Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sometimes aligned, Largo commission Seat 1 candidates still find room for disagreement

LARGO — His campaign advertisements are glossy and in color, hers are black and white.

His campaign has a website and a Facebook page. Hers has neither.

He is 30, gay, and promises to bring a "new voice" to the Largo City Commission. She is 72, married for 48 years, and promises to "protect traditional community standards valued by residents and property owners."

Voters will make their choice for Seat 1 on the City Commission Tuesday, the last off-year election for Largo.

While incumbent Mary Gray Black and librarian Michael Smith appear, at face value, to offer two distinct choices, when it comes to issues the candidates aren't that far apart.

Smith says he wants to put an emphasis on public safety spending. Black says she wants to continue to provide "high quality municipal services."

Smith touts himself as fiscally conservative. Black was one of two commissioners to vote against a slight increase in Largo's tax rate this year.

Their alignment on certain issues hasn't prevented the candidates from disagreeing, though.

Smith has criticized Black for being too negative and uninformed at meetings, which he attributes in part to her refusal to meet one-on-one with City Manager Mac Craig or other city staff.

Black accused Smith of being deceptive, which he interpreted as a dig at him for not stating on his campaign literature that he is gay.

The other major difference between the two candidates is money. Smith has raised $15,561 to Black's $5,340, according to their campaign filings. Both numbers include about $4,000 of each candidate's own money.

Black, who has also served stints on the City Commission in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, is not concerned about the 3-to-1 difference in campaign funds.

"God has provided me with exactly what I need," she wrote in an e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times.

This campaign has been different from her previous runs, Black said, because of a "negative side" she attributes to Smith's supporters, but not to Smith.

"I would like to think that my opponent is not responsible for what his supporters do," Black wrote. "He has been very pleasant to me the few times I have been in his presence."

One of those few times was at a Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce event in October, when Black took the microphone first and said Smith had been deceptive.

Black didn't specify what she meant, but Smith felt Black was referring to his homosexuality and a mail campaign flier that included a picture of him with a woman and her child. Smith said the picture was not intended to imply the woman and child were his family, just that he cared about families.

Negativity aside, both candidates say they're optimistic heading into Tuesday. The winner will get a salary of $13,125.46, and be the last commissioner to serve a three-year term, as Largo switches to four-year terms and even-year elections after this year.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday, and Smith and Black both plan to campaign until the early evening. Black will watch the results at the Supervisor of Elections Office, while Smith will host a party at Louie's Grill & Sports Bar at 7924 Ulmerton Road.

"My campaign is going very well," Black wrote. "I know that God is in command and I feel really good."

"I feel pretty positive, but you don't want to let off the throttle," Smith said. "We did the best we can, and we'll see what the voters have to say Tuesday."

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or whobson@sptimes.com.

. fast facts

Largo elections

Polling places for Largo's election will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Check votepinellas.com or call (727) 464-8683 to find out which of the following polling places is where you should vote:

•Southwest Recreation Complex, 13120 Vonn Road

•Highland Recreation Complex, 400 Highland Ave.

•Historic Largo Feed Store, 295 Central Park Drive

•Hope Presbyterian Church, 1698 S Belcher Road

•Fairway Village Mobile Home Park, 1100 S Belcher Road

•Fire Station 40, 2990 Whitney Road

Sometimes aligned, Largo commission Seat 1 candidates still find room for disagreement 11/05/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 4, 2011 1:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joss Whedon's ex-wife accuses him of cheating, being 'hypocrite preaching feminist ideals'

    Celebrities

    Joss Whedon made his name directing cult television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and big-budget action movies, which often featured women in empowering roles. Many applauded him for being a champion of women, a feminist in an industry accused of misogyny and sexism.

    Joss Whedon at the screening of "Much Ado About Nothing" in 2014. Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole alleged in an essay published by The Wrap on Sunday that Whedon had multiple affairs during their 16-year marriage. (Associated Press)
  2. Pasco school's parents, principal seek compromise on behavior plan

    Blogs

    Leaders of a Pasco County elementary school that has come under criticism for its new behavior plan have offered an alternative model that sticks to its goals while also better considering younger children who might not understand the original terminology.

    This is the original chart that upset parents with wording such as "anarchy" and "conform to peer pressure" without any context.
  3. Jon Gruden, Rex Ryan meet with Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    One of the interesting guest stars on HBO's "Hard Knocks", which covers every minute of the Bucs' training camp and preseason, has been Jon Gruden. The legendary former Tampa Bay coach has popped up from time …

    In a teaser clip from episode 3 of "Hard Knocks", Jon Gruden and fellow former coach Rex Ryan meet with Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to discuss his past and future in the NFL. [HBO/NFL FILMS]
  4. German police seize thousands of 'Trump' ecstasy tablets

    National

    BERLIN — German police say they have seized thousands of tablets of the party drug ecstasy in the shape of Donald Trump's head, a haul with an estimated street value of 39,000 euros ($45,900.)

    This undated  picture provided by Polizeiinspektion Osnabrueck police shows an ecstasy pill. German police say they have seized thousands of ecstasy pills in the shape of President Donald Trump's head, a haul  with an estimated street value of 39,000 euros ($45,900). Police in Osnabrueck, in northwestern Germany, say they found the drugs during a check Saturday evening on an Austrian-registered car on the A30 highway. [Police Osnabrueck via AP]
  5. Bucs bring back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete

    Bucs

    Just 12 days before the NFL makes its final cuts, the Bucs have added another position battle, signing back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete with veteran Garrison Sanborn.

    Andrew DePaola is making an impressive recovery from the torn ACL he suffered in last year's season finale against Carolina in January.  [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]