Sunday, October 1, 2017

Deputy Mayor Tomalin – profiled or over reacting?

If you're a public official, your first responsibility is not to deliberately blow a single event all out of proportion.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

There was a flurry of articles, Posts and Tweets this past week as Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin made news when she posted on social media, she and her cousin were asked to provide proof, they were eligible for a local store, MISRED, discount for healthcare workers.

You can check out the details  in this Tampa Bay Times story By Charlie Frago and Mark Puente, Times Staff Writers: Deputy mayor says she was racially profiled. Store owner says she wasn't.

It turns out the Ms. Stonecipher who owns MISRED and her husband Nathan, who is a co-owner of St. Pete’s Green Bench Brewing are supporters of Rick Baker, who is running to replace Tomalin’s boss Rick Kriseman.

Following the ensuing dust up Deputy Mayor Tomalin responded as reported by Charlie Fargo, Tampa Bay Times, Charlie Fargo, Tampa Bay Times, Tomalin addresses public outcry to her racial profiling claim.

This could just be a tempest in a tea pot or perhaps more appropriately a brouhaha in a beer mug, but it does point out the contentious nature of the ongoing race to be St. Pete’s next Mayor.

Misunderstanding in a retail store why not handle it quietly. Anyone with half a brain knows that posting the event on Facebook, which was quickly taken down, is sure to attract a lot of strong responses from both sides.

Part of the ongoing societal problems in this country is many people are too willing to be quickly offended.

It is hard to believe that Tomalin did know who the store owner was and their support of an opposing candidate in a hotly contested political contest.

Tomalin penned a heartwarming and carefully crafted repose to all of attention her post received, seemed to have the finger prints of Kriseman spokesperson Ben Kirby all over it.

I was one of the first to interview the Deputy Mayor after she was appointed, and that is not the way she generally speaks regarding phrasing and sentence structure, so it would seem the Kriseman folks were doing some damage control.

What this incident points out is how contentious and how important this Mayor’s race really is.

If you're a public official, your first responsibility is not to deliberately blow a single event all out of proportion. If you're trying to impress a family member, this is not the way to do it.

Given the political overtones it is a bit hard to dismiss this as a simple off the cuff impassioned Facebook post and even harder if you have ever spent any time talking to the Deputy Mayor.

From the Frago article Tomalin wrote, “The opportunity for our community in this uncomfortable moment is not to point fingers and seek punishment, but to apply learning and advancement that makes us all better. In my work toward reconciliation for our city I will reach out to this store owner and our small business community as we move through this conversation.”

While the current political environment would not lend itself to an apology for the post, none was offered in the piece penned by the deputy Mayor, it does seem to point out the Kriseman team is a bit on edge and perhaps not exercising the best judgement.

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Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

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