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St. Pete Times bites tongue: PolitiFact rules I’m telling the truth about Deveron Gibbons’ record

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

From Aaron Shrockman: Is Deveron Gibbons a bad driver? The political blog What’s Wrong With Deveron? sure wants you to think so.

The blog, maintained by Peter Schorsch and created to bash Gibbons, contends that the first-time candidate has had his driver’s license suspended at least seven times.

“His driver’s license was suspended as recently as December 1, 2008, only one month before Gibbons filed to run for mayor of St. Petersburg,” Schorsch wrote on the blog. “Dating back to 1999, Gibbons’ record shows a clear pattern of disregard not just for the traffic laws, but for the judicial system itself.”

Whether Gibbons’ driving record shows a disregard for the judicial system, as Schorsch concludes, is a question for each voter to answer. Our goal is to confirm the facts of Gibbons’ record and whether Schorsch has them straight.

Gibbons, 36, does have a history of traffic offenses in Pinellas County dating back to 1998, when he was cited for driving 88 mph in a 65 mph zone.

Between 1998 and 2008, Gibbons has been cited in Pinellas County 10 times. None of the citations involved injuries.

His license was suspended for the first time in March 2001 for failing to renew his vehicle registration. It remained suspended until June of that year.

Gibbons’ license was suspended twice in 2002 for a total of more than four months; one citation was for driving a 1989 maroon Mercedes 91 mph in a 65 mph zone, according to Pinellas County court records. In that case, Gibbons’ license was suspended because he failed to complete required driving school. In the other 2002 case, he failed to pay a fine.

His license also was suspended in 2003, 2005, 2007 and in December of 2008, as Schorsch contends, because Gibbons either failed to pay fines or complete a required driving school course. His license was suspended in 2008 from Nov. 26 until Dec. 4 for having an expired vehicle registration.

He also has received citations in Hillsborough, Citrus and Leon counties, according to public records.

In each case, Gibbons paid the appropriate fine. His license is currently active, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Overall, Schorsch’s numbers add up. Seven suspensions since 2001. We rate the Internet chatter True.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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