LARGO - November 8 is the day that the Largo City Commission will receive from the Charter Review Committee its ideas on how to change the city’s charter.
This was announced at the review group’s meeting September 28 when members were advised to pencil that date in on their calendars because the commission members wanted a “dialogue” on such matters as the review committee will be discussing.
Commission action is the final denouement of the review committee’s work. The commission can accept changes, can ignore them, can make their own and can decide whether or not to send the document on to the people in a referendum.
At least one commission member, Mary Black, has tipped off her stance. She will accept whatever the review committee has come up with. She agrees that the commission’s role should be minimum if not nil.
As usual, last week’s meeting substituted for any hurricane storm lovers may be longing for with plenty of huffing and puffing from the usual sources.
After 25 minutes of discursive discussion, which was very revealing in defining the mind set and intelligence quotient of those participating in the windstorm, the committee got down to business.
Included in the talk-talk run up to business, was a flight of fancy from the chairman, the Rev. Dr. Arnold Johnson, leading divine in the city, who allowed that the ruling factor should be “what is best for Largo?”.
Johnson said he is hoping to hear from the public for mundane guidance on charter matters, despite the fact that the last opportunity for citizen involvement produced only four from the masses, all of them “insiders.”
“We represent the people,” Johnson allowed, in probably what has been the biggest howler yet produced in the muddled groping of the 15-member group over 10 meetings.
The committee, all appointed by the City Commission, hardly represents the people. The group, individually and collectively, represents the City Commission and those members who appointed them.
Then Shirley Craig threw in an absurdity. She opined that the committee should be closely guided by the county’s only daily newspaper that editorialized in disagreeing with a committee notion that the city manager can be fired on a 4-3 vote.
“The (Big Paper) says we should re-think that and their opinion is worth paying attention to,” Craig said.
Not surprising when the editorialist of said publication is a devotee of the current city manager. Chester Rowe, immediately disagreed with that notion.
Then J.B. Butler, rising like Lazarus from the grave after declaring at a recent City Commission meeting that he was going to fade away like an old soldier, said that he “did not equate democracy with majority rule,” thus breaking new and startling ground in the annals of the history of western civilization.
Butler’s observation notwithstanding, such established entities as the Florida Legislature, the U.S. Congress and the parliaments, diets and gatherings of all civilized countries are expected to with the silly, but well established, notion of majority rule.
Of course, this whole bloviation was incomprehensible, consisting of wind, noise and substance that only tended to confuse, leaving Butler’s confreres scratching their heads (what did he say?).
Jim Janowski, of course, is still out in left field, once again asking the city’s lawyer, Alan Zimmet, who is advising the committee, to explain something that Zimmet had just fully explained milliseconds before. This seems to be a Janowski trade mark.
At one point, George Feaster launched a mens rea, actus reus discussion that left all but the most determined propping their eyelids open with toothpicks. Obviously, the gist of the discussion was beyond Feaster’s capabilities.
The business of the evening was to discuss Article 9, “General Provisions,” and this generally devolved into discussions rivalling those of the ancient learneds who would examine in detail the number of angels who could dance on the head of a pin and rising to the level of the most intensive Talmudical investigations.
Why there is such an inveterate predisposition to consider changing every word of a document that is more or less satisfactory is a mystery. The mission should have been to clear up confusions and ambiguities, but here are 14 Mr. Fix-Its and a lady (never all there at one time) and they are making mystery of simplicity.
Lost in all the opinion spouting, silly questions and posturing was the insistent cry again and again of the chairman, “We must move on. We must move on.”
Move on to what, observers wondered.
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