LARGO – It is well established that Largo is the capital of apathy but citizens have an opportunity tomorrow to see their elected officials in action discussing what may loom in the city’s immediate future.
It has not been well advertised outside the corridors of the city hall (barely mentioned, in fact), but the mayor, commissioners and city staff will meet for an “executive retreat” at the Collaborative Lab at St. Petersburg College’s Epicenter at the ICOT Center at 58th Street.
In fact, information on the meeting was practically a secret in some areas of City Hall where some key people knew nothing about the “retreat.”
There was nary a mention of it at Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting. It is clear that the mugwumps of Largo would be perfectly happy if the public would just stay away.
The out of the way location is just east of U.S. 19. The “retreat” takes on an almost secret aspect, but, of course, it must be open to the public, even though that public is one that has shown little interest in its city.
Perhaps, with large tax increases looming and plans for heavy capital spending in the works, residents might take an interest and sit on the sidelines while their elected representatives go through an agenda that will run from 8 a.m. tomorrow until 5 p.m.
The last time one of these “retreats” was held – at least to anyone’s knowledge – was a couple of years ago in Indian Rocks Beach. At least, this time the out of the way session is being held in city limits.
Though it appears to be a long day, there are breaks aplenty. After a continental breakfast the city squad will work an hour and a half until a 10 a.m. break. The Strategic Plan will be looked at and probably a measurement taken of its success.
Another hour and 45 minutes will take the participants to lunch. In that period, implementation of the Strategic Plan will be looked at. This is quite extensive.
After lunch, two hours will be spent, until 3 p.m., on “internal issues.” Included in this are City Commission meeting procedures with citizen comments – that part of the meeting where the public is allowed to speak – getting much attention.
For some reason, the mayor and commission wants to keep a lid on public comments. Some members of the commission are so riddled with negative issues like nepotism, cronyism and conflicts of interest they are probably in extreme fear that some citizen will bring up such subjects for public exposure.
There has been an emphasis on stressing to citizens who want to speak warning them against abrasive language, disrespect and “fighting words.” None of which, with perhaps one notable exception, ever take place.
In fact, the city’s part-time lawyer, Alan Zimmet, says he cannot come up with a definition of “fighting words,” although the Supreme Court of the United States has rendered definitions on the words several times in very clear and succinct terms.
(You would think at $2,100 a week for part time work the lawyer could at least copy down a definition from the Supreme Court.)
After a mid-afternoon break, one of the subjects to be discussed is called “social opportunities.” Observers are wondering what in tarnation that is.
Though no one in the city has urged such, some hardy residents who try to follow what goes on have urged their fellow citizens to show up.
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