By Leo Coughlin
Largo has a chance next Tuesday to invigorate the City Commission.
Voters should take that opportunity and elect Curtis Holmes and thus fill what has been, essentially, an empty seat.
Rodney Woods has ensconced himself in Seat 3, sure enough, for the past three and a half years, but overall his performance has been dismal, undistinguished and perfunctory.
Woods should go.
If nothing else, his financial reports and other information supplied by him that indicates glaring and blatant untruths raises character issues.
Woods perhaps can satisfy himself with mission accomplished because his only motive - stated many times by himself - was to get some kind of monument to the Rev. Martin Luther King in Largo.
He succeeded in this although it was a struggle with most of the problems brought about through situations that Woods himself created.
The King memorial became a reality, mostly through some kind of political correctness kindness. King needed no encomiums in Largo; his significant place in history is well established.
It was no surprise that Woods received an endorsement from the county's only daily newspaper. In its endorsement of this sad and deplorable candidate, the paper adopted the language in his own submitted statement as its own which untruthfully attributed the Largo Library and the Strategic Plan to his work on the commission.
Both the Largo Library and work on the Strategic Plan were done before Woods was ever elected.
Obviously, the paper, financially strapped - by its own admission - did not have the resources to fact check the wild claims of Woods.
Given only two choices, the BP certainly was not going to put its stamp of approval on Holmes who, in his successful efforts of getting Big Paper vendors off the streets as a safety issue, has cost the paper almost a quarter of a million dollars.
Of course, the endorsement of Woods by the Big Paper has only made it a bigger laughing stock than it already is. As someone pointed out, "How would the paper know? They don't cover Largo like the Gazette does."
Woods refused to answer any queries from this agent during the campaign but made himself freely available (lies and all) to the Big Paper.
He also ducked and avoided any debates with challenger Holmes during the campaign including two such events that have been participated in by all candidates in the past.
The two did have a confrontation at a private meeting of the Largo Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce last week where Woods made a very poor and shaky appearance.
Woods seems like a nice enough little fellow, but has trouble, it appears from the official record, with record keeping and the truth, a problem that has persisted throughout his public life in largo for past several years.
Woods's financial records are a mess - full of misstatements and inconsistencies and downright lies.
For example, he claims he has no assets and liabilities but is listed in county records as owning property on Georgianna Street and has a mortgage with SunTrust that is also listed in public records.
His campaign financial reports don't add up and obviously do not include reporting that, by law, is mandatory.
An example of that is the numerous campaign signs for Woods that were seen throughout the city in September but there is no mention in his financial reports of the expenditure for these.
A typical sign costs a little more than $3 and a survey showed about 150 signs advertising Woods's campaign. The law mandates that funds must be collected and available before an expense is incurred.
Contributions received by Woods were interesting. One, for $200, came from Eric Gerard, husband of Mayor Pat Gerard. He is also a Democratic Party and a MoveOn.org supporter (he puts his money where his mouth is).
Pat Burke and Gay Gentry, two former members of the commission, were also listed among Woods's contributors, as was Keith Bailey, once thought of as an ardent Republican.
Politics makes strange bed fellows.
So to speak.
Return to Current Edition