Tea Party and 9-12 Group Host Candidate Forum in Taxpayer-Funded Space
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04/09/10 Kate Bradshaw
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Last night, the Tampa Tea Party and the Tampa Nine-Twelve Project held a town hall meeting at the same Ybor City site as last year’s now infamous town hall discussion on health care. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor led that meeting at the taxpayer-funded Children's Board headquarters before it devolved into chaos. But yesterday’s panelists, all of whom want to unseat her, addressed a mellower crowd about where they think Castor and other Washington Democrats have gone wrong.

We have representatives who are not representing anybody. The people that they are representing definitely don’t live in this congressional district. ’Cause this was called the “Cigar City,” and the representative from the Cigar City is responsible for taxing Hav-A-Tampa Cigar into extinction.

That was Eddie Adams, one of three Republicans at the event vying for Castor’s District 11 seat. He has lost to Castor in two previous elections. Adams was referring to a tobacco tax that Castor supported, which the Hav-A-Tampa Cigar Company blames for its 2009 closure. He later said he wants to see major cuts in the federal government, and would push for axing offices like the U.S. Department of Education.

It’s redundant, and it’s not effective. That should be a state and local issue, education. We can also get rid of the Department of Homeland Security, because we went 200-some years without it, and we were safe up until now, and it is something that can be eliminated. We can also get rid of the Department of Energy, considering that their primary function and job from the very beginning was to make us independent of foreign oil and energy sources.

The event was much less a health care forum than a way for District 11 hopefuls to paint Castor as a tax-and-spend liberal who doesn’t care about her district. In his attempt at this, Republican Tony Buntyn conjured images of the other Bay Area.

This is not San Francisco Bay, the land of Nancy Pelosi’s. This is Tampa Bay. We have different values. But I’m afraid that Ms. Castor has adopted the values of Nancy Pelosi. She’s the ninth most liberal member of Congress. I don’t think that reflects the views, and goals, of this community.

One Democrat sat on the panel. Tim Curtis, who calls himself a Constitutional Democrat, is reportedly the first “tea party” Democrat to run for Congress. He said the recently-passed health care overhaul, in which Castor is a key player, is unconstitutional.

I’m not an attorney, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express. It takes only a cursory reading of the Constitution to understand that the intent behind the Commerce Clause, to understand that this is exactly the opposite of what our Founding Fathers intended when they constructed the Commerce Clause.

Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum is citing the U.S. Constitution’s “Commerce Clause” as key grounds for his lawsuit against the federal government over the legislation, though many legal experts disagree. Curtis was not alone in his criticism of health care reform. Republican Thomas Castellano called the reform a “disaster.”

We have a right to choose. And whenever you take somebody’s away, right to choose away, prices go up. It will enable to benefit the insurance companies to now be saying, “You will have insurance, and you will buy it from us. The doctors and the pharmaceutical companies are going to make a lot of money. So basically the people they were trying to protect us against benefited.

Republican Tony Buntyn agreed.

We need to tweak the system, not kill it and start over. We need portability across state lines, and we need better access.

There were few differences among the candidates on nearly every question asked, including those on closing national borders and abolishing corporate taxes – both, of course, garnered a resounding yes. The four also concurred on the controversial prospect of oil and gas exploration in Florida’s waters. Castellano invoked several Cold War bogeymen in his response to a question on the issue.

Cuba has made deals with Russia and China to drill off their coasts, and they’re going to be fifty miles off the coast of Florida … You know, the Vietnamese are going to be in the gulf, and we have the Mexicans drilling in the gulf also. So yes, we should be drilling for oil.

Democrat Tim Curtis said offshore rigs in other states actually have recreational value.

I’m a scuba diver. I enjoy scuba diving off of the rigs off of Louisiana. It’s great spear-fishing. It’s great fishing around the oil rigs.

Tony Buntyn, another Republican, strayed slightly from the Tea Party line when he said it needs to be done in conjunction with development of alternative energy sources.

We have to incentivize those corporations who are going to do the exploration—so that along with harvesting what are our natural resources, the oil and the natural gas, the aim would be also to have good reason to continue development on new energy sources, renewable energy sources. I don’t think there’s anyone in here who would disagree with the idea that solar energy would be a good thing. If we can develop solar energy and deliver it to a grid, where it makes sense, and it doesn’t put somebody under when they have to pay their power bill, I think everyone would agree that that’s a good thing.

Although the candidate forum featured four District 11 hopefuls, there were actually seats at the table. The two vacant seats were clearly marked Kathy Castor and Mike Prendergast, Republican newcomer who is also running. Although the Tea Party has reportedly been gaining steam in its campaign to unseat Democrats and moderate Republicans in Washington, many experts say Castor should enjoy an easy re-election in Tampa’s heavily-Democratic District 11. The primary will take place in August.

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What were you trying to insinuate with using "taxpayer funded space"? Kathy Castor's Town Hall was also in "taxpayer funded space" - in fact the very same taxpayer funded space. Probably those who attended this Town Hall are part of the now minority who pay MOST of all taxes. Once again, the media bias shines through loud and clear.

Watch the entire debate here

If you want an unbiased look at the entire candidate forum on video, go to our website at http://www.meetup.com/tampa912/messages/boards/thread/8912076/

Question with boldness

I have a question for WMNF? Have you tried to get a interview with Kathy Castor to discuss the issues that face the 11th district. Have you asked Castor why she refuses to have any townhall meetings to meet with the people of her district. Kathy Castor refuses to respond to the people of the 11th district but why won't the media do there job and ask the tough question of all candidates. Why don't you ask Kathy if the new Health reform law is so great why do we need a value added tax? When Kathy Castor had her SEIU meeting did you call that event in a Tax Funded Space?

Time for change

I want to let you know that this "Taxpayer Funded Space" is also where Obama's Organizing for America meetings are held. So quit adding to the problem by trying to make something out of nothing. Perhaps the candidates present had similar answers because they are GOOD answers. We'll never know if Castor had better answers because she ignored her invitation, as usual. She sends nothing but form replies to emails and has stood up people who have had appointments that they travelled to DC for. The reason there is a shift by former Castor supporters is 3-fold: the strenghtening general anti-incumbent movement, the fact that she does not represent the desires of the majority of voters in 11 (I would say 65% opposed to the HCB is a majority) and Castor's refusal to actually communicate with District 11 voters, all the while saying in print that she feels 'secure' in the seat she presently holds. Hope she wakes up and smells the coffee (or not)- her 'security' in being the only Primary candidate has already been blown by Mr. Curtis - and dyed in the wool 'Dixiecrats' are rejoycing over their newly-found freedom of choice and will not be staying home come August 24th.