Candidates for two seats to attend forum
A candidates forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers at Seminole City Hall, 9199 113th St. N.
Candidate Leslie Waters will not be present, but the other candidates for the two available council seats in the March 10 election are expected to attend. They are incumbent Tom Barnhorn, third-time candidate Patricia Plantamura and first-timer James Quinn.
Council selects Elias as new town attorney
Council members unanimously chose John Elias as the new town attorney. Elias, who serves as attorney for Seminole and Belleair Shore, was recommended by outgoing town attorney Paul Marino.
Elias received his juris doctor in 1968 from the University of Kentucky College of Law. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third and Fifth Circuit. He is a member of the St. Petersburg and Clearwater bar associations, the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the Pinellas County Trial Lawyers and the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.
Every fiber of tidiness ordinance rechecked
Final adoption of the so-called neatness ordinance has been delayed yet again after residents questioned whether promised changes had been made.
Council members had agreed to remove a clause that allowed officials to enter homes if they thought there was a violation of the ordinance, which covers the upkeep and appearance of all property in the town. But at Wednesday's meeting, residents pointed out that the ordinance still had a reference to "right of entry."
Town attorney Paul Marino said that was merely part of the title of the rule. "Those titles don't mean anything," Marino said. Besides, he said, state law allows a right of entry so it is unnecessary to have that in the proposal.
Council members also tried to reassure residents that all the promised changes had been made. They agreed to table the ordinance to give council members a chance to go over it one more time to make sure parts that residents had found to be objectionable had been changed.
A retiring Marino: 'I guess I did it my way'
Outgoing town attorney Paul Marino used his farewell speech to praise himself, the mayor and the police chief and to chastise a "vocal minority" of residents.
Marino's speech followed an announcement at Wednesday's council meeting by Mayor Muriel Whitman that he was leaving. Some members of the audience applauded and one or two said, "Whoo-hoo!"
Marino, who is retiring to play golf, travel and "do fun things" with his wife, promised, however, that he would be "here for you" if Kenneth City council members should ever call on him.
Marino said he had done a good job representing the town and keeping it out of legal trouble. He also praised Whitman, who is facing a re-election challenge from former council member Teresa Zemaitis. Whitman, he said, is a good mayor, and Doug Pasley is a good police chief, he said.
Marino was less enthusiastic about the news coverage the town has received, especially over a so-called neatness ordinance that, in its original form, would have allowed town officials to enter homes if they thought the inside was not being kept up to snuff. If the owner had refused entry, the town could have gone to court for permission to go into the house.
The "misleading stories," he said, cause a "vocal minority of persons to overreact."
That vocal minority, he said, displayed poor behavior during debates.
"I have never (in 40 years serving in local government) experienced a level of rudeness and wilful disrespect" as happened during meetings discussing that proposal, he said.
Despite the rudeness and disrespect, he said, "I've enjoyed it. That's all I have to say."
But Marino continued, acknowledging that many did not like him.
"I guess, as Frank Sinatra would say, I did it my way," he concluded.