Accusing his Democratic opponent Jeff Greene of using stock video footage from other countries in an attempt to “mislead voters” concerning his environmental record, gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine has sent a cease and desist letter to all television stations airing a Greene campaign ad (see below) that Levine calls “defamatory.”
“Jeff Greene is airing a political advertisement that makes false assertions using misleading stock video from Russia, China, Serbia, and the Czech Republic to depict Biscayne Bay,” said Christian Ulvert, senior adviser to the Levine campaign. ”We fully expect the advertisement to be pulled, along with subsequent attempts by the Greene campaign to lie about Mayor Levine’s record.”
The battle between Greene, a Palm Beach real estate investor, and Levine, the former mayor of Miami Beach, is over a television ad that the Greene campaign began airing last week. It’s called “Levine Latrine” and accuses Levine of promoting policies that polluted Biscayne Bay.
The cease and desist letter sent to television stations says the ad “depicts misleading stock video images of sewage pouring from open pipes to create the false impression that the City dumps sewage directly into the Bay.” The letter includes an attached memorandum from Miami Beach’s city manager stating that the city’s sewer system does not directly discharge into Biscayne Bay, as the advertisement falsely suggests.
“Moreover, the images of fouled water and open sewer pipes in the ad are not from Miami Beach, but are misleading stock images of sewers from Russia, China, Serbia and the Czech Republic,” the letter goes on to say.
The Greene campaign said Monday afternoon it stands by the ad.
“The visuals are aides – the headlines are facts. We stand by the ad,” said Greene’s communications director, Claire VanSusteren. “Levine is a bully. He tried to silence scientists and members of the press who told the public the truth about dangerous and disgusting fecal bacteria being dumped in the bay — but Jeff Greene won’t be bullied. Our attorney will be responding directly to his.
The cease and desist letter from the Levine campaign is just another sign of what Floridians are in store for as we head into the final two weeks of the primary campaign which will end with the election on August 28, in which voting has already begun. Vote-by-mail began last week and early voting began today in 18 counties, with voters in all 67 counties able to cast early ballots by Saturday.
Polls have shown former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham to be the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination, with Levine and Greene jockeying for the second place position.