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The Judgment Lapses of Andrew Gillum

September 13, 2018 - 2:00pm
Andrew Gillum
Andrew Gillum

As I wrote in last week's op-ed column, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum suffered a long roll-call of ethical lapses in just the past few years. Today, I want to share with you an assortment of judgment lapses that Andrew has left himself open to, because of either actions or inactions on his part.

But, before we get to this new laundry list of serious missed opportunities to show that he has neither the strength of character nor the depth of leadership required to be governor of Florida, I must pose a most obvious question:  Would Andrew Gillum even have been able to get re-elected as mayor of Tallahassee?


Barney Bishop
Barney Bishop

I say that as a 35-year resident in this city and someone who has been very active in business and political circles since I came to town in 1983.  

Andrew could not be re-elected to office because he abrogated his responsibility a long time ago to resolving the serious issues facing the capital city.

That’s the feeling of a large part of the Tallahassee business community who have previously backed him for local office, and if the locals aren’t supporting him, why should the Democrats be trying to foist him on the rest of the state?

The most significant issue is crime.
And since Andrew has been on the City Commission as both a commissioner and as mayor for a total of 14 years, he can’t say it started on someone else’s watch.

According to the crime statistics the state and feds put out annually, Tallahassee has led the state in violent crime for the last three years.  That’s three-quarters of his term as mayor.

During that time, Andrew has not offered up any serious proposal to combat the crime problem. In fact, the last time he asked the police chief to make a presentation to the City Commission about this ongoing issue, he simply asked operational questions.

And the questions were simple ones, such as, how did TPD interact with the Sheriff’s Office?  They were questions perhaps a novice city commissioner might ask, but certainly not someone who’s been in office for 14 years.

  • He didn’t suggest street lights so crime couldn’t continue to occur in the darkness.
  • He didn’t suggest building a police substation on the Southside to better fight crime and respond more quickly.
  • He didn’t suggest community policing teams so neighborhoods get to know their police officers from frequent interaction.
  • He didn’t even suggest Neighborhood Watch programs for the Southside.
  • He didn’t suggest anything.

But, Mayor Gillum supports automatic restoration of felons' rights as soon as they get out of prison -- before we even learn if they’re going back to a life a crime.

He supports radical bail bond reform, whereby no one has to put up any money to ensure they show up in court.

He supports legalization of marijuana as if that’s going to solve our incessant drug addiction and gang problem.

We all know that public safety is job No. 1 for local and state government.

So, what do we do when we have a gubernatorial candidate who doesn’t even have ideas on how to address crime in his own city, much less our state?

Judgment strike one.

Andrew’s best (former) friend is Adam Corey, lobbyist extraordinaire, who not only was the chief fundraiser for his mayoral election and his campaign treasurer, but also the chief corrupter once Andrew got elected.

In fact, Adam became the vice chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), now the focus of the FBI investigation into City Hall.

Andrew helped put Adam in as vice chair of the CRA. He also helped put Kim Rivers, also involved in the FBI investigation, in as chair and together they treated the CRA-taxpayer dollars as their own personal piggy bank to redevelop the Edison Restaurant for Adam and the Hotel Duval for Kim and her husband, J. T. Burnette.

Andrew also got Adam onto the board of the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority, where he has remained since the FBI investigation was revealed almost 18 months ago. Andrew has never asked Adam to step down from the DIA ,where he still sits today.

Judgment strike two.

When it comes to cutting expenses or raising property taxes, Andrew's judgment over the past four years clearly shows he believes in the tax-and-spend philosophy that has brought Connecticut, Illinois and New York to their fiscal knees.

Despite the best efforts of two grassroots groups in Tallahassee -- Budget Hawks and Citizens for Responsible Spending (Personal Note:  I’m the founder of CRS) -- to show Andrew and city commissioners that cutting expenses before raising taxes is the most logical way to go forward, Andrew refused even to consider cutting expenses.

Three times over three years he had a choice, and every time he increased taxes.

Judgment strike three.

One would think that a City Commission comprised of five Democrats would be a sea of shining success.

Think again.

Consistently, Andrew has taken actions like going on national television to embrace hundreds of displaced Syrians and inviting them to move to Tallahassee without even speaking with his other city commissioners in advance.

Grandstanding for sure to prove his “progressive” bona fides to Bernie Sanders, George Soros, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

Even worse was the admission at a monthly business lunch meeting that he had authorized the city manager to file the paperwork for a national grant to secure cameras for Tallahassee police officers without first securing the support of the other city commissioners.

This perpetual Lone Ranger behavior has earned the distrust of even his fellow Dems on the city commission. Though he is only a ceremonial mayor, his actions and inactions have portrayed Andrew to be untrustworthy of higher office.

Judgment strike four.

Oh, there are other transgressions that I could easily recount, such as his petulant, childish behavior with Gov. Rick Scott in the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine, when local authorities were unable to take command during recovery operations because Andrew inappropriately inserted himself into the decision-making process.

It exhibited his total lack of willingness to work with others to meet the needs of our citizenry during an emergency. While the county has learned and adopted suggestions to improve, the city has faltered.

Judgment strike five.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Andrew doesn’t play well with others.  He’s a lone ranger who helps his friends win contracts and gives them top-notch appointed jobs over public tax dollars, then watches as they pillar them for their own benefit and then refuses to call them out for their imprudence.

This isn’t what Florida needs.

He meets his minimum job responsibilities by attending commission meetings, but it’s all a façade, as he reaps the praises of the mainstream media but leaves Tallahassee with a rash of problems from his persistent lapses in judgment.

Andrew isn’t mature enough to be governor. He talks a great game, but so did Barack Obama, who, like Andrew, never worked a day in the private sector. 

On the public dole his entire adult life, never seeing a property tax he didn’t love to death, speaking admittedly eloquently about just causes, but not being able to solve those problems even in his own home city.

Andrew is clearly not ready for prime time.

Barney Bishop III, a conservative, is a former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party and is the president & CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting, LLC, a strategic public affairs firm based in Tallahassee.


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Tallahassee and Leon County had the opportunity to prove you right in the primary by not voting for Gillum. Andrew Gillum won Leon County. That says much more than this column of yours.

Leon County is liberal and decidedly votes a party line. It's a herd of sheep. Having two universities here doesn't mean people actually think.

So true Leon County is a tiny island of majority self defecating dyed in the wool Leftist liberal party line D voters in a sea of North Florida common sense mostly Republican proud Americans. Mindless Sheeple.

...oh and no disrespect intended to Ms. Leslie Wimes. I do enjoy and respect your fire and dedication to what you believe in. ***Thank you, Claude.***

Thank You for the information.

If investigations were indictments, Trump would be serving a life sentence. Perhaps you should be looking closer at your pals talking points data Barney, "Mayor Gillum has a record of making Tallahassee safer, As Mayor, Andrew Gillum invested in law enforcement and embraced criminal justice reform. His work helped achieve a double-digit drop in crime." Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren. According to Tallahassee Police Department data obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat, the city in 2018 has seen a significant decrease in crime across the board. According to the Democrat, the city's crime rate was down ten percent in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2017 — when crime overall hit a five-year low. And violent crime was down 24 percent. Gillum won the Tally mayor race in a landslide taking 76% of the vote, which is unheard of. You and many Republican cronies would not have been expected to vote for Gillum again, but you didn't anyway, but guess what Barney boy, the people sure did. Mr. Gillum has been a fixture in Tallahassee politics since 2003 holding public office continuously since then. The FBI has indicated to Gillum's attorney that he is not the focus of their investigation. For all we know Barney boy, it is you the FBI is looking at...

Explain the shooting every day and The two homicides the same week that acticla came out

Meanwhile, five shootings in the past three days and Tallahassee still leads the state in violent crime. "Significant decrease" is a relative term.

Now up to six killings

probably not really a Florida guy, probably from somewhere else or you would know that percentages are not relative as you say... Where did you get your 5 shootings info, certainly not posted anywhere in Tally...

Well said !!!!!

Anyone who begins with unproven slander of our President (without ANY specifics) is certainly set-up to tell "out-of-school" stories about Mayor Gillam. Tallahassee is a very small town for a very large state. As such, it's a POLITICS TOWN, with local affairs relegated to "suck hind tit". Nobody in Florida really CARES about Tallahassee or its mayor. The fact is, he was simply in the right place at the right time to get nominated. Does he know ANYTHING about running anything larger than 200K "residents", many of whom have FAR greater political expertise than he? Gillam is following his instincts to be a DEMOCRAT and attempt to coerce enough black and Hispanic voters to join in with the young Socialists and Rich and Retired NY Lawyers and bankers in South Florida. He is a really bad choice.

Yup a really bad choice, my choice is John James, now I can't list spacific charecter achievements, but alas Mr James presented himself as a hard worker a black man who seems to really care about Florida and it's residents, he certainly deserves a chance, we couldn't be any worse off!!!!!

spoken like a good party sheep. Gillum actually has as much or more experience than 2 of the last 3 Gov.'s. Whether he is a good choice or not, at least make your own decisions a=instead of what FoxNews and the pundits tell you too...

Our current governor ran hospitals and he has done a great job as governor. I have faith Andrew can do the same.

I grew up in Florida, got degrees at FSU and UF. All my college-educated friends left this state for cities on the West or East Coast. Remind me how Rick Scott has created well-paying jobs for native Floridians?

So, when do we get a partisan Democrat hit-piece on DeSantis? This is just partisan garbage masquerading as "intellectual analysis" with a false claim of substance and importance because it's written by "a former Democrat"! Even wackadoo Trump was "a former Democrat". Wouldn't surprise me if DeSantis was, too, when he was at Yale and Harvard! Political opportunism and pure propaganda.

from this partisan rag blog? good luck... It is a frequent spectacle for comic relief though...

Great you are commenting on this Barney, but does DeSantis actually have a campaign? Why arent we hearing this from him?

Sometimes,... ''A man needs to understand his limitations.'' Provided he's capable of forming rational thoughts, that is.

Addit, his Tax the rich and blow it all, is a racist as you can be. Takin it from da Man, stickin it to da Man.

But he can do community organizing?? ha ha

Apparently, Gillum feels he too can be a mere community organizer, then jump to POTUS :)

Well, it worked for Obama

That's the only thing that worked for Obama. Today he's irrelevant. Obama has zero influence and no one to blame but himself.


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