SAFETY HARBOR — No one could read an ordinance quite like John Hubbard, Dunedin's city attorney.
Each number, letter and word was delivered articulately, authoritatively and in rapid-fire succession during his 37 years of service.
But Hubbard was much more than just a strong voice on the dais.
He was a powerful voice for trees, the environment, the arts. A commanding voice against over-development, billboard companies, and those who threatened frivolous lawsuits against the city — including a woman bitten on the buttocks by a raccoon in her bedroom.
Friday, after jokingly being dubbed an "old curmudgeon" by presenter F. Wallace Pope Jr., Hubbard was given the Ralph Richards Award, the Clearwater Bar's most prestigious honor for those who demonstrate extraordinary care and dedication for both the legal profession and the community.
It was all part of the Clearwater Bar Association's 50th annual Law Day Luncheon and annual meeting at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.
Back at his seat, Hubbard said he's enjoying his recent retirement, but his voice will still be heard.
"I'm going to become a guardian ad litem for children who need someone to speak up for them," he said.
• Lt. Sean McGillen of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office received the Allen Moore Gold Badge Award for outstanding law enforcement. McGillen, who has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1992, helped establish Pinellas Safe Harbor, a homeless shelter designed for those who might otherwise end up in jail for minor, nonviolent crimes. (Moore was a Clearwater police officer who died of cancer before he could receive the Bar's first Gold Badge Award in 1988, so it was named after him.)
• Sheriff Jim Coats was presented with the Liberty Bell Award for his leadership in law enforcement.
• Judge Morris Silberman, an appellate judge for the Second District Court of Appeal, received the John U. Bird Award for high ideals, personal character, and judicial competence and service.
• Judge Michael Andrews, a Pasco judge who faced public outrage when he ordered a makeup artist to cover vulgar and offensive tattoos on a defendant, was given the George W. Greer Judicial Independence Award. (Greer was the judge involved in the highly controversial Terri Schiavo case.)
• Eric Tong and Jeffrey Newsome, 17-year-old students at St. Petersburg High School, won $150 each and the Harry Fogel traveling trophy for their arguments during the Great Debate, a competition coordinated by the Clearwater Bar's Young Lawyers Division.
The teams debated whether undocumented youth who graduate from college or serve in the military should be granted U.S. citizenship.
Collectively, the teens said participation in the contest has made them consider law careers.