Thursday, December 21, 2006

Democratic Congresswoman Passed Over for DCCC Post

South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (see photo) was in contention to succeed Rep. Rahm Emmanuel as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). However, on Dec. 19th, Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen received the nod.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pinellas County Commission Crafting "Nice Campaign" Ordinance

Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel is leading a quixotic quest by crafting a "nice campaign" ordinance to reduce the venom and the negative and misleading attack we saw in some of last November's elections.

The ordinance would be voluntary and unenforceable except by public opinion and would take the form of a pledge that candidates would take.

Some of the proposed parts of the pledge include:

Reject campaign material that distorts or misrepresents facts.

Avoid unfounded accusations and innuendo about an opponent's
personal life.

Not make an opponent's race, gender, religion, disability
or sexual orientation a campaign issue.

Publicly repudiate the support
of any group or individual who resorts to such tactics
The ordinance is modeled on one passed in Broward County in 2000. It was sponsored by then County Commissioner Lori Parrish (now county appraiser).

"To be honest with you, it's a toothless tiger," Parrish said. "I don't think it accomplishes a whole lot."

Seel responded, "I don't have unrealistic expectations. I just hope that this will raise the bar and make people think about the kinds of campaigns they are running."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Helm Is Out

Ed Helm (see photo), the now former chair of the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) was voted out on Wednesday, December 13. He was replaced by teacher Toni Molinario.

Helm, a former mayoral candidate in St. Petersburg, was popular among progressives. However, as chair, he had difficulty navigating the waters. A PAC managed by his wife was accused of campaign finance violations, the state party withheld funds from the Pinellas DEC after Helm was accused of improperly taking sides in Democratic primaries, and candidates and elected officials visibly gave Helm and the DEC a wide berth.

"History tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand," Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch told the attendees. "Elected officials have avoided the DEC because of its circus atmosphere. The current leadership has fractured us, divided us. It is time for a change."