Timkin, your remarks are very kind and I shared them with Glorious last night. Matt, I have spoken with Councilwoman Johnson and suggested that she not give any endorsements prior to the March 22ND date. This does not mean she will not later in the game, she just is not going to do so at this point.
Now with regard to the Ethics issue. I had a private meeting with Mike Hogan this past Monday because I had several questions and concerns that I wanted to discuss with him. I found Mike to be open, gentle and willing to reply to every query I had. I also saw first hand why so many people hold him in high esteem. He is a kind person who is polite and was very attentive to everything I had to say, looking me straight in the eye with every answer. He is a true southerner who speaks slowly and to the point. I now understand why people who oppose him have been so quick to cast the judgement that he is not quick on his feet. He is not a trained debater like those who have made a life in the law field, but weighs an issue, mulls it over, applies some common horse sense and then responds. This may put him at a disadvantage in open debates, but it should not imply he is not seriously considering the issues. I have found out that he clearly does.
Here is what he had to say about the issue of Ethics. First he pointed out that you Matt had worked very hard to see the issue of Ethics and local reform brought into city discussions a long time ago and he praised your efforts. Secondly I learned that when Mike Hogan was a Florida State Representative in 2002-2003
he was the chair of State Ethics & Elections as well as being Vice Chair of Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations, Business Regulation, State Administration and Energy. Hogan is clearly a person to whom Ethics is important and his record shows his involvement. What I am realizing is that people may have been reading certain things into Hogans initial campaign statements and reacting to them depending upon what they thought he meant. I think this happens to all candidates especially in the eyes of those who are supporting someone other than himself. I discussed with Mike at length the legislation that Councilwoman Glorious Johnson had gotten passed as well as the hard work of the Ethics Commission and Carla Miller. We discovered that his thoughts on the issue were right in line with what was already happening. He does not want to disban the Ethics Commission and as mayor wants to work to insure that the folks who sit on that commission are independent and fair minded. Secondly, he feels that the position of Ethics Officer can be funded in another manner (which he explained in detail) and that he wanted Ms. Millers office have the latitude to operate independently of City Officials and speculated that the position would be best served by being made a part of the IG's office. He also noted that Ethics would now be in the charter where it belonged. He will be speaking directly to Carla Miller regarding everything ethics in the near future.
In short I am not trying to suggest whom anyone should vote for, but I will say this. I believe Mr. Hogan has been truly misrepresented in many ways and vilified in others. One thing he is firm about is that he will not personally attack or speak ill of the other candidates, nor does he allow that in the campaign itself. No one of course can control what everyone says but he was clear that this should be about the issues and record, not the personalities. I completely agree with that and would hope that everyone takes the time to learn more about the man before making assumptions about who he is. I will share more of the conversation later if everyone would like. And for the record, I am not being paid by Hogan or any other candidate and of all the folks on the ballot, the two I find most honest and capable are Moran and Hogan.
Matt, you correctly point out that Audrey Moran lives ethics and I truly agree, but I also have found out that Hogan himself lives by strong ethical standards of behavior and will politely disagree with you regarding your statement that anyone should revisit their position on any issue. I think any one who holds the office of Mayor should be willing to revisit any issue and reconsider if their position is the right one. Inflexibility is a no go in my book.