Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The Buzz: A call for manners at meetings, candidate vows return

Minding p's and q's

At almost every meeting of the Pinellas County Commission there's a public comment period and at almost every meeting the same three or four people show up and berate their elected officials. This has probably been going on for generations, and most of the commission is immune to it, but apparently Commissioner Janet Long has had enough.

"The same three people come up here," Long said at the end of Tuesday's meeting. "One of them is always talking about a School Board issue."

Long then became angry: "I worked really hard to be a county commissioner. … I didn't sign up for insults and name-calling. Some of it recently has been somewhat threatening."

She said she wanted to see some improvement. "It is time to be grownups. Can we please have a discussion about what has gone on for far too long?"

County Attorney Jim Bennett told her the staff was already working on that.

What the commissioners currently have is a traditional public forum, he said, and that means "anything goes." He said the staff is working on a draft proposal to instead have a "limited public forum" at which the public can only speak about "what is in your jurisdiction."

But he cautioned the commissioners to tread lightly: "The bottom line is, we're dealing with First Amendment rights."

Even changing the nature of the forum, though, "will not address a civility issue," he added. "The chair is fully in charge of controlling any disruption to the proceedings."

Commissioner Karen Seel, who was chairing the meeting, said she thought one speaker that morning "almost went over the line."

She'll be back

"Yeah, I lost," were the first words out of Lorraine Margeson's mouth to a reporter who called on the night of the election. Followed by: "I ain't going away."

It has been only a few days since Margeson, an environmental activist, lost her race for the District 2 seat held by Jim Kennedy, but she's already hinting at another run and reflecting on what she could have done better. Getting into the race earlier would have helped, she said, as would have a more organized campaign.

"But I've made priceless connections through this experience and I will definitely be a player going forward," she said.

That's likely to mean a front-and-center role on public debate over what to do about the city's aging Pier. "Exactamundo," she said.

Green light what?

Tampa entrepreneur Tom Hall has a few thoughts on how to improve his city and he rattled them off at a recent conference. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Hall really likes the idea of building a monorail to connect Tampa with Beach Drive in St. Petersburg. His vision includes extending the line to Tropicana Field.

Cool idea. Except that Tucker Hall, the public relations company that Tom Hall founded, has been paid $400,000 at this point by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to educate the public about light rail, not monorail.

Pinellas' plan doesn't include a rail link to Tampa because Hillsborough defeated a transit referendum in 2010. But it does include plans to build a station near Tropicana Field.

But if we're dreaming here, why limit ourselves? Monorail. Light rail. Let's have it all.

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow @annamphillips on Twitter. Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow @markpuente on Twitter.

The Buzz: A call for manners at meetings, candidate vows return 11/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 8, 2013 6:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. How Jameis Winston's turnovers doomed the Bucs again

    Bucs

    The Bucs' rise or fall is based on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. His failure to take care of the football was arguably the biggest factor in their 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

    Jameis Winston has turned the football over 25 times in 17 road games. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  2. Wrenching photos show hurricane battered Puerto Rico on brink of crisis

    Hurricanes

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis" and it was up to Congress to …

    Residents bathe in a natural spring in the hill town of Toa Alta, Puerto Rica, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. As life in Puerto Rico grinds on nearly a week after the Category 4 storm knocked out all the power, most of the water and left people waiting in excruciating lines for fuel, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday that the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis." [Victor J. Blue | New York Times]
  3. New 'Game of Thrones' concert experience coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

    Blogs

    More music is coming.

    A new, live Game of Thrones concert experience is coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sept. 21, 2018, the venue announced today. That may seem like a long way off, but with no new season on HBO's immediate horizon, that's probably the next taste of Game of Thrones you're going to get for a …

  4. Epilogue: Stu Arnold, founder of Auto Trader magazine

    Human Interest

    From his living room table, Stuart Arnold pasted Polaroid photos and typewritten ads onto pages that became the Auto Trader magazine.

    Stuart Arnold, 82, was the founder of the Auto-Trader magazine, which grew to become one of the largest classified magazines in the country. He died Sept. 11, 2017.
  5. Former Tarpon Springs High principal sues man who called in 2015 death threat

    Civil

    The former principal of Tarpon Springs High has sued a man who threatened to come to the school and kill him in 2015, saying the man started a chain of events that harmed his life and career.

    Tarpon Springs High School was the scene of a 2015 incident where Edward S. Ecker called the school to threaten then-principal James M. Joyer. Joyer has filed a lawsuit saying Ecker set in motion a chain of events that harmed his life and career. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]