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GOOD TAXES, BAD BUCS AND THE SEARCH FOR MR. RIGHT

It will take a lot for the Largo City Council to return the luster to its "City of Progress" logo after the Susan Stanton fiasco, but it may prove avant-garde on another subject.

The council bucked the trend of slashing jobs and services just so property owners can receive a meager tax savings. Instead of adhering to the Legislature's mandated - and misguided - 9 percent cut, the council opted for a loophole: a slightly higher property tax rate that matches its 2006 tax collections and saves popular programs.

As Times staff writer Lorri Helfand reported last week, the annual difference between the legislative mandate and the "Largo plan" could break down to about $54.

If residents end up paying about $5 more a month, that's a small price for protecting services and sending a message to the Legislature that it should have crafted a plan with meaningful relief. ...

Kudos to BJ's Brewhouse at Westfield Citrus Park. The new restaurant used training sessions before its grand opening last week to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Similar events across the nation last year raised $150,000 for the foundation. ...

Seen on a bumper sticker in Tampa: Whenever I find Mr. Right, my husband scares him off. ...

Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice deserved a better fate than being released on the eve of training camp. It's not the decision as much as the way they executed it. Time and again, coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen seem to see players as inhuman parts of a machine instead of real people.

That's all I'm saying.

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