Columns

Email Vigilance? Not During the Charlie Crist Years

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: October 10, 2011 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ

On a hot day in mid-August, without so much as a press release to declare it, Gov. Rick Scott's office reached a considerable milestone.

It seems that within the first seven and a half months of the governor taking office, Scott's Office of Open Government had processed more public records requests -- much of it for email -- than Charlie Crist's had in all of the four years Crist served as the state's chief executive.

Strange, wouldn't you say?

Between Jan. 4 and Oct. 5, Scott's office processed some 1,021 public records requests. Yet, from the day Crist was inaugurated until the day he left office, public records requests numbered 961 total.

OK, the press flat-out didn't like Scott. His communications office sparred with reporters daily. But you would think that a few folks in the press would open up a little dialogue on why they could conduct a public records feeding frenzy on one governor, after giving the other a free pass and a kiss on the cheek.

According to Scott's Office of Open Government, the 1,021 public records requests varied in scope, from requests for individual documents or lists, to very broad, complex searches for electronic and printed materials.

On the other hand, Crist's 961 requests for records amounted to a paltry 19 a month for his full term of office. Between 2007 and 2011 when Crist served, the OG did not routinely assist with requests from the press, which were minimal and primarily requests for appointments applications and the governor’s calendar. Occasionally, the OG would assist with redactions.

Compare that to Scott's average 113 a month since his inauguration.

Here's my point:

There's nothing wrong with the press climbing all over Rick Scott, rolling up a long list of public records requests. They get a tip, they work it, they leave no stone unturned. That's what the press does. And it's put a little starch in the governor's act since he took office.

But what if Capitol reporters had developed the same mentality when they were covering Charlie Crist? What if they hadn't allowed Crist to use them like a litter of new puppies?

Would they have discovered three years earlier that the Taj Mahal was a boondoggle, and Crist -- like Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink who signed all the checks -- knew something very extravagant was going on with a new courthouse?

Would they have discovered sooner that Crist's downsized deal with U.S. Sugar Corp. to buy overpriced land was not in the best interest of saving the Everglades?

Would they have worked a little quicker to tote up Crist's $430,000 European vacation, in which he took his fiance, his fiance's sister, nine bodyguards and several dozen of Crist's closest friends and business associates? Would more editors have slammed it on their opinion pages?

Unlike Scott, the press corps loved Charlie Crist, who was nothing if not accessible. He gave everybody his cell phone number, opened up the governor's mansion like an armed forces canteen, leaked stories to favorite reporters and put his arm around the guys with cameras and notebooks.

But the numbers -- check them out in the attachments below -- tell a story: Diligence watching Scott, sloppiness watching Crist. Sorry to say all they do is make a collection of duped groupies out of the 2007-2010 Capitol press corps.

This is an opinion column: Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


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Comments (4)

office 2010
11:11PM OCT 13TH 2011
Arbabsiar approached Office 2010 the woman earlier Microsoft Office 2010 this year after Microsoft Office 2007 returning last spring Office 2007 from a trip to MS Office 2007 Iran, two U.S. officials Office Professional 2010 briefed on the investigation MS Office 2010 into the alleged plot Microsoft Office 2010 Download said. She arranged microsoft 2010 for Arbabsiar to get Office 2007 in touch with her nephew.
Frank
10:58PM OCT 10TH 2011
Not strange given the continuing strange and questionable actions (and proclamations) of this Governor.
Jim B.
8:10PM OCT 10TH 2011
Personally, I think they just liked his tan. Also, I heard from a reliable source that all members of the left media hate bald people. There can be no other reason. Oh wait, how about one is a conservative and the other si well, stick finger in air, is now a Democrat.
theloneconsumer
5:21PM OCT 10TH 2011
You are assuming the corps were duped! See, if you were in Florida for the last 8 years, you would know who charlie Crit brought with him from the atty general's office: PAT GLEASON. And when the atty general's office General Counsel got calls from me, the Florida PSC refused record requests, tried to give me 10 emails when a fellow friend had the same info and received 1000! Or when Chairman Baez had his PSC GC ask for $1600 in fees to just look for emails, Pat Gleason emails me and told me point blank: SHE CANT MAKE THE DEPS GIVE ME EMAILS-i have to sue in court.
Nice to know, Gleason went back to the Atty general's office to be the smoke screen that AG Bondi needs, with fellow Jeb Atty Carlos Muniz as her General Counsel.

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