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Charlie Gerdes apologizes for missing NAACP candidate forum

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

There were two candidates missing from the final City Council forum last week – District 1 candidates Charlie Gerdes, the incumbent, and Monica Abbott.

In a Facebook post, Gerdes publically apologized for missing the forum.

“When I missed the Candidate Forum last week I was feeling very badly because I had missed it and I would have certainly been there,” Gerdes began. “I attended a Candidate Forum the day after I had full hip replacement surgery – I do not miss them.”

Instead, Gerdes admitted his absence was due to bad schedule keeping.

“I was looking at a Facebook Message and responding to it, when I saw that Erika Lopez had [Facebook] Messaged me on October 6th about the Forum and I had responded that I would attend,” Gerdes wrote. “Unfortunately, I did not enter the Forum on my calendar at that moment, like I should have. I missed the Forum because I neglected to put it on my calendar and as days passed, the Forum slipped my mind.”

Gerdes assured NAACP members, the group that hosted the final City Council forum, that he is a staunch supporter of the group’s priorities.

“I was the first elected official to publicly urge the City’s purchase of the Cater G. Woodson Museum,” Gerdes wrote. “I have been a full time supporter of the Southside CRA plan since I was elected and Agenda 2020 was advocating for it. I was a primary supporter of the Local Hiring and Apprenticeship Ordinances, and other FAST Initiatives.”

Gerdes invited anyone who has questions about his support of NAACP issues to call, email or stop by his office. But he warned against using Facebook as a means of communication.

“I don’t seem to use that very well,” Gerdes wrote.

Gerdes is up for re-election against homeless advocate Monica Abbott. The election deciding that race is Tuesday.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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