiMaio said.

But in attempting to correct his financial records, White made several errors on the treasurer's report.

White changed the recipient to "Robbins Consulting or Robert Robbins, 2903 E Hillsborough Ave.," misspelling Robins' name and giving the wrong address for the clothier's business.

Still, White said his next campaign finance report will show he has donated $6,100 of his own money to cover the imported $500 Italian suits, tailored slacks, dress shirts and stylish ties.

White originally said that he considered the purchases within the letter of campaign finance law, calling Robins his "fashion consultant," who helped him make a good impression on the campaign trail.

"I don't see anything wrong with it because I'm using the items as I'm campaigning," he said at the time.

Florida law generally says acceptable personal expenses for a candidate are limited to travel, lodging and meals. The Florida Elections Commission helps determine if other expenditures are legal.

In related news, White is featured in the spring issue of the slick Tampa Bay's Best magazine under the heading "People With Style."

In a question-and-answer segment of the feature, the magazine asked White this: What is your greatest extravagance? His answer: Clothes and jewelry.

Anonymous said...

Wow! There were allegations of shady contributions when Kevin White ran for City Council! Did he ever clear this up???

Anonymous said...

Here's more information pertaining to the above post. This seems as bad as the suits.

seminole54 said...

I was tuning in to a radio debate this morning between Mr. White & Chloe Coney and I was very disappointed. Some of the callers voiced their concerns with the whole "suit" issue & Kevin White was very evasive. He never really acknowledged the incident & kept referring callers to read the Florida Sentinel. I for one, do not read the Florida Sentinel and thought it very arrogant and daring of him to repeatedly ignore the concerns of the people HE needs and wants to vote for him. How dare he pretend to be for the people if he is already refusing to acknowledge problems that are boiling over? While I have attempted to give him the benefit of the doubt I can not ignore his extreme lack of humbleness & sincere respect for the residents of District 3.

Sara said...

He has used the big money that he's collected from special interests to put a two-page ad in the Florida Sentinel and huge ads in La Gaceta, hoping to snare minority voters. I liked how he left early and answered questions from his car. It gave him the option of not getting a signal, should the need arise. I do have to agree with him that he is innovative!

Anonymous said...

This is unfortunate, As a white voter, I often feel left out as we select candidates for East Tampa. As we hear the praise of Chloe, what has been done for our neighborhood. How many jobs were created for white/Hispanic or other nationality workers, how many dollars went to white or non-african american owned business. While we talk minority for east Tampa, There are other races in this area. I have yet to hear her speak of another race. The Hillsborough Ave corridor has many Hispanic business. Lets make sure when we grow East Tampa it is all enclusive.

Anonymous said...

I am still up on the air regarding these candidates as we head into voting time. The Tribune had a great article in todays papers Metro section. Each candidate gives their position on several items. I must say, Chloe, who I had been supporting, looked like the least likely candidate. Admire, looks like the strongest. Just because she is new to the area, does not rule her out. I am thinking that is probably a good point, we need new direction and ideas. Kevin was still touting the old line about "Social Services and the Homeless" it is almost like a bad Miss America pagent where they all "want world peace". I would encourage all to read this article. It is an eye opener.

My Race is Not an Issue said...

Maybe Chloe doesn't mention race all the time because race is not as important to her as it is to YOU. Chloe has always strived to help PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the article mentioned by Anonymous 12:39. What is really scary to me is the proposed beltway. That does nothing good for District 3, or or for the city of Tampa, for that matter. I just listened to Jim Norman (a Ralph Hughes puppet)talk about the proposed beltway on Flash Point, which was aired on Channel 28 at 11:00 AM, today. The beltway, if built, would give Ralph Hughes and the developers an opportunity to create more sprawl and solve none of Tampa's transportation woes. And we would have to pay for it!

S. Setser said...

All I know is that I actually worked with Coney years ago and I have yet to come across any other person who was as objective and intelligent as she was. I think she will be a great Commissioner since I know she listens before she jumps to any conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Chloe is the best. I am going to vote for her today. I do not think that the article mentioned above makes Admire look like the better candidate. Admire decided to run for Commissioner after living in Hillsborough County for only five months. She STILL hasn't lived here a year. How can she know what we need. Kevin's the one that wants the beltway, which is a BIG waste of money. It's good for his big Republican developers, though.

democratrtp said...

I'm so tired of seeing Kevin White's signs everywhere, it's like he's trying to over do it and prove himself. Personally, I get the picture & I'm STILL NOT voting for the crook.

I find his slogan quite amusing..."Continued Committment" Maybe he should look into getting it altered... Continuing to Commit Fraud & Theft would be more like it. haha