Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Norm Roche wants explanation for being booted from affirmative action panel

Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche demanded an apology and retraction — or a deeper explanation — Saturday from commission Chairwoman Susan Latvala over her decision to remove him from a county panel that handles discrimination policy.

Latvala sent a one-sentence memo Friday revoking Roche's appointment to the Affirmative Action Committee, which oversees the human rights office of the county. Latvala said her decision was in response to statements Roche posted using an online alias on the website of the St. Petersburg Times, tampabay.com. The comments included remarks on race, gays and welfare recipients.

"I can only deduce that this action has been taken as a result of what I view to be misrepresentations contained in recent and unsubstantiated news reports in the St. Petersburg Times," Roche wrote. "The potential precedence this action signifies — based upon the presumed justification, and with respect to the board's operations as we move forward in addressing the many important challenges facing our county — is deeply concerning to me.

"In the interest of fairness, should my deduction of your justification for this action be inaccurate —I eagerly await your presentation to my office, a complete explanation for this action to include acceptable and applicable documentation that justifies this action at this time."

In an interview this week, Roche acknowledged that he posted comments on online news reports under the alias "Reality."

Besides barbs at other politicians, Reality wrote that St. Petersburg was unique in Pinellas in its number of "thug shootings" and "prostitutes beatings" and "social service recipients.''

In July 2010, when Roche was at the time running for a seat on the commission, Reality complained of "race pimps," concluding, "Whitie isn't to blame for your ignorance."

Reached Saturday, Latvala said she stood by her decision to remove Roche from the low-profile board, calling it the "chairman's prerogative." Her decision has been supported by Vice Chairman John Morroni, who is in line to succeed her as chairman in 2012.

Roche, who has defended the posts, did not respond to a message seeking comment Saturday.

Norm Roche wants explanation for being booted from affirmative action panel 11/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 8:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut

    Blogs

    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview

    Hurricanes

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]