The Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper, recently endorsed Mayor Andrew Gillum for governor without addressing the crime problem that has plagued Tallahassee during Gillum’s time as a city commissioner and a mayor.
One of the most important functions of Tallahassee city elected officials is approving the budget and policies for the Tallahassee Police Department.
Records show that after Gillum and the city commission ignored pleas for help from law enforcement officials from 2009 -2013, Tallahassee went on to lead the state in crime rate from 2014 -2017.
Just last week FBI records show that Florida State University led Florida college campuses in crime in 2017. FSU also led the state in 2016.
The Tallahassee crime problem, and Gillum’s role in the issue, has been highlighted in the campaign for governor by his opponent, Republican Ron DeSantis.
However, the endorsement says nothing about the issue.
In fact, the endorsement does not highlight any accomplishments or challenges that occurred during Gillum’s 15-year career as an elected city official in Tallahassee.
On the FBI investigation of local corruption in Tallahassee, the TBT board writes that “Gillum denies any wrongdoing and offers reasonable explanations about publicly reported trips and expenditures.”
In the end, the endorsement of Gillum is less about Gillum and more about the editorial board’s current assessment of Florida Republicans.
From the editorial:
As governor, he could set spending priorities. He could veto state budgets that starve public education or divert money from affordable housing and environmental preservation. He could insist on spending more on mental health and less on corporate welfare.
Unlike DeSantis, Gillum also would block the Legislature’s attacks on individual rights from becoming law. He would veto new restrictions on abortion, attempts to make it harder to vote and punitive measures aimed at the poor. He also could reject the Legislature’s efforts that would erode the power of local governments and increase health care costs under the guise of promoting free markets.
It’s time to reset Florida’s state government after two decades of Republican control. Gillum’s upstart campaign energizes younger voters, and he offers new energy and a fresh approach. For governor of Florida, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Andrew Gillum.
Read full editorial here.