Monday, March 10, 2014

Who Is Doug Guetzloe? - Part II [UPDATE]

This morning, I received an email from Doug Guetzloe, founder of the Ax the Tax PAC. As you may be aware, Mr. Guetzloe is not a Belle Isle resident, yet he recently sent out an attack ad in support of Belle Isle vice-mayor Eric Spaulding. To ensure that Mr. Guetzloe has a fair chance to explain his role in the 2014 Belle Isle City Council election, I have included his email in its entirety below:



Dear Jeremy:

In response to your 'editorial' attacking my credibility I would offer the following observations.

Ax the Tax has been involved in local politics since 1982. Surprised you had not heard of Ax the Tax or me, but that speaks volumes in and of itself.

Ax the Tax has many Belle Isle supporters who had asked for recommendations on the local races. This is a normal process and we usually make recommendations in local, regional and state races.

I have not spoken to or met any of the candidates involved in the race and obtained information from local media and public records in determining to send out the post card.

As for the two legal issues you mentioned, in the first misdemeanor issue over the disclaimer, the law that I was charged with was declared unconstitutional by the Federal courts and affirmed by the US Supreme Court. Interestingly, you being an attorney, chose to leave that little item off your editorial.

As for the second misdemeanor issue, I was charged with failing to FILE a tax return, nothing more, nothing less. Having not signed two tax returns by the deadline is a criminal offense. All taxes were paid, inspite of your implication otherwise.

Neither issue is relevant to Ax the Tax but is certainly relevant to the recent disclosures of over zealous prosecution of anti-tax and Tea party activists.

Regardless, my actions are not in question here, the actions of one candidate who chose to deceive the voters is clearly an legitimate political issue for debate and discussion.


Doug Guetzloe
Founder & Chairman
Ax the Tax




Below is a copy of my response to Mr. Guetzloe:



Mr. Guetzloe,

I have reviewed the information you provided. Everything in my recent article appears consistent with your statements, but I have posted your reply in its entirety in order to supply readers with the additional information you have offered.

While I appreciate your carefully composed email to me, it does not address any of the real issues raised in my article. If you have a chance, could you respond to the below questions? I'd be happy to post your answers if you would like.

1. Because you regularly fail to file campaign finance reports for Ax the Tax, voters have no way of determining who funded this recent attack ad. Did you fund it personally or did someone at Belle Isle City Hall contribute to your PAC for this mailing?

2. Given your significant history in local politics, you must get asked for political recommendations from people across Central Florida. Are your PAC's present campaign efforts limited to Belle Isle or has your PAC sent out campaign literature in the 2014 Edgewood election, Winter Park election, or any of the other Central Florida elections going on right now?

3. Your affiliation with the National Taxpayer Union demonstrates that you are in favor of lower taxes, smaller government, and accountability from public officials. I wholeheartedly agree that these are extremely important values, especially in a small town like Belle Isle which has spent nearly all of its once-plentiful city reserve fund, obscured an increase in taxes by separating out residents' waste management fees, changed meeting times and announcements to prevent residents from attending, and dramatically increased the size and payroll of our city government. Given your dedication to the above values, can you explain why you are supporting a candidate who has never spoken out on any of these issues while opposing a candidate whose platform is centered on curtailing wasteful spending in Belle Isle and increasing the accountability of our city government?

Thank you again for contacting The Belle Isle Sun. I hope to hear back from you in the near future.

Regards,
Jeremy Weinsier



[UPDATE: 3/10/14]

Below you can find Mr. Guetzloe's responses to my questions:



1. Because you regularly fail to file campaign finance reports for Ax the Tax, voters have no way of determining who funded this recent attack ad. Did you fund it personally or did someone at Belle Isle City Hall contribute to your PAC for this mailing?

The reports that you refer to were all "waivers" - in other words no funds were collected or expended during those specific reporting periods. It was my error that they needed to filed to show that nothing was collected or expended during those reporting times.
The informational mailer that was sent out was done with my own funds. No one contributed to its dissemination.


2. Given your significant history in local politics, you must get asked for political recommendations from people across Central Florida. Are your PAC's present campaign efforts limited to Belle Isle or has your PAC sent out campaign literature in the 2014 Edgewood election, Winter Park election, or any of the other Central Florida elections going on right now? 

I make personal recommendations in many election cycles but normally in the primaries and general elections later in the year. The Belle Isle post card was the only municipal election that Ax the Tax has participated in to date. In the past we have been involved in Edgewood, Winter Garden, Orlando, Winter Park, Apopka, Belle Isle, Kissimmee, St.Cloud and Windermere.

3. Your affiliation with the National Taxpayer Union demonstrates that you are in favor of lower taxes, smaller government, and accountability from public officials. I wholeheartedly agree that these are extremely important values, especially in a small town like Belle Isle which has spent nearly all of its once-plentiful city reserve fund, obscured an increase in taxes by separating out residents' waste management fees, changed meeting times and announcements to prevent residents from attending, and dramatically increased the size and payroll of our city government. Given your dedication to the above values, can you explain why you are supporting a candidate who has never spoken out on any of these issues while opposing a candidate whose platform is centered on curtailing wasteful spending in Belle Isle and increasing the accountability of our city government? 

I'm actually not supporting Ms. Nielsen's opponent (whom I have never met or spoken to). I simply pointed out what I considered an anomaly that is paramount to elected representation as a cornerstone to the establishment of the Republic. One cannot serve two masters, nor live in two locations. I simply pointed out what I considered a discrepancy, nothing more, nothing less. Ax the Tax has always fought for lower taxes, less government and greater individual freedom and generally support candidates who espouse those beliefs.



And one more response from me (I know this is getting long...):



Mr. Guetzloe,

Your commitment to spending personal funds to protect our Republic is laudable, albeit unnecessary in this case. The Belle Isle City Charter, our City's "constitution," spells out the requirements for serving on the Belle Isle City Council. It requires that a City Council member be a resident of his or her district throughout her term of service.

There is no issue here, since Mrs. Nielsen's move from her daughter's house on Nela to her new home in district 7 is already complete. Her new home is deeded and homesteaded. Her drivers license and voter registration are updated. She had to have the entire house re-plumbed, and there's still more work to do, but I'm sure her neighbors aren't complaining about the improvements. In fact, she's there right now if you're looking for her. Look for the house with the orchids out front.

It is unfortunate that you "have not spoken to or met any of the candidates involved in the race and obtained information from local media and public records in determining to send out the post card." While you are certainly not required to pick up the phone, you could have saved yourself quite a bit of personal expense if you had you simply contacted Mrs. Nielsen prior to sending your attack ad. She could have directed you to the relevant portions of the Belle Isle City Charter and provided the information you needed to assure yourself that that the Charter was not being violated in any way.

If there had been any reason to disqualify Sue Nielsen from this election, I guarantee you that City Attorney Frank Kruppenbacher would have found it when Mayor Brooks requested that he do so immediately after Sue Nielsen announced her candidacy.

On a related note, I would like to see the campaign finance report showing your personal contribution for the attack ad against Sue Nielsen. Would you mind providing that to me?

Regards,
Jeremy Weinsier



For more information about Doug Guetzloe's involvement in Belle Isle politics, please continue reading:

Big Money In Little Belle Isle


4 comments:

  1. Mr. Guetzloe support for Eric Spaulding tells us that big money and or power is behind getting Mr. Spaulding reelected. Sue Nielsen and Ed Gold will help the conservative minority on the council to become the majority l resulting in reduced taxes without sacrifice of essential services. A conservative government will achieve a large cash reserve enjoyed by the city.

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  2. City Hall wants to make sure they stay in power at no cost! Makes you wonder who the sponser(s) for the huge expense of glossy post cards and telephone calls are; they may be the likes of Doug Guetzloe!

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  3. Doug Guetzloe has saved us billions in tax dollars by leading the axe the tax group. I'd trust his views any day.

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  4. Can't comment on this right now, on my way to vote for Sue Nielsen!

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