By Leo Coughlin
Pinellas County's only daily newspaper has once again attempted to blacken the name and reputation of a public figure.
It has demonstrably been standard policy for the Big Paper to harm anyone running for office who does not comport with the paper's agenda - an agenda which is, in the minds of many, questionable to begin with.
Editors - at least those in the Clearwater-Largo area - use reporters to do their bidding in attempting to harm someone seeking elective office.
The BP's goal is to play a key role in the active function of local governments - from the County Commission to tiny Belleair Shore.
The latest outbreak of trying to manipulate public opinion against an office seeker occurred four days ago with its publication of information concerning Curtis Holmes, a candidate for the Largo City Commission.
He is not wanted on that commission by the Big Paper - no, no, no, no, no.
As testimony to the fact that he is running strong and will probably beat in the November election his opponent, a tool of The Hive, the BP trotted out a story of ancient vintage and tried to make it look like something evil and nefarious was going on.
There was an incident involving Holmes more than three decades ago. It was adjudicated. As the BP's story itself says there was no conviction. No finding of guilt. In fact, the court, in accordance with accepted legal procedure, sealed the file of the case.
So what do we have here?
What we have is a blatant attempt to blacken the name of a worthy citizen who has a fine and upstanding reputation in the community.
Holmes has had an outspoken involvement in the affairs of the Largo government. It would be great if there were more citizens like him who took an active interest in their government.
Holmes' mistake - in terms of having an old and unimportant incident dredged up - is that he chose to run for office, for the commission, so that he could play an even more responsible role in his city.
His taking this step set alarm bells in the precincts of the BP office. Can't have that. Got to find a way to damage this guy, Holmes, if not kill him off altogether as a public figure (or nuisance, as the BP might think of it).
As a member of the commission Holmes almost certainly would throw sand in the gears of the agenda goals of the Big Paper.
The BP is an outfit that is still pushing for a statue of Martin Luther King in Largo, although the populace of Largo has given a very firm, emphatic and loud no.
The BP is an outfit that thinks a city manager who wanted to prance around city hall in female clothes is a good idea and one that should be upheld. In other words, those who fired him and those who wanted him fired are wrong.
Although that subject is old and dead, the BP cross-examined candidates (those who were foolish enough to respond) on whether they thought the right thing was done in dealing with the abnormal invididual.
The BP is an outfit that is strong for "diversity" and although that is a fine and good word in most places, in Largo it means the furtherance and promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.
Trying to cast aspersions, damage or "expose" people is a standard practice of the Big Paper.
A few years ago when a public figure was running for office it very deliberately had one of its reporters do a "feature story" on the man, the only purpose of which was to underline the fact that the person came from a Jewish background.
This was done subtly, pointing out that the man had a different name now than his birth name, a name that clearly suggested his Jewish heritage.
Why anyone would think that conveying the idea that someone is Jewish is harmful is, in and of itself, a manifestation of some very sick thinking.
Then, not too many years ago, under a scenario that was designed by a now departed official, an elected government figure was discredited through rumor and innuendo.
Chasing the story, a BP reporter, who has since moved on, bordered if not actually committed defamatory conduct in calling the employer of the elected figure who held an executive position in private life.
The search was for dirt and leading questions were asked, just as they were with Holmes.
Then there was the case some years ago of another Largo elected official who was harmed.
And there are other examples.
The bottom line answer for those in public life?
Do not talk to any entity you don't trust.
And the Big Paper has defined for itself whether it should be trusted or not.