FDOT spokeswoman Kris Carson tells the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Danielson that Tampa City Council District 6 candidate Jackie Toledo did not have permission to film her campaign ad inside a construction zone along Interstate 275.
“You just can’t go into a construction zone and film a commercial without letting DOT know,” Carson said Tuesday morning.
The ad has been in heavy rotation on cable news channels for the past 10 days or so. It shows Toledo, a transportation engineer, walking along part of the construction zone off I-275 with a pink hard hat on and blueprints talking to workers on the site.
Florida Politics asked Toledo about the ad after Monday night’s City Council forum hosted by the NAACP in Ybor City. Had she received permission from FDOT, we asked? She said she had.
From whom, we asked?
“I asked the foreman who was there,” she said.
Toledo said that she went out to the site because she had heard from a local labor union that endorsed her that the majority of the people working on those projects were not local. “So I wanted to find out for myself if that was true. And it was.”
Florida Politics followed by asking her whether she then brought a camera crew with her.
“No, we didn’t have a camera crew. It was just a friend of mine,” she said.
As I persisted, she said,”It was just an opportunity that presented itself.”
Before we could go further, Toledo then introduced us to her husband, Jose, who said his law office is located off of Cypress Avenue, which is the part of the I-275 construction area where they cut the ad. He then talked about how the construction has cut the flow of people to his office.
It’s the second time Toledo has used images during her campaign without authorization. Last year the Times exposed that her signature campaign shot standing in front of the city’s seal in City Hall had been superimposed (as seen above).
Toledo is running against fellow Republican Tommy Castellano and Democrat Guido Maniscalco in the District 6 Council race, which takes place in two weeks.
Castellation told Florida Politics, “She claims to be a professional engineer and a transportation expert, and yet she doesn’t know the DOT rules?” He said that “any adult would know that it’s inappropriate to walk on a freeway that is under construction, and to top it off, to take friends with you. Without permission from anyone.”