By Jim Bleyer
When Hurricane Hermine roared through Tallahassee last week, trees, roofs, and power lines weren’t the only casualties.
Bipartisanship and the truth took a lashing as well. Mayor Andrew Gillum, a rising star in the Democrat party who took charge of the recovery and restoration effort in the Capital City, has been the target of factually inaccurate assaults on social media and slanted, incomplete misinformation on pay-for-play political blogs.
From all accounts, the response by Tallahassee’s municipally-owned utility has been far superior to Comcast, the cable company that serves Leon County. Contrary to preliminary reports, Tallahassee has welcomed offers of assistance from other utility companies as well as the State of Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott, who has used a compliant mainstream media for a series of photo ops at strategic locations throughout the storm-ravaged state, has walked back erroneous statements from his office that Gillum refused help.
The mayor emphatically answered his critics last night on social media. Just before noon Monday, Gillum reported 82 percent of power restored.
At the age of 23, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission in 2003. He was elected mayor in 2014 and addressed the Democratic National Convention in July.
Gillum’s record of public service has been prolific and effective. He is projected as a strong leader with a future in statewide office. Sadly, Republicans have capitalized on a tragic event to target a perceived threat.
Note: The writer resides in Tampa but pays property taxes in Leon County. He would welcome a tax increase earmarked for emergency preparedness.