LARGO - As Largo's March 7 election day looms closer, now less than three weeks away, speculation looms about the makeup of the City Commission and what may happen with that commission.
Three seats are in contention - Pat Gerard gave up her commission seat and even though burdened with the lingering remnants of election law violations a year ago and a pending Ethics Commission case to challenge powerful and popular Bob Largo for mayor; Ernie Bach and Rodney Woods seek the open seat Gerard left, and Jean Halvorsen is fighting to keep her commission seat that she has held so long against Gigi Arntzen.
This is Arntzen's second race - the lost a bid for a commission seat a year ago - but she is no stranger to city politics.
Bach is seeking a return to the commission where he served some years ago. His opponent, Rodney Woods, is a neophyte who lost in a race last year.
Among the cognoscenti, Jackson, Halvorsen and Bach are seen as winners, although the view is that Halvorsen is in a real tough fight.
Jackson can rely on his years of outstanding service and leadership along with his great popularity. There is hardly a man, woman and child who has not encountered "Hizzoner" and his friendly face at one time or another.
The fear is that if these favorites get in they will hook up in a vote to remove Steve Stanton, the city's longtime city manager.
Many observers think this would be a colossal mistake and indications are that Stanton's job is safe. Jackson has had his differences with Stanton, but the mayor emphasizes that this has not been personal.
"People don't realize how close Steve and I work on many things," Jackson says.
Bach has given no indication that he would be in favor of giving Stanton the boot.
One of the referenda on the ballot asks voters if they want to change the current requirement of five votes, a super majority, to remove the city manager to a regular four vote majority.
If the five-vote requirement survives, there just are not five votes to dump Stanton. If the voters opt for four to do the deed, those votes don't seem to be there either.
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