The campaign meeting at Golden Gate City took on new meaning for one candidate for the Collier County District 3 seat.
Commissioner, and election candidate, Tom Henning took the forum as an opportunity to jab away at Gina Downs who, as an ordinary concerned citizen, filled state ethics complaints against Commissioner Tom Henning, who is now fighting to maintain his position on the Board of Collier County Commissioners.
The first jab came just minutes after Commissioner Tom Henning got to speaking and fired away at Gina Downs in the audience with this….
“But I am sure Gina you would not file an ethics complaint against Bill McDaniel for inappropriate reporting?” Which to me sounded like a question to Gina Downs.
To which Gina Downs started saying: “He does not report….”
But the moderator abruptly voiced objection to Gina Downs defending her position and that just allowed Commissioner Tom Henning to continue hammering away at her.
Moderator to Gina Downs: “I am going to ask you, I am going to ask you to keep it quite please! This. Ma’am, this is not a debate between the audience and the candidates.”
Onto the next question for Commissioner Tom Henning
Moderator to Commissioner Tom Henning: “You are on record as saying you are not holding to special interests yet nearly half of your campaign funds, approximately $20,000 in bundled funds, have come from two groups outside of your district and some from out of state with business before the commissioners. Is this not special interests?”
Commissioner Tom Henning: “I ah, I received $500 from a, ah, Fire Union, I believe its endorsed by EMS, um, (inaudible), ah the rest of them that I recall are individual, ah people that have donated to my campaign.”
Moderator to Commission candidate for 2012 District 3, Bill McDaniel: “Mr. McDaniel would you like to respond?”
Bill McDaniel: “I don’t have any comment.”
Moderator: “Mr. Henning you have two ethic charges filled against you this year. Would you mind explaining the charges?”
Commissioner Tom Henning: “Well ah, my opponents supporter ah, filled ah, ethics charges for ah, things like, didn’t fill out form 6 on your property in Immokalee. Form 6 is, has nothing to do with doing business with the county. My property doesn’t do business with the county, so Gina you’re wrong about that one.”
I have to say, sitting in the audience and watching this unfold, was embarrassing. For the people watching with me and for Commissioner Tom Henning, that knew he was taking unfair advantage of the situation, while he controlled the mike, and should have allowed the person he was addressing to have spoken in ah, defense.