When we write stories about the Gateway CDD’s Board of Supervisors, the articles are part fact and part opinion. We share with you what’s going on, and in order to actually make the stories entertaining we let you know what we think about it.
It’s part of our charm.
Now that two Supervisors are also candidates the rules on our reporting change under Florida law, and we have to be even more careful when (or if) those candidates have opponents.
It’s not that we can’t say what we think. We can, just like anybody else. But since this website costs money to operate, if we want to publish opinions about the candidates we have to include the usual “Paid political advertisement” disclaimers, and report our financial activities to the Florida Election Committee.
Specifically the FEC wants to know how much money we’re spending supporting or fighting candidates.
The answer, for now, would be $24.95 per month on the website and about $12 per year on the gatewaysun.com domain name.
Vice-Chairman Margaret Fineberg and Supervisor Pam Gill have filed their documents to run for re-election. Reporting what they do and say at the GSCDD meetings is fine, and making factual statements is fair game, but offering opinions about their electability or directly attempting to dissuade people from voting for them has rules associated with it. As would making statements advocating for them.
The exception is if we formally endorse a candidate. Since we qualify (albeit barely) as a journalistic source we can endorse candidates without disclosing financials or making disclaimers.
We will have to wait to see where things go in the election before any decision is made to how active the Sun will be in offering our assessments on the candidates.
But for now if you notice our election reporting is bland, or if it appears we’re going easier on Gill or Fineberg, this is why.