LARGO - In a preview of what the Largo City Commission will see more of tomorrow, citizens lined up at the commission's regular meeting Tuesday to excoriate Mayor Pat Gerard and Steve Stanton, the city manager who will be fired at tomorrow's special session.
Bob Jackson, a former mayor, pointed out the irony of Stanton firing many employees unjustifiably without granting them a hearing while he himself requested and was given three hours to address the commission.
Many of the dozen or so speakers urged the commission not to grant the three hours for Stanton.
The only issue is the best interest of the city, so hearing three hours of propaganda and blather about the merits of transgender, transsexual and other bizarre lifestyles is a waste of time in the minds of many.
Also making strong points Tuesday night was Curtis Holmes, an active citizen, who blasted Gerard as being the source of all the name calling.
"It was you who used words like 'bullies,' 'bigots' and the like," Holmes said.
He also pointed out that Gerard had lied about the role her husband, Eric, played in the whole Stanton circus that has been going on for the past month. Many have questioned the appropriateness of the mayor's husband being involved in city business. She had denied that he was involved.
Speaker after speaker underlined and emphasized that sex change was not the issue in firing Stanton. They said it was for the best interest of the city, that the business of the city would become dysfunctional and that the uproar over Stanton's bizarre and odd lifestyle choice would never die down.
The Rev. Charles Martin of Indian Rocks Baptist Church cited Stanton's behavior when he represented Largo at the National League of Cities meeting in Washington dressed as a woman and using the name "Susan."
Don Forehand, a lifelong Largo resident, demanded an apology from Gerard. He said that Largo people are not bigots, but just want a functioning city government. He said Gerard and Stanton had made Largo the laughing stock of the country.
Ron Sanders said that with all the sex change talk Largo was in danger of becoming another New Orleans and would become a cesspool and attract homosexuals and other deviants.
What is amazing about the whole Stanton episode is the idea that being transgendered and creating the uproar that has come about is perfectly normal and all right, overlooking, obviously, the fact that all of that is repugnant to most people.
"While polite people quietly accept the choice of others," one respected Largo figure said, "no one wants this kind of stuff shoved down their throat."
In large part, that person pointed out, it is a case of a few people, with strictly private agendas, who are pushing the Stanton issue and have mustered hundreds of alternate lifestyle advocates to push their ideas in Largo.
One backer of Stanton and his strong advocate is a zealot for the homosexual lifestyle because that person has a family member who is a homosexual.
Many citizens resent the idea of someone's personal agenda driving and upsetting the normal business of their city.