OPINION: Candidates with violent criminal records should own up to it

Posted on August 11, 2022 by EDITORIAL BOARD

I, Romi White, wrote a July 20 editorial, stating Santa Rosans should neither support nor vote for Kerry Smith, a candidate for District 2 County Commissioner, because he his violent pattern of behavior, including but not limited to:

  • being adjudicated guilty of a battery charge (received 6 months’ probation);
  • being issued a Domestic Violence injunction which was extended by the court for his former spouse, Lisa Mihay-Smith;
  • going through a pre-trial diversion program for a Domestic Violence Battery charge;
  • “bowing up” to confront a man who expressed a different opinion that he shared during a Santa Rosa County Commission meeting (witnessed by multiple people).

Subsequently, a mailer with Smith’s mugshots was sent out to some Santa Rosa voters. That mailer cited my opinion piece but also, according to Pensacola Attorney George Meade, included two statements which were false.

Meade sent a cease and desist letter to Mark Zubaly, a political consultant based in Tallahassee who runs Nature Coast Conservatives, a political action committee (PAC). Meade’s letter stated that in order to avoid a lawsuit a public apology and retraction were necessary.

Additionally, Meade’s letter also stated: “The attribution for the false statements in the Mailer directed recipients to an opinion piece published by the South Santa Rosa News. Upon review of the published piece, the false statements attributed to the opinion piece are not present.”

That’s right. My July 20 editorial was accurate, and you can read it here: https://ssrnews.com/opinion-county-commission-district-2-candidate-has-violent-criminal-record/

Sherry Chapman of Pace mistakenly assumed I had designed the PAC’s mailer because a link to my website was listed on it. “(Romi) even took credit on the flyer,” Chapman falsely asserted via social media. So I reached out to Chapman through private messages to explain that, no, I was not involved with the mailer and asked her twice to remove the libelous comment. But she seems to struggle with a lack of basic comprehension skills. Therefore, I can ask the court system to address Chapman’s stubbornness and lies.

Additionally, Dawn Smith, posted the following comment, which has been shared via social media: “I am Kerry’s exwife and I’m here to tell you he has NEVER done ANYTHING like what they are saying. I consider Kerry and Lori his wife to be good friends of mine…”

Well, Dawn, you might want to ask his other ex-wife, Lisa, about that because she was granted a Domestic Violence Injuction against him. The courts also extended that injunction. You can read those court documents below.

Furthermore, Smith posted a copy of his concealed carry permit, stating, “Forgot to share that the state will not issue a conceal carry permit to domestic abusers.”

No, Kerry, domestic abusers who are issued a domestic violence injunction can get such a license after the injunction is dismissed. Pursuant to Florida State Statutes, anyone subject to a current domestic violence injunction cannot possess any firearms or ammo or obtain a concealed carry license. Does that mean you were unable to carry a firearm from the time it was granted in 2005 and until the 2017 dismissal?