Monday, February 2, 2015

Big Money In Little Belle Isle [UPDATE]

It seems we are in for another Belle Isle election cycle with political operator Doug Guetzloe. Mr. Guetzloe has been regularly appearing on community Facebook pages and strongly urging support for Belle Isle City Council candidate Larry Miles.

Many of you probably remember Doug Guetzloe as the author of the attack mailer against City Council candidate Sue Nielsen in last year's election. You can read more about Mr. Guetzloe's involvement in the 2014 Belle Isle election in the articles linked below.

Who is Doug Guetzloe?

Who Is Doug Guetzloe? - Part II

Where Is All This Money Coming From?

Although "Ax the Tax" is a registered Florida PAC, Mr. Guetzloe utilizes a simple strategy to avoid revealing the identity of his donors and details of his expenditures. He repeatedly violates the law by not filing the required financial disclosures, then pays the resultant fines, presumably using excess funds contributed by his donors. Mr. Guetzloe's PAC records can be found by searching for "Ax the Tax" through the below link:

Florida Division of Elections Campaign Document Search

Because Mr. Guetzloe does not file the required income or expenditure reports for his PAC, there is no way to know where his funding comes from or how it is spent. Residents are understandably concerned about the serious impact Mr. Guetzloe's PAC could have in a small town like Belle Isle. Many have already begun seeing signs of Mr. Guetzloe's big money campaign strategies in Belle Isle, with the recent mailers performing voter research and requesting funding for Mr. Miles' campaign, as well as the city-wide robocalls from market research firm GMI.

GMI is the source of the "survey" robocalls made to residents throughout the City over the past week, requesting information regarding which candidate you will support in the upcoming Belle Isle election. The questions in Mr. Miles' recent mailer are even more pointed, and the collected data will allow the candidate's message to be individually tailored to match the political views of each respondent.

True to the form of our last Belle Isle election involving Mr. Guetzloe, his preferred candidate and core supporters are now spreading rumors and innuendo that the Belle Isle Police Department will be defunded and/or destroyed by a vote in the wrong direction on March 10. However, anyone who regularly attends City Council meetings can tell you that the entire Council supports the Belle Isle Police Department. No member has ever proposed a reduction in the BIPD's funding, let alone elimination of the department.

In fact, the original decision to buy property for establishment of the BIPD on November 24, 2008 was authorized by two of our present Commissioners, Lydia Pisano and Harvey Readey. Commissioner Larry Ady was also on the Council at that time, but was absent for the November vote.

I am proud to live in Belle Isle, where elections aren't ruled by big money tactics and rumor mongering, but by residents' careful evaluation of the facts about each candidate. I urge you all to consider each candidate's history, ideas and qualifications and use your independent judgment to decide who will best serve you and our City.

UPDATE 2/3/15:

Correction, the date of the original Council decision to buy property for establishment of the BIPD was November 5, 2008. The decision was authorized by present Commissioners Lydia Pisano, Harvey Readey and Larry Ady.

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