With Mayor Jimmy Johnson on the sick list, council members were unable Tuesday to decide what to call Seminole's newest park.
The park, at 113th Street N and 74th Avenue, is a pocket park being built by Pinellas County Utilities. Three of the council members wanted to name the park after its most notable landmark, the water tower that's painted to look like a giant bird cage. The other three wanted to name it after the nearby subdivision, Ridgewood Groves Park.
City Manager Frank Edmunds recommended the matter be tabled until a later date.
The tie vote was a bit ironic. Earlier in the evening, Edmunds explained that one reason Johnson was dissuaded from attending the meeting was the unlikelihood of a tie vote arising from any item on the agenda. Johnson is home recuperating from lung transplant surgery.
When the tie was announced, council members appeared nonplussed. Patricia Hartstein said, "Call Jimmy up." And Vice Mayor Tom Barnhorn asked, "Should we call the mayor?"
Johnson said Wednesday that he was not watching the meeting, which is shown live on Channel 615 and on computer voicestreaming.
"I couldn't tune in for some reason," he said.
But, Johnson said, he knew what happened at the meeting because "I have lots of friends out there."
Had he been able to vote, Johnson said, "I would go with the Seminole Water Tower Park. I think that's more appropriate. ... Seminole's famous for the water tower. I think those birds are more famous than I am."
Johnson said he was pleased with the council decision to reappoint Barnhorn as vice mayor because he had the time to attend meetings in the mayor's stead.
Johnson said he wanted to attend Tuesday's meeting, then decided not to risk it because he's still in some pain and tires easily. The doctors, he said, have told him to begin walking around his neighborhood and even to take stairs, which he could not do before the transplant because the pulmonary fibrosis had so badly affected his breathing.
Johnson said he's beginning to accept visitors, although masks are necessary to ensure he does not get an infection. One visitor who has come by several times is Doc Kinsey, president of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce. Johnson is the chamber's executive director.
Johnson laughed and denied a rumor that he had offered to show Kinsey his scar.
"That's kind of personal," Johnson said. "I did not say that to Doc, I can assure you."
Johnson said he's looking forward to getting back to the council and the chamber.
"I've told everyone (that) when I get well, we're going to form a big circle around Seminole and hug," he said.