During the same week gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum approved of a controversial campaign advertisement attacking fellow democrat Gwen Graham, Mayor Andrew Gillum asked the City of Tallahassee Attorney Casandra Jackson if the city could keep a citizen from showing a 30 second video critical of a fellow elected official.
When the video began playing during an open microphone period of the May 9th city commission meeting, Gillum continued to interrupt the presentation and the video was stopped.
Dr. Erwin Jackson finished his interrupted three minute presentation with only comments.
“Do we have any obligation to show this?” asked Gillum.
The city attorney said yes.
Ultimately Gillum achieved his goal by not letting the video play. But he may have exposed the City of Tallahassee to a lawsuit.
The 30 second video, produced by Jackson, could be characterized as political satire aimed at City Commissioner Scott Maddox who has been targeted by the FBI in a pay for play scheme.
Jackson, who has been a thorn in the side of the city commission for years, has had various successes challenging the actions of city officials.
For example, he challenged the city’s support of a bio-mass plant and played a major role in the ultimate demise of the project that also raised ethical questions about city commission votes.
Jackson also exposed the private use of a city credit card by former Mayor John Marks.
But lately Jackson has become more embolden as the accidental leak of an FBI search warrant has verified many of Jackson’s allegations about Maddox and the city commission.
Until recently, the allegations have been routinely dismissed by city insiders as wild conspiracies.
But that has changed.
First, there was a lawsuit over Maddox’s residency. Jackson lost in court, but the FBI leak indicates Jackson’s claims had merit.
And second, he has repeatedly questioned Maddox’s behavior as a city commissioner and the current investigation has provided support for Jackson’s allegations.
It appears now, as Jackson continues to remind the city commissioners of his allegations and the current status of the FBI investigation, his 3-minute presentations are hard for elected officials to handle.
However, as newly appointed city attorney Cassandra Jackson told the elected officials, Jackson is well within his rights.
The only question now is if Jackson will file a lawsuit against Mayor Gillum for interfering with his rights to address elected officials.