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Anonymous fliers urge East Lake voters to reject tax

The battle of the fliers heated up Thursday, as a pair of new ones urging a no vote next week on a library and recreation tax appeared on doors throughout some neighborhoods. However, neither flier mentions who printed or distributed it _ a possible violation of state law.

One flier, which says, "Be Smart, Vote No On Nov. 6," fails to mention who printed and distributed it.

The other, which says, "Stop the Pro-Tax, Pro-East Lake City People .

.

. Now!" contains a sentence at the bottom that says it's the handiwork of "friends and neighbors in your community."

Florida election law requires people who send campaign literature to identify the source, Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Dorothy Walker Ruggles said Thursday.

But without knowing who sent out these fliers, it would be difficult to prosecute anyone, she added.

Karen Koenig, a Ridgemoor resident and library tax supporter, was fuming when she found the two fliers rolled up and stuffed into her front door late Thursday.

"I don't care if we have opponents," she said. "I just want to know who they are."

East Lake voters will decide Tuesday whether they want to tax themselves to pay for library and recreation services for their growing community of more than 16,000 people.

The debate over whether those services are necessary has become more heated in recent weeks. This week some of the directors of an East Lake political action group, the Citizens Action League, mailed a flier arguing against the proposed taxes.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the East Lake Tarpon Library/Rec have mailed their own flier, presenting arguments in favor of the two taxes.

The two new, anonymous fliers focus primarily on whether East Lake needs a library, whether the tax would raise enough money to build a library and whether the 11-member board that would oversee spending the taxes would wind up costing money.

By labeling tax supporters as "Pro-East Lake City People," one flier implies that the taxes are the first step toward turning unincorporated East Lake into a municipality.

A few of the statements in the two new fliers echo the arguments advanced by the flier mailed by some of the directors of the Citizens Action League. President Zora Swanson could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Upper Pinellas Youth Sports Association president Bill Nobles, who has campaigned for the two taxes, was philosophical about the effect the new fliers would have.

"You've got to admit," he said, "it's created a little excitement in sleepy East Lake."

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