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Activist may run for County Commission

Commissioner Maurice Lubee? Just two months after swearing off public life forever, community activist and sprinkler contractor Lubee says he is 90 percent sure he will run for the County Commission in November.

Lubee, known for his fervent involvement in neighborhood causes and his short temper, assured county officials in December they wouldn't have him to kick around anymore.

He was charged with violating county codes for irrigation contractors and said then that he was being persecuted by the county for his outspokenness, and couldn't risk his livelihood by keeping a high profile.

Lubee was put on probation in January after the county Construction Licensing Board found him guilty of allowing workers who were not electricians to hook up an irrigation system for homeowner Kenneth McDonald.

But Lubee is making a comeback.

"The community just rallied so behind me and showed me that there was no way for them to hurt my business," he said. "It made me realize that they can't say anything in Brooksville that the people in Spring Hill will believe."

Lubee said he has put his property up for sale and is prepared to move into the district of Commissioner Richard Killingsworth, one of two commissioners up for re-election in November. He said he still isn't sure he will run, but will make up his mind in the next week. He said he would qualify by collecting signatures.

He also has decided to stay on as chairman of the Committee Against Toxic Chemical Hazards (CATCH), the group he formed to fight the proposed burning of hazardous waste at Florida Mining & Materials Corp. He announced he was resigning in December, but said Tuesday that the group would not let him quit.

Lubee said his dealings with the county Building Department convinced him that the County Commission needs a change.

"I don't want to be a commissioner just to be a commissioner. I want to change things in this county. I don't think they're being run right," he said.

Lubee also objected Tuesday to a report into the handling of the charges against him. The County Commission agreed to investigate the case after Lubee claimed that he was the victim of a political vendetta.

In a Feb. 12 memo to the County Commission, County Administrator Chuck Hetrick said the case was handled badly, but concluded, "I do not perceive any vestiges of the intent of a political vendetta."

Hetrick based his conclusion on an investigation by Assistant Development Manager David Grover, who admitted that Building Department officials made the following mistakes:

Building officials took too long to determine whether or not Lubee had violated county code, which meant the case lingered for more than one year before it was resolved.

Building officials also were mistaken when they determined that they could not rule on the case because it was in litigation, a mistake that led to another postponement of the hearing.