Thursday, August 11, 2005


Well, who said that Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R - Sarasota) wouldn't irritate some on her so-called "listening tour" to kick off her U.S. Senate campaign?

Wednesday, Ms. Harris spent about 40 minutes with her entourage and film crew in front of Gorrie Elementary School, which serves a well-to-do area of South Tampa. Of course, education and child care issues were the focus of her visit there. But some officials with the Hillsborough County School District and parents were none too happy with her visit, or with the possible use of the school as a backdrop to a possible political ad.

While the HCSD has a policy prohibiting political activity on school property, they were powerless to prevent the shoot as the campaign stop was held on the public sidewalk in front of Gorrie and not on the school grounds.

Principal Susan Foster sent a letter to parents regarding the matter. Without naming Harris, Foster wrote:

"Unfortunately, I am not able to legally stop them from using the school facade as a backdrop,'' she wrote. "Many people request the use of our beautiful campus for filming. If political candidates use Gorrie as a backdrop, it puts the school in a difficult situation and implies support through association.''

Former Gorrie PTA president Lourdes Alver, who described herself as "involved in the Republican Party", admitted that the incident "irritated me".

This is not the first time Gorrie has had this type of issue. Three years ago, former Gorrie parent Bill McBride was stopped by a news crew and interviewed while walking across the grounds during his campaign for governor.


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