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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Anonymous words speak loudly



ST. PETERSBURG -- Council members here spent part of Monday's meeting grappling with the decision of whether to sue Pinellas County over a proposed whack in the funds the city receives for providing emergency medical services.

In the end, the council agreed to wait until Dec. 1 to make a decision. But not all council members were thrilled with that decision. Wengay Newton was one who advocated immediately filing suit or at least giving Mayor Bill Foster the go-ahead to file suit on Dec. 1 if nothing had changed in the impasse between the city and county.

For Newton, evidence that it will be impossible for the city and county to reach a compromise agreement came in the form of an comment to a St. Petersburg Times story about St. Petersburg's EMS struggles. The comment, signed "Reality," was really county Commissioner Norm Roche. In the comment, Roche, who admitted to being Reality, wrote, "So because you have more thug shootings, drug od's, and prostitutes beatings in your city, you should be paid more ... now there's a community goal for ya."

Referring to the comment, Newton said, St. Petersburg has a county commissioner "creaming us" on a blog making it "pretty obvious" what's going on.

"All this wait, wait, wait" to file suit, Newton said. "You've heard the truth about how they feel about us."

-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 3:30pm]


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