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Kathleen Peters, Red Tide & Dirty Campaigning

She’s really showing her true colors.

On 10/25/18 an associate of Kathleen Peters came forward, in front of other witnesses, and told me about how Kathleen was not only aware of the negative hit pieces that the Tampa Bay Times was planning to write about me but she understood TBT’s malicious intent in writing them.

Before the first hit pice was done about me she told this person, with a smile, that he should wait to see what the TBT prints because it would not only damage my campaign but my career and “I would never be able to work in Pinellas County again.”  This is what Kathleen Peters said about me as I was getting back on my feet after a two-year battle with stage-three breast cancer.

Yes, I decided to undertake this run for office immediately after a cancer battle because I am not sure whether God or my health will permit me the opportunity to do so in the future.  Cancer has taught me to not take time for granted.

Not only does Kathleen Peters’ statement speak volumes about her character, it also helps to establish a case for malice, which is necessary for a public figure to win a libel suit.  Thank you for revealing your true self, Kathleen.

She has since paid for a Google Ad Words campaign against me called TheRealAmyKedron, which features these untrue attack pieces.

During the primary for her race I invited Kathleen Peters out for lunch as a gesture of good will.  During it we promised each other that we would not run negative campaigns and we would stick only to the issues.  I have kept my promise.

But when a candidate fights dirty they are really hiding from the issues voters care about and our community has been grappling with a Red Tide that has been supercharged by environmental deregulation with disastrous consequences.

This is me fielding questions about Red Tide and environmental policy for Pinellas County at the Tidal Town Hall.  Kathleen was supposed to be here.

After the primary others stepped forward to tell me how Kathleen used other malicious lies about me to cancel all of her public forums/debates with me including ones where we would have the opportunity to discuss the impact of Red Tide on our environment and economy. Those following my campaign know I have gone to great lengths to address the Red Tide crisis by hosting town halls, drafting policy recommendations and circulating petitions.

Reports are now surfacing about fishermen who are dying as a result of the economic damage this pollution-fueled Red Tide has caused.  Pollution that was deregulated during Kathleen’s time in office.  Kathleen continued to fundraise during this disaster.  I found this out by mistake when TBT’s Mark Puente interviewed me and tried to use her fundraising record to suggest that I could not compete with her:

Puente asked, “Peters raised $41,000 in the last reporting period. You raised $300. How will you overcome a well-funded opponent? 

I answered, “Candidates should be leaders first, not piggy-banks. As soon as Red Tide / Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) impacted my district, I stopped fundraising to help. I held a town hall meeting, interviewed those impacted and worked with experts to draft policies to address the short and long-term impact of toxic algae on public health and the local economy.”  

My comment above and indeed most of this interview never saw the light of day.  I assumed as such and posted my full interview on my blog to safeguard myself.   After doing so, Kathleen announced on television that she was suspending her campaign to address Hurricane Michael relief, and only then did the Tampa Bay Times finally publish their interview with me announcing how Kathleen had suspended her campaign to help with Hurricane recovery.  This is “objective” Tampa Bay political journalism.

In an open letter, I called on Kathleen Peters to donate the funds she raised during the crisis to Red Tide and Hurricane Michael relief.  She never replied and instead continued sending out fundraising appeals for her campaign.  Here’s her 10/25/18 fundraising appeal.

Yesterday Kathleen Peters posted an old ad of her paddle-boarding in Pinellas waters discussing how she would protect them.  In 2016 she voted for a measure to force fracking on areas like Pinellas County.   Pinellas had passed an ordinance banning fracking because it could potentially ruin Florida’s water and economy.  Kathleen could not shoot this same ad today because our County still has some of the most toxic Red Tide in the state.  Small businesses, workers and our marine life are still struggling.

And it’s time to turn the tide.

***

____________________________________________________

UPDATE:

Since publishing this piece other people have come forward about the unprofessional, untrue and simply tasteless things Kathleen Peters has said about me.  They said they would be happy to speak on record about it.  Personally I feel Kathleen should apologize for crossing a serious ethical line and possibly reconsider public service.  This simply is not the way leaders should conduct themselves.

Read about the origins of the unethical coverage of Amy’s campaign by the Tampa Bay Times here.

 

Come Together, Right Now!

People often ask, “So why did you decide to run?”  This is my answer:
Almost two years ago I was getting over my first round of chemo treatments and doing my best to get healthy again. I was driving home from a rural farm stand when I noticed a large pickup truck aggressively tailgating me. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a woman driving the truck, waving at me “with one finger”. Immediately I thought “What did I do wrong?” Then I saw the confederate flag license plate and realized it wasn’t what I did but likely who she thought she saw. I had tan skin, almost no hair, I wore big clunky glasses and drove a Prius. It was also where we both were: Bradenton, an area notorious for its hate groups.
 
I was also four days after the Presidential election. Right then I realized that the election had emboldened a sector of our country that expresses itself through hate, violence and intimidation.
 
It was then that I realized it was necessary for anyone with the capacity to lead to step forward. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I knew I needed to take leadership.
 
I remember worrying about my friend’s daughters. She was in the process of getting her US citizenship but it wasn’t official yet and her youngest daughter spent days after the election crying that she would lose her mother. “What if something happens to her or them?” I thought. We started discussing my taking custody of the girls if anything happened. I remember thinking “Amy maybe you’re over-reacting. People are saying, “Give him a chance,” that the president only campaigned on these things, he wouldn’t actually do them.” Today there are thousands of children separated from their parents in US camps. I still cannot believe I am typing this.
 
Last week there were bomb scares. Earlier today a friend posted about swastikas scrawled outside his house of worship here in town. Tonight I attended a vigil to commemorate a synagogue massacre.
 
When people asked me what my campaign slogan would be I thought about why I was running for office and the urgency of our moment in history.
 
“Come Together, Right Now” is my slogan.
 
Around the time The Beatles wrote “Come Together” they had been introduced to transcendental meditation by Ramana Maharishi. Someone once asked him “How are we to treat others?” His response was “There are no others.”  We are one.  I truly believe this.
 
I was taught by some of the best historians in the country and they taught me how quickly things can change. This is not a scare tactic. This is our reality.
 
We need to put our differences aside and embrace one another. Love, faith and peace are needed most at moments when they are the least likely to be found. When powerful people can distract us and divide us they disempower us.
 
Our nation was founded on the motto of E pluribus unum “Out of many, one.” The original 13 colonies realized that they were stronger together and because of that today we have a nation.  Unity created the county we love.
 
It is still time for anyone who has the capacity for leadership to lead. We all have this capacity. In the coming days we need voters to do all they can to elect leaders who believe in and will uphold the sense of unity in diversity that makes these United States truly great.
Let’s be stronger together.
Come Together Right Now!
With love,
Amy

Peters and Kedron compete for a seat on Board of County Commissioners

Nov. 6 ballot includes run-off elections for three School Board seats

  • Updated

It’s been a lot of years since voters in District 6 had to choose a County commissioner with no incumbent on the ballot.

John Morroni, who died May 20 while still in office, served District 6 since 2000. On Nov. 6, residents who live in Feather Sound, Pinellas Park, Seminole, northeast St. Petersburg and the Gulf beaches from Redington Shores south will get a choice between Republican Kathleen Peters and Democrat Amy Kedron to take Morroni’s seat on the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.

Read the full article here!

Meet Amy! A Q & A by the League of Women Voters

EXPERIENCE:

Former CEO, college professor and published law scholar specializing in community development, small business expansion and the green economy. I helped start a policy think tank with Cornell ILR that improves healthcare, housing, economic, social and environmental policies.

EDUCATION:

SUNY Buffalo School of Law, JD SUNY Buffalo PhD Columbia University MA Columbia University MA SUNY Buffalo BA

CURRENT OCCUPATION:

Professor/Consultant

 

Click here to read the Q & A!

 

Ask Amy! You ask, she answers.

Send questions to amy@amykedron.com, subject line “Ask Amy” or through Facebook.

Nancy R. asks: “How can I trust the candidate to keep the best interests of the people always in the forefront & not focus on personal gain?”

Nancy I think your question is one of the most important.

It’s funny how the likely success of a candidate is often judged by how much money they raise.  I am far outspent by my opponent but that also means I’m not bought.

Also I’m proud to say I have been asked to compromise my stance on home rule and small business investment to get large endorsements and contributions and I didn’t.  This link, which goes to an article about fracking explains why home rule is so important.  It allows our local elected officials to make important decisions like protecting our water quality from pro-fracking measures that the state has attempted to pass.

With so much focus on our public figures it is easy for them to forget that very little of what they are responsible for doing is actually about them, it’s about you.  But how do we keep our leaders honest?  I’m a big believer in following the money.  Candidates must disclose where their donations are coming from.  It’s on the Supervisor of Elections website.  If you look at it you can see who is invested in the candidate and what is likely to sway their vote away from the best interests of the people.

Unfortunately there is too much money in politics but it doesn’t need to be this way.  Candidates are expected to spend 90% of their time campaigning just raising money.  But for what?  To talk to the people.  I’ve decided it is better for me to spend time just talking to the people like we are doing right now.

 

Democrat Amy Kedron announces run for Pinellas County Commission

Democrat Amy Kedron has officially announced her candidacy for the District 6 seat on the Pinellas County Commission. Incumbent John Morroni announced last year he would not seek reelection.

To read more click here.

Open Letter to Kathleen Peters on Common Sense Leadership During an Environmental Crisis

Dear Kathleen,

We need to stop campaigning and talk about environmental leadership.

Today I was contacted by a campaign supporter and was told that you have announced on television that you have suspended your campaign to address Hurricane Michael relief.  While my supporter knows that I have been addressing Florida’s environmental challenges for some time she encouraged me to do it more publicly to compete with you.  There is a better way.

While I applaud you for focusing on this tragedy I would like to encourage you to grow, and extend yourself further.

Real leaders quietly lead during challenging times. They don’t turn tragedy into photo-ops.

Five weeks ago Red Tide hit Pinellas hard.  Leaders said it was the worst they have ever seen.  In Pinellas the air and water has been toxic.  Schools stopped letting children play outside because the air was so bad; fish are dying by the “hundreds of tons;” small businesses are struggling as tourists stay home; and workers along our coast are losing money and are struggling to afford rent. I know one mother who sent her daughter away from the coast while the Hurricane Michael passed by because she was afraid of how the wind-driven toxic air would damage the health of her special needs child.

Kathleen we have had an environmental tragedy on our hands for five weeks.  Where have you been?

At the first sign of Red Tide I stopped fundraising to listen to my community’s needs.  I spent time interviewing workers on the front lines of the cleanup effort, shop owners who only made $15 in sales all day and local fishermen who could no longer fish because their headaches were too bad from the toxicity.  But I didn’t turn it into a photo-op.

Pinellas residents from across the political spectrum participated in a Town Hall meeting to plan solutions to Red Tide on October 1st.

Our community is getting the short end of the stick on Red Tide recovery.

Do you know that the disaster loans small businesses are being given is at an 18 percent rate?  That means someone is getting rich at their expense.  Do you know that Pinellas lifted the fertilizer ban as Red Tide reached our shores?  That means we are pouring gasoline on a burning fire because fertilizers feed harmful algal blooms.  Do you know that south of us, of all the people tested for the presence of harmful cyanobacteria toxins in their nasal passageways 100% tested positive?  Do you realize that the EPA says these toxins can cause nerve and liver damage?  Do you realize that the state currently has no uniform way to quantitatively test air quality and properly inform the public?  Do you realize our community has had a crisis on its hands for five weeks?

After the Red Tide tragedy happened, I reached out to national legal and policy experts regarding the health of our water.  I organized a town hall meeting to bring constituents from across the political spectrum together and come up with a detailed plan of action and then I drafted a policy proposal to make it happen.  Also, as a recent cancer survivor, I did this as the toxic air in my own beachfront neighborhood brought back painful nerve damage that I sustained during chemotherapy.

What did you do?

You hid.

You canceled multiple public speaking engagements with me to discuss the impact of Red Tide and other issues.

Even as I publicly called you out for this you continued to hide.

One of those speaking engagements was with a chamber of commerce that represents businesses hit by Red Tide.  Why would you not face your constituents during such a critical time?  Could it be because you are ashamed of your record on beach privatization, fracking and taking money from big polluters?  Were you afraid I would bring this up?

Instead you made up a lie.  When you cancelled one of our debates you sent copies of the Tampa Bay Times’ hit pieces about me to the debate organizer and you told him that you are a mental health professional (you aren’t).  You told him that in your professional opinion you don’t think I’m stable and that you are afraid to be in the same room as me–all 100 pounds of me.  (If you were a mental health professional you would know that making such claims is a legal and ethical violation).  While you hid, you paid for the internet ad, “TheRealAmyKedron” so that you could spread more misinformation about me.  Earlier in the campaign you promised me you would stick to the issues and not engage in negative campaigning.  I’m still sticking to the issues.

But worst of all, you kept campaigning.  You sent e-mail appeals to raise more money for yourself during this tragedy.  Last week someone hosted a fancy fundraiser for you at $1000 per ticket while your community struggled.  It is still struggling.  But during this time you raised tens of thousands of dollars.

It wasn’t until Tampa Bay Times reporter, Mark Puente, tried to call me out for being outspent last week that I quietly announced that I had suspended my campaign fundraising and many appearances to focus on helping my community instead.  I didn’t politicize tragedy.  This is “Sensible Leadership,” Kathleen.

Kathleen Peters I call on you to give the money you raised during the five weeks of the Red Tide crisis back to your donors and tell them to donate it to Hurricane Michael and Red Tide relief instead.  Or perhaps donate the funds you have left over at the end of your race.  You have far out-raised me so you have nothing to worry about.  It is not right to hide behind one tragedy to avoid dealing with another tragedy that your state voting record helped create.

Also Kathleen, I call on you to do something about Red Tide.

Apologize for your past record on not protecting our shores and vow to do better.  Vow to stop taking dirty fossil fuel money directly or through your PACs as you have. Pledge to the public that you will adopt, implement and enforce my Red Tide Plan if you are elected to office. Tell your donors to help set up a fund to implement the Red Tide Plan and assist families, businesses workers and the environment long-term.

Let’s suspend both of our campaigns and spend the rest of campaign season addressing the tragedy in our community together.  My campaign slogan is #ComeTogetherRightNow and I would be happy to put politics aside and work with you on bi-partisan leadership to leave a positive legacy in our community.

This is “Sensible Leadership,” Kathleen. I hope you agree.

Sincerely,

Dr. Amy Kedron

Amy’s Latest Interview with Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times

Since blogging about the tabloid-style Tampa Bay Times reporting about my campaign by Mark Puente, I have finally gotten questions from Puente that are more fair and actually allow me to talk about the merits of this campaign.  This interview has not been published in The Times yet, but here is a sneak preview of my answers.  Let’s compare it to what The Times actually covers:

 

How is the campaign going?

We have refocused our campaign to address the impact of Red Tide/Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on public health and our beachfront economy. Half of my district runs along the Gulf and my constituents are facing serious challenges. Poor air/water quality has reduced tourism and small businesses and workers are feeling the impact.

 

What makes you a better candidate than your opponent? 

All of my donations come from people and small businesses, not special interests or polluters.

Peters has accepted donations from major polluters and has voted for state laws that threaten our water, environment and public health. I never will.

 

What is your strategy to reach as many voters as possible in the coming weeks?

I have worked mobilize my party to work collectively toward a Blue Wave. This is why may campaign slogan is Come Together Right Now: there is strength in unity.

 

What is your plan to move Pinellas County forward?

I am a green economy leader who will represent a beachfront economy that is confronting environmental challenges such as Red Tide, sea level rise and climate change. I plan to protect our natural resources and grow a strong beachfront economy.

 

What are your three biggest campaign priorities? 

I drafted a policy plan to mitigate the impact of Red Tide/HABs that includes:

  1. Protecting public health with proper research, signage, and education.
  2. Giving grants and low-interest loans to small business to help them recover.
  3. Strengthening water, land and environmental management policies to reduce the impact of Red Tide/HABs now and in the future.

My full plan is on my website: https://amykedron.com/2018/10/07/amys-red-tide-plan/

 

 

How are you overcoming the lack of name recognition in a Republican district? 

I lead in times of crisis and I focus on our common interests: a healthy environment, strong community and thriving economy. I have earned the respect and support of several Republican voters.

 

Peters raised $41,000 in the last reporting period. You raised $300. How will you overcome a well-funded opponent? 

Candidates should be leaders first, not piggy-banks. As soon as Red Tide / Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) impacted my district, I stopped fundraising to help.

I held a town hall meeting, interviewed those impacted and worked with experts to draft policies to address the short and long-term impact of toxic algae on public health and the local economy.

Amy’s Red Tide Plan

Have you sent any mailers throughout District 6?

Not yet.

 

Is there anything I should know about your campaign?

I started my leadership career at the age of 19 overseeing a $6 million budget and managing personnel for over 50 full-time workers. Area leaders have said I have the most impressive resume they’ve ever seen.

***

UPDATE: I posted this interview to my blog on 10/11/18, the day I e-mailed my interview answers to Mark Puente.  I did this to ensure transparency.  On 10/14/18 Kathleen Peters announced on television that she was suspending her campaign to assist with Hurricane Michael relief.  Only after Kathleen’s announcement did Mark Puente run parts of this interview on 10/15/18.   Read it here.  Read about new evidence that confirms that Kathleen Peters knew and understood the malicious intent of my campaign coverage by the Tampa Bay Times here.   The Tampa Bay Times is the only major newspaper in our region and it holds itself out as the recipient of 12 Pulitzer Prizes.  It has tremendous influence over political races in this area and has recently been sued for defamatory coverage of Democratic candidate Jeff Greene for $500 Million.  They settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

 

Amy’s Red Tide Plan

Addressing the Short and Long-Term Impact of Red Tide/Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) © 10/6/18

Red Tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon but evidence shows human activity such as runoff from lawn fertilizers, cow pastures, agriculture, sewer systems and septic systems is feeding these Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) making them more wide-spread and long-lasting.  The toxin that has killed several hundred tons of marine life in Pinellas County is also affecting local air quality and can impact public health.

Since Red Tide arrived on our shores, Amy has spent time interviewing clean up crews, small business owners and residents about their experience.  She has also sponsored a special Town Hall about Red Tide to help the community to share their concerns and come up with solutions to this economic and environmental challenge.  She has also spent time talking with Waterkeepers, environmental attorneys, meteorologists and other officials to help address this challenge.

As a result, Amy has established a list of policy recommendations that she plans to implement as a Pinellas County Commissioner.  The plan will help reduce the harmful impact of Red Tide in the coming weeks and years.   We would like to hear your thoughts on this issue.  You are invited to share your feedback at amy@amykedron.com.

Amy is proud that Healthy Water and Beaches has been her top campaign priority since it began.  This is why the starfish is part of her campaign logo.  As a recent cancer survivor she understands the connection between a environmental and human health.  Amy has worked at the forefront of the green economy for twelve years and is looking forward to implementing solutions that helps our ecosystem, economy and community thrive.  Unlike her opponent Amy will never take donations from major polluters; she will protect Florida’s precious waters from fracking, oil drilling and other pollutants and she will ensure that our beaches remain publicly accessible.

 

Amy’s Red Tide Plan:

 

AMY_REDTIDE_INFOGRAPHIC_RGB

Monitoring

  • Find and employ more quantitative and efficient ways to monitor air and water quality to keep the public more regularly informed.
  • Educate the public about ways to document the impact of HABs on their health.
  • Educate local businesses about ways to document the physical and economic impact of HABs on businesses and workers.

 

Public Health

  • Ensure there is adequate signage on beaches regarding water and air quality.
  • Educate the public about ways to avoid HABs and their effects.
  • Establish a reliable way to monitor air quality and alert the community as we do with water quality.

 

Water Quality

  • Immediately extend and enforce the ban on fertilizers during HABs.
  • Incentivize Florida Friendly landscaping practices to use less water and chemicals.
  • Minimize sewage overflows by diverting rainwater into the ground through more emphasis on downspout disconnects, rain barrels, swales, rain gardens and permeable pavement.
  • Re-establish and enforce septic system inspections.

 

Local Business

  • Immediately work with state leaders to advocate for small business disaster loans below the 18 percent rate.
  • Educate small businesses about disaster support services and work with area agencies to assist businesses with applications.
  • Work with state leaders to extend the deadline for disaster loans beyond Nov/Dec if needed.
  • Allocate more of the County budget toward strengthening impacted businesses with grants and business development assistance.

 

Justice

  • If legal claims are pursued against major polluters, work to ensure the claims of homeowners, small business owners and others are adequately processed and awarded.

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Sign our Red Tide Plan petition here to help make a difference.

Amy’s Red Tide Town Hall

Turning the Tide: Amy Kedron Campaign Hosts Town Hall Meeting

October 1st at 6pm at Faith Community Church

The Amy Kedron Campaign for the Pinellas County Commission is hosting a town hall meeting entitled, “Turning the Tide: Protecting our Waterways, Beaches and Green Spaces” to address two issues of critical concern to her District 6 constituents.

The town hall will take place on Monday, October 1st from 6-8 pm at the Faith Community Church located on 11501 Walker Ave in Seminole.

The town hall is an opportunity for Kedron and other public officials to listen to local homeowners, small business owners, and concerned citizens about what can be done to preserve and protect local waterways, beaches and green space. Issues of primary concern are the impact of Red Tide on residents and businesses and the protection of the Tides Golf Course, an historic golf course which residents are trying to save from developers.

“It’s important to me to spend time listening to what my community truly values and to craft a plan of action that reflects people’s needs. The goal is to establish practices that will allow our children and great-grandchildren to enjoy our public spaces the way we have.”

The idea for the town hall meeting arose after Kedron’s opponent decided to back out of a debate about green space preservation. The town hall meeting will now take place at the time and location of the cancelled debate.

“My campaign decided to turn this lost opportunity into a better one,” Kedron says.  “Instead of engaging in a debate, I can now spend more time listening to the community, and that’s what matters most.”

Since launching her campaign in May, Kedron’s top priority has been preserving waterways, beaches and habitat. Learn more about the event and Amy’s campaign at https://amykedron.com.

 

 

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