LARGO - The Largo City Commission will meet next week to work on changes to the city’s charter that will be sent to the voters in the March election.
It is a special meeting scheduled December 1 on a Thursday, a departure for the commission which regularly meets on Tuesday. There is no other meeting of the commission scheduled next week.
The date poses a conflict for at least one member of the commission who is eager to look in on the meeting by an ad hoc committee to pursue the future use of the old library.
One of the odd things about the library committee is that it is largely stocked with people who do not live in Largo. Most of them are the artsy-craftsy type and the makeup of the committee, chosen by the city administration, is drawing looks.
One commissioner is outraged that non-Largo residents should be on a committee that will have input on the disposal of property of the taxpayers of Largo.
There has been an agenda afoot in Largo for some time to introduce “diversity” into Largo and to promote a “human relations ordinance” both codes for stepped up homosexual lifestyle in the city.
A “human relations ordinance” failed in an earlier attempt to ram it through. The purpose of such an ordinance is to signal to the homosexual community throughout the area that Largo is a welcoming community for that kind of lifestyle.
Most observers have said that Largo fulfills all the goals of diversity in terms of race, national origin, religion, etc., and besides, with federal, state and county laws there is no need for additional protections for anyone.
One of the aspects in further work on the charter by the commission is the input of City Manager Steve Stanton.
He says he is concerned that the adoption of some recommendations by the committee would reduce his authority. This is a hard one to swallow inasmuch as Stanton now has nearly total authority and autonomy in the city.
Over the years the commission has allowed its authority to be eroded and the alert Stanton has been on hand long enough and is knowledgeable and canny enough to have gobbled up every prerogative the commission has allowed to slip away.
Stanton has said he intends to convey those concerns in a memorandum.
Illustrative of the whimsy of politics or the winds of political fortune was the statement, early on, by Commissioner Andy Guyette that he would accept in toto the work of the charter committee and pass it on to the voters for final determination.
Instead, Guyette was straining at the bit at the first meeting the commission had to review the charter when he was bubbling over with the urge to give his own ideas on what should be in the charter.
Commissioner Mary Black, on the other hand, stayed steadfast in her position that the charter document, as it came from the working committee, go directly to the people for approval or not.
Of course, the whole process is turned on its head in terms of the principles of government formation with the charter being the creature of the commission (through the committee) instead of vice versa.
Whatever happens, the basis of the charter will not have come directly from the people, who are theoretically sovereign, but from elected officials who have a vested interest.
This is not unusual in Largo, a city that has decided not to go by the rule of law. It would be good if it did because such a move might put a halt to the corruption with which the city is plagued.
Amazingly, the charter committee never addressed the issue of nepotism. Mayor Bob Jackson did, though, and Guyette argued against it on the basis that elected officials would have no “direction” over relatives hired by the city.
Of course, this is a total misunderstanding of what nepotism is. It does not mean having supervision over or direction of a relative employed, but is in the nature of doing kin a favor, rewarding one with a job through the influence of office.
Commissioner Harriet Crozier stayed silent during that discussion November 8, but must have been squirming very uncomfortably inside.
Her husband was hired by the city one year after she gained elective office – the classic definition of nepotism.
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