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. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  3. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulffront hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests relax on the beach near the Don Cesar at St. Pete Beach. Guests at gulf-front hotels in St. Pete Beach can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas after the change was passed unanimously by the City Commission Tuesday night. Residents and other beachgoers who are not registered guests of the hotels continue to be barred from imbibing anywhere on the city's beaches.
  4. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  5. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark

    National

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    From left, Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact executive director, introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, PolitiFact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair; and Neil Brown, Tampa Bay Times editor and vice president, at the Poynter Institute on Tuesday.