To use a neighborhood meeting about cancer-causing contaminants as a campaign opportunity is the political equivalent of ambulance chasing, but that didn't stop Max Linn.
Linn and Samm Simpson, two Democrats hoping to unseat longtime Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, are surely having a hard time getting seen and heard. That, of course, is no excuse for waving signs, handing out pamphlets, and delivering political sermons at somber meetings in St. Petersburg intended to help Azalea residents comprehend the plume of pollution that is spreading beneath their homes.
Simpson, at least, had the decency to wave off her sign wavers after being challenged by someone at one event. That didn't stop her campaign coordinator, though, from walking to the microphone to question what role Bill Young was playing. Linn, whose supporters blanketed the parking lot with leaflets, grabbed the microphone himself and plugged his candidacy before launching into a breathless prosecution that ended with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a fellow Democrat, cutting him off.
The behavior was so far out of bounds that the mannerly state Rep. Rick Kriseman, a fellow Democrat who has represented the neighborhood as a legislator and former City Council member, blew a fuse.
"Do you not understand," he wrote both candidates, "that for every second you or one of your supporters is at the microphone politicking, an actual resident of the area is being silenced? Have you no respect for these people?"
What's next? Crashing funerals?