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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Nurse's annexation vote draws green flak



ST. PETERSBURG -- Karl Nurse's appointment to the City Council in April was heralded by green activists across Pinellas County who saw him as an ally.

Nurse, after all, co-founded the Pinellas Living Green Expo and was a Suncoast Sierra Club board member.

But Nurse's vote Friday to approve the city's controversial annexation of Tierra Verde's waterfront commercial district has triggered debate about his environmental loyalities among Earth lovers.

"It's a sad day for the Sierra Club when a member of the Suncaost Sierra Club, who was also a force behind the Living Green Expo would move to this blasphemous annexation vote WHICH WILL ALLOW INCREASED DENSITY on a barrier island for developers who are KNOWN to care less about environmental issues," wrote activist Lorraine Margeson in an e-mail blast sent to local leaders and other activists after Friday's vote. "Mr. Nurse, as far as I am concerned you are no longer green except when it comes to money."

Nurse fired back with his own e-mail that listed eight environmental issues he has worked on as a council member, including a project to eliminate methane gas from being a by-product of sewage treatment and lobbying Progress Energy to make their rebates for energy efficiency easier for lower income families.

The list wasn't enough to appease some activists.

"All well and good, Karl," responded Jan Allyn. "But WHY IN THE WORLD did you vote for the TV annexation? Just about no one, other than the developers who want to put some more condos out there, thought it was a good idea. And costly litigation is certain to result."

Other green-minded residents defended Nurse.

"Karl is probably one of the greenest politicians in Tampa Bay, so I would cut him a break here," wrote Marc Washburn, conservation chairman of the Suncoast Sierra Club. "We need Karl in office and not on the sidelines."

- Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:41am]


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