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Former St. Pete Beach Commissioner Linda Chaney's appearance on Rays field stirs anger

No one questions why Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro is on the field at the Trop. The same’s not true of Linda Chaney.

DIRK SHADD | Times\uFEFF

No one questions why Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro is on the field at the Trop. The same’s not true of Linda Chaney.

St. Pete Beach

What? She's not a city commissioner!

Residents of this contentious beach community in attendance at Sunday's Tampa Bay Rays game against the Washington Nationals were surprised to see a former commissioner standing with a group of beach mayors on the field. But the stunner came when they heard the announcer introduce Linda Chaney as "commissioner" and recognize her as the official St. Pete Beach representative at the special Rays' Gulf Beaches Day event. Chaney left the City Commission in March. Her appearance at the game energized the city's favorite game — conspiracy by e-mail.

"This is NOT how I expect my city to represent me," said Rosemary Manning in an e-mail to the city clerk, who then distributed it to the entire commission and public subscribers to city e-mails.

Manning demanded to know why Mayor Mike Finnerty was not at the game and why one of the other "elected commissioners" could not stand in for him? Why was Chaney "allowed to have herself introduced as Commissioner, and who purchased Chaney's ticket?"

Chaney says Finnerty asked her to represent the city at the game because she helped create the Beaches Day event. Finnerty had a prior commitment at a nonprofit event. Chaney said she had no idea she would be announced as "commissioner" of St. Pete Beach. It wasn't until she returned to her seat to find her "vocal critics" Rosemary and Bob Manning sitting nearby that she discovered her presence might be controversial.

ST. Petersburg

Businessman joins city's District 6 race

Phillip A. Garrett, 56, has joined the race for the District 6 City Council seat. Public records show he is the president of Atlantic Route, a St. Petersburg company that makes jigsaw puzzles. He faces incumbent Karl Nurse, former city employee Vel Thompson, and Derrick Frohne, a St. Petersburg College student.

Kenneth City

Workshops reinstated; some fees may increase

In case there was any doubt, council members made clear at a workshop Monday that a new style of government has arrived in this town of 4,500. The council reinstated regular workshops — the fourth Monday of each month starting June 22 — and are considering increasing fees. One fee that's likely to go up is the one for garage sales, from $2 to $5. But so will the number of such sales allowed (four a year instead of two) and the number of signs allowed to advertise the sales (six instead of two). Officials will also crack down on enforcement. Putting on a sale without a permit will require obtaining a permit and paying $10 instead of $5. Kenneth City police will look for posted permits at garage sales.

St. Petersburg

Aronberg pays tribute to Heller's toughness

Democratic state Sen. Dave Aronberg paid homage to Bill Heller's toughness as a candidate at the Pinellas Kennedy-King Unity Dinner Saturday night. "When Bill Heller beats you, he doesn't just defeat you. First you lose, then you go to jail," attorney general candidate Aronberg joked, referring to Heller's rival, Angelo Cappelli, who was convicted of grand theft and perjury after losing to Heller in 2006. "Remind me never to run against Bill Heller." Cappelli, who bought his old Placido Bayou property from Scott Wagman, is due to be released July 5.

David DeCamp, Cristina Silva, Anne Lindberg, Sheila Mullane Estrada and Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.

Former St. Pete Beach Commissioner Linda Chaney's appearance on Rays field stirs anger 06/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 5:43pm]

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