Campaign ethics on track


Published: Monday, May 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 30, 2006 at 11:53 p.m.
Nonelected officials should be allowed to support candidates without public scorn.
In response to The Sun story of April 22, "Boyd wades into politics, backing School Board members in races," thanks to Dr. Dan Boyd for opening up this political debate. Dr. Boyd's decision, according to some, may be "unique locally," but he is not an elected official. His decision to back School Board members does not even come close to, much less fall short of, an ethical violation in my opinion.
But if some people think that his decision is bordering on the unethical, then, my question is: Why is it bordering on the unethical for a non-elected official to support the candidate of his/her choice openly, when some elected officials themselves indulge in this practice? This is where the question of ethics should be raised.
Even though Florida Statutes, or the Ethics Commission may not have addressed the issue as it pertains to elected officials. It most certainly should for the sake of ethics if nothing more.
I was an elected official for 12 years, and never participated in local campaigns because, in my heart and mind, I knew that to do so would be unethical. What is most disturbing is here in Alachua County in particular, some candidates will even use your name in endorsements without your authorization, while some elected officials will actually campaign and contribute to candidates, as well as candidates who are presently in office.
To go even further, when you have a current state representative who declared that he walked door to door against another candidate, that is the epitome of unethical conduct.
Also at the bottom of the pit, and extremely obnoxious, is for your phone to ring at dinnertime, or at any time, and on the other end of the line campaigning for one candidate against another is the voice of a current county commissioner. This type of behavior should be unacceptable to all of us.
I certainly would like to see a state representative from this district in Tallahassee who will at least set an example for others to follow. Among his or her list of priorities should be to make some much needed amendments to the Florida Code of Ethics for elected officials, as it pertains to the appropriate conduct on campaign participations. This is needed for the entire state of Florida, but particularly in Gainesville and Alachua County.
Barbara Sharpe is a retired School Board member who lives in Gainesville.

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