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Commissioners to re-enact first Pinellas meeting -- in costume?



As if debates over EMS funding, fluoride and backyard chickens aren't entertaining enough, Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni wants to celebrate the county's centennial with a Jan. 10 re-enactment of the commission's first meeting in 1912.

Morroni, who will be the commission chairman for 2012, told other members at the end of a strategic planning session Tuesday that he anticipates staging a 30-minute re-enactment  before the first meeting of the year. Morroni suggested members wear "period" clothing consistent with the 1912 era. Commissioner Neil Brickfield said he has researched records of the first meeting, coming up with "action items and writing benign dialogue."

But other commissioners, looking a little uncomfortable and giggly, found some cracks in Morroni's production plans.

For starters, the board had five members in 1912, not the seven of today. And in 1912, politics of the time excluded women (goodbye, Commissioners Nancy Bostock, Susan Latvala and Karen Seel) and black people (no Commissioner Ken Welch).

"You need five white guys," said strategic planning consultant John Streitmatter before he extricated himself from the discussion.

Bostock and Welch weren't hot on a re-enactment.

"I'm not feeling this," Welch said.

"My idea is, I'll be in my office until you're ready to have a business meeting," Bostock said.

That prompted some tweaks. The three white males on the board -- Morroni, Brickfield and Commissioner Norm Roche -- could begin the re-enactment, other commissioners said. The remaining members would step forward later and speak to the progress of the county. At least twice, though, Morroni told them he would still dress in period garb.

"Oh we can start with the chicken ordinance. Look how far we've come," said Latvala, referring to a proposal to allow backyard chickens due for a final vote Dec. 20.

Something haven't changed much. At one point, Brickfield discussed the first meeting and strife with St. Petersburg in 1912 before the county got out of its first year and made all that progress.

"Yeah, but 100 years later, it hasn't changed," Seel joked.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 4:39pm]


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