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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Photo time not welcome on City Council



Clearwater City Council member Bill Jonson was just trying to share some photos.

At Monday's meeting of the Community Redevelopment Agency (a body made up of the five Council members and focused on urban redevelopment), Jonson brought photos he snapped at the city's Dec. 5 Winter's Miracle on Cleveland Street event.

He gave gave them to public communications director Joelle Castelli, who put them on the overhead projector connected to the chamber's TV screens.

The shots of children playing in fake snow and Cleveland Street twinkling in Christmas lights did not go over well with Mayor George Cretekos.

When Jonson finished a rundown of the event, giving it props for a successful eight years, Cretekos wasted no time.

“While I appreciate your comments, I would hope that in the future that you realize that staff has other things to do as opposed to listening to what our personal feelings are on one event over another,” he quipped. “Each one of us goes to many events during the course of the week, and if we were going to take pictures and show them to all of us, we would be here until tonight.”

Some of the several dozen in the meeting's crowd cringed at each other and chuckled quietly. The awkwardness could be cut with a knife.

Downtown Development Board Administrator Anne Fogarty-France piped up for Jonson, telling the Council she was actually “thinking of asking Council-member Jonson for copies of those pictures so we can use them” on the city website.

Jonson said he'd be happy to share.

And he added that since the Florida Sunshine Law prohibits him from sharing the photos with his colleagues outside of a public meeting, he was just using the platform to compliment a successful event.

“I'd like to understand my fellow council members and what's important to them,” he said.

But Cretekos was clear.

“I just don't want this to become a habit,” he said.  

[Last modified: Monday, December 14, 2015 4:03pm]


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