Monday, January 15, 2018
News Roundup

Arntzen to end difficult tenure on the Largo commission

LARGO — In 2004, after more than 20 years of volunteering around City Hall and helping other people get elected, Gigi Arntzen decided it was time to run for the City Commission. She lost the March 2005 election, but she ran again in 2006 and won.

If only she had known what she was getting herself into.

After a six-year stint that included the Steve Stanton sex-change controversy and years of declining revenue and budget cuts, Arntzen, 62, has decided she will not run for re-election in 2012.

"The fire, I guess, is not in me anymore," she said Thursday in City Hall as she reflected on her time in office. "It's really been six tough years."

Less than a year into her first term, Arntzen had to deal with an unexpected media firestorm. Former City Manager Steve Stanton disclosed in February 2007 that he planned to undergo a sex-change operation. Stanton had told a few commissioners, but not all of them, before the story broke.

Arntzen was one of five commissioners who voted to fire Stanton a month later.

Mayor Pat Gerard, one of the two who voted to keep Stanton, called that the one serious disagreement she ever had with Arntzen.

"That was a particularly ugly period in our history," said Gerard, who otherwise had only praise for Arntzen. "She's very conscientious, and always did her homework … Very fair-minded."

Arntzen has no regrets over how she voted. "We made the right decision," said Arntzen, who added that Stanton could have kept his job if he had been more up-front with the commission.

When that ended, Arntzen and the rest of the commission faced a challenge common to governments across the country — revenues dropped off a cliff. Largo has cut $12 million in general fund spending since 2008. The city's staffing has dropped from 938 full-time equivalent jobs in 2007 to 875 in 2012, and more cuts are planned for next year.

Arntzen said she's proud of the job the staff and the commission have done weathering the economic storm without having to drastically cut services.

She's not finished working for Largo, but after November it will be in a volunteer capacity. Arntzen plans to join one of the city's advisory boards. She served on several between the 1970s and 2003, when she retired after 30 years as a secretary or office manager in various departments of Pinellas County government.

Before running for the commission in 2005, Arntzen managed several successful campaigns, including those of Commissioner Harriet Crozier.

"You could trust her. You knew she wasn't going to steer you wrong," Crozier said of her former campaign manager.

While Arntzen thinks she's done running for office, she is interested in getting back into managing campaigns. That job can be hard, she said, but there's a perk: It ends on election day. For some of those running for office this year, Nov. 6 will only mark the beginning.

Arntzen's Seat 4 is one of three commission spots up in November's election. Commissioner Curtis Holmes (Seat 3) and Mayor Gerard have both indicated they intend to run for re-election.

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

CORAL GABLES — Gary Trent scored a season-high 30 and No. 5 Duke needed less than three minutes to erase a 13-point second-half deficit, scoring 18 consecutive points to overtake No. 25 Miami 83-75 on Monday night. The Blue Devils scored 15 in six po...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

PORT RICHEY — As the boat disappeared in smoke and flames Sunday, as people leapt into the cold waters below, the neighborhood rallied. Residents helped the survivors ashore, gave them blankets and opened their homes to keep them warm.The neighbors o...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 15, midday:40 098 2397e_SRit98281Mon., Jan. 15, evening:14 345 3173e_SRit61471Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 15...
Updated: 2 hours ago
On King’s birthday, Tampa Bay parties, marches, reflects

On King’s birthday, Tampa Bay parties, marches, reflects

ST. PETERSBURGTeenagers dunked on 8-foot basketball hoops, parents feasted on hot dogs and snow cones and gospel music blared from a wall of speakers in Tropicana Field’s parking lots.While thousands buzzed around them on Monday, Destiny and Dameka R...
Updated: 3 hours ago

ConnecticutArmy vet sues VA over scalpel left in body after surgeryAn Army veteran who says someone left a scalpel inside him after surgery is suing a Connecticut veterans affairs hospital. Bridgeport resident Glenford Turner says the scalpel was onl...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A time of celebration

A time of celebration

GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | TimesBetty Taylor, who was marching with the organization Books on the Move, hands out beads along the MLK Dream Big Parade route in downtown St. Petersburg on Monday. Spectators were treated to floats, walking units and...
Updated: 3 hours ago

50 senators endorse net neutrality return

WASHINGTON — Fifty U.S. senators have endorsed a legislative measure to override the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry, top Democrats said Monday.The tally leaves supporters just one vote shy of ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ernest Hooper: MLK holiday is a reminder that action, not just words, is required

Ernest Hooper: MLK holiday is a reminder that action, not just words, is required

Minutes before the Rev. Janae Pitts-Murdock delivered her moving keynote speech at the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Breakfast, I checked my emails.Mistake.Even in the 7 a.m. hour, anger emerging from m...
Updated: 3 hours ago