By Leo Coughlin
This is being written with the swirling, coruscating Jackson story - the attempt by some in Largo to keep Bob Jackson off the election ballot in November - still fully unresolved, so it may be a bit tardy on the news.
But it is clear that Largo has a situation that the French delicately describe as prendre l'eau.
Yes, Largo, leaderless, drifting, baffled, and the laughing stock of the county, is taking water on to the extent that it is now lapping over the gunwales.
Those who care - and there are not enough of them - are sending pleas and prayers heavenward, others have started novenas, candles are being lit in churches all over Pinellas County.
What they are seeking, hoping for, is relief from the comedy of errors, the blundering, the foolishness that goes on in Largo.
That is badly needed. Draconian changes need to be made in Largo; one hopes that such might take place in the not too distant future. But if there is any place on earth that disappoints, it is Largo and what goes on there.
The best one can gather is that Jackson will not be on the ballot if for no other reason than the time constraints don't allow any time for action.
Ballot makeup for the November 3 election closed out yesterday. That is because many have to be mailed out to absentee voters (a way of voting, by the way, that has been abused and misused, particularly by the very lazy).
As last week's business closed out one could not get any information out of official Largo on l'affaire Jackson.
The city attorney (he works only part time for the handsome sum of $2,226 a week) put the kibosh on giving out any information. Isn't that helpful?
Queries (at least from this agent) to City Hall were answered with the formula that they had been forwarded to the city attorney's office where, one understands, they wound up in the dead letter file because said city attorney went on vacation coincident with the Jackson business coming to the fore.
Said city attorney also told Jackson's lawyer, Bob Walker, to not talk to any official in Largo, about the Jackson business.
In the way lawyers do business, this is perfectly proper, understand that. Jackson was represented by a lawyer and the opposing lawyer (the city attorney) has the right to forbid Jackon's counsel from talking to any manifestation of his client which is, presto! the City of Largo.
So you get the picture. Jackson's lawyer forbidden to pursue anything with the city on Jackson's behalf and can deal only with the city's lawyer, but he is on vacation.
You connect the dots and see what you get. I did and I arrived at a conclusion. Maybe you will, too.
The long and the short of it is that two city employees, charged with performing some very specific functions in the processing of Jackson's candidate papers, failed in their duties.
There is no question about it.
What do you call it? Nonfeasance? Misfeasance? Malfeasance? I would say all three.
First of all, the filling out of the papers was being done in the lobby of City Hall amid the bustle and business there with phones ringing (the notary public answering same because she is the receptionist), people coming and going, papers being filled out and passed to the city clerk.
Jackson filled out all the papers required. He obviously knew the Loyalty Oath document required him to sign under the eyes of the notary public and patiently waited for that moment to arrive.
The city clerk shoved papers at the notary, they were notarized without Jackson's signature (which is unlawful), copies were made and Jackson was sent on his way after being assured orally that he was "all qualified."
Later, it turns out, such is not the case at all.
Before the Supervisor of Elections Office ever caught the omission of Jackson's signature, the city clerk was required by law to check his papers and inform him of any mistakes, omissions, etc.
So there was another unlawful act.
Now it appears the people of Largo may have no choice for mayor. Those who wanted to cannot get back their two-term mayor, Bob Jackson.
The whole medley of scenes is like something out of a Marx Brothers movie.
As the bard of blessed memory wrote, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
Substitute Largo for the locale and you understand what all the scribbling here above is about.
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