LARGO -- Two Largo commissioners, whose presence is legally questionable, continued to sit Tuesday evening on the City Commission, participating in discussions and apparently prepared to make decisions that will affect Largo citizens.
The two admittedly violated the city Charter and made illegal contributions to candidates in last week's election.
A provision of the Charter very clearly states that any elected official who violates a prohibition in the charter about elected officials making contributions in a city election shal be removed.
Only Commissioner Mary Black touched on the subject, reiterating her motion of last week that the commission take action on the illegal activities. Last week, her motion was quashed, but Tuesday night, Mayor Bob Jackson said it would be put on the agenda.
The question on many lips of those who observe the Largo circus is whether the city will follow the rule of law or become a brigand city, ignoring its own laws.
Astoundingly during the meeting, Commissioner Pat Gerard, one of those who violated the Charter prohibition made verbal contributions indicating that she, at least, thinks she is going to be around for years to come. More circumspectly, Harriet Crozier, the other commissioner who violated the Charter prohibition, made almost no comments.
A third commissioner, Pat Burke, violated the prohibition also, but she did not seek re-election. She theoretically could be prosecuted under a provision of city law that calls for a fine and possible imprisonment.
Absent from the meeting, which consisted of four presentations, was Alan Zimmet, the parttime city attorney who is paid $2,000 a week. Showing up only for regular meetings boosts his hourly fee to about $700. He is rarely at city hall otherwise.
Brian Smith, the county's Planning Director, gave the basic presentation on future improvements to U.S. 19, a project that originally was on the drawing board for implementation in 2025, but because money has flowed will be in progress over the next four years.
County Commissioner Karen Seel was with Smith to field questions from Mayor Bob Jackson and commission members.
The projected new road, estimated to cost $500 million, will be a limited access highway with the purpose of speeding traffic north and south on this main county traffic artery.
Much of the road will be an elevated, 6-lane highway, with parallel feeder roads that will allow cross traffic to smoothly integrate into the main highway.
With this plan, U.S. 19 could become a pleasure to use, instead of the nightmare it currently is with congestion, stop and go traffic and just plain danger.
The graphic video in connection with the presentation of the Keene Road pedestrian study and analysis was a real horror story. Instead of having a city cameraman there for hours, the police should have been there. There were more than 176 violations.
Among the most egregious were vehicles making a U-turn in the shadow of a sign expressly forbidding that; people riding bicycles helter skelter crossways through traffic; small motorized carts like golf carts (which should be banned from all public ways) being maneuvered through traffic.
Jaywalking was abundant, the point of the video being that most of the pedestrians were crossing in mid-block, instead of at the traffic light.
This wound up in an aimless and endless discussion by commissioner some of whom wanted throw in minutia instead of having a viable plan presented to the commission for action.
Also presented was the city's long term financial plans which had a lot of maybes and no substance and a discussion of policy in regard to the reclaimed water program as it relates to future expansion in the city.
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