Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Comments at Hillsborough commission meeting may bring new rules

TAMPA — A tense comment session at the Hillsborough County Commission meeting Wednesday may change the way the public can address the board.

Mark Klutho, a vocal Largo resident who frequents commission meetings, stirred things up by talking about a newspaper article on the fatal bicycle accident involving LeRoy Collins Jr.

"You have to follow the rules of the road," Klutho said.

Collins, 75, a retired two-star admiral, former political candidate and son of a Florida governor, was hit while riding a bicycle in South Tampa on July 29.

Klutho's comments came as Collins' widow, Jane, and son, LeRoy Collins III, sat six rows behind him.

Commissioners Mark Sharpe and Rose Ferlita tried to intervene. "Have you no common decency?" Ferlita asked.

Klutho said he was exercising his First Amendment rights.

Sharpe, who was the acting chairman Wednesday, called for a recess and the Collins relatives were ushered out a side door.

County attorneys spoke with Klutho for a few minutes. He was then allowed his remaining time.

"Everyone has a First Amendment right," Ferlita said as the commission reconvened. "There's also certain decorum and a level of respect to go both ways."

Klutho countered: "I was just told I 'must respect.' That is not a requirement for me to come and speak."

Klutho is a fixture at meetings in Pinellas and Hillsborough.

County Attorney Renee Lee said commissioners have options on how to address public comments, including not broadcasting that portion of the meeting and putting public comment at the end. She said commissioners will talk about those options at their Dec. 9 retreat.

"We do give people a forum to reach a larger audience than if they just stood on the street corner," Lee said.

Collins' son and widow were in attendance for a discussion about naming the county's Veterans Memorial Museum for Collins, which commissioners ultimately approved.

Collins' son, who was at the edge of his seat as Klutho started his comments, said veterans like his father fight for everyone's right to free speech.

"You have to be thankful the veterans have given us the right to speak," he said.

Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or jleone@sptimes.com.

Comments at Hillsborough commission meeting may bring new rules 10/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. McConnell trying to revise the Senate health care bill by Friday

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to send a revised version of his health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office as soon as Friday as he continues to push for a vote before Congress' August recess.

    Protesters rally against the Senate Republican health care bill Wednesday on the east front of the Capitol building.
  2. Police raise likely death toll in London high-rise blaze

    World

    LONDON — The number of people killed or presumed dead in the London high-rise fire has inched up to 80, but the final death toll may not be known for months, British police said at a grim briefing Wednesday.

  3. Rick Baker gives himself a "B" in 1st debate against Rick Kriseman

    Blogs

    Rick Baker gave himself a “B” in his first debate against Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Rick Baker chats with supporters at a fundraiser at St. Petersburg Yacht Club Wednesday evening
  4. Companies, governments assess damage from latest malware attack

    World

    PARIS — Companies and governments around the world on Wednesday counted the cost of a software epidemic that has disrupted ports, hospitals and banks. Ukraine, which was hardest hit and where the attack likely originated, said it had secured critical state assets — though everyday life remained affected, …

  5. Details of Trump's travel ban still being finalized

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security labored Wednesday to finalize rules for visitors from six mostly Muslim nations who hope to avoid the Trump administration's revived travel ban and come to the United States.