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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Heller to Pinellas Park: Make mine a Sabal



Things could have been awkward this morning at the monthly breakfast meeting of the PInellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce. After all, with six legislators as guest speakers, the last thing you want to be is a city official under fire for spending more than $6,000 per tree to buy palms grown in Arizona to plant in the Park Boulevard median. Yet, that's what Pinellas Park officials who attended the breakfast had to cope with.

Mayor Bill Mischler chose to deal with the situation by repeatedly saying, "I don't know anything about it."

Pinellas Park spokesman and government relations guru Tim Caddell chose to confront the issue head on. Caddell, who moderated the panel, told the legislators: "I gave each of you some protection this morning. I managed to keep all of you off the front page of the St. Petersburg Times this morning. And, we're planting a tree in your honor."

That was fine with Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, but he specified, "by the way, if you plant a tree for me, make it a Sabal." The Sabal, also known as the cabbage palm, is a Florida native.

-- Anne Lindberg, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:28am]


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