INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The heat on the Indian Rocks Beach City Commission lurks just beneath the surface.
Like a volcano, eruptions come suddenly, with barely a warning.
Commissioner Jim Palamara and Mayor Bob DiNicola were at it November 23, snarling and growling like two mastiffs.
Commissioner Bill Okunzzi admonished the two antogonists -- "Hey, let's get down to business here," he said. "Stop the personal stuff."
DiNicola quietly responded to that with, "I'm the mayor and will make my comments."
It's a wonder the Tuesday night shows at the city hall don't attract a bigger audience with a flareup liable to occur at any moment.
It is clear that DiNicola is embattled. The triumvirate -- Palamara and Okunzzi joined by Jeremiah Carmody -- have things their way on the five man commission. DiNicola and R.B. Johnson, usually allied on issues, are invariably outvoted.
Last week's flareup was occasioned by the question of whether to give an re-hearing on an issue that had been decided, where the applicant lost on a 2-2 vote when DiNicola was absent, recuperating from surgery.
The agenda on the evening of November 23 had very little crucial business, but there was a discussion about YMCA matters.
Other than the city dumping about $60,000 in taxpayer funds into the private enterprise it was obscure as to how anything to do with the YMCA is city business.
As Johnson pointed out, any concerns involving the YMCA and its success or failure "is not up to us."
The YMCA hornswoggled Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Belleair Beach and Belleair Shore into supporting its activities a few years ago.
The mayors of the cities got involved and now the YMCA gets $100,000 in tax funds every year.
This year, Belleair Beach residents strongly protested giving $20,000 or so to the private group. But later, a large contingent of Indian Rocks Beach people showed up at the Belleair Beach city hall and -- with no Belleair Beach residents present in the audience -- persuaded the City Council to pay up the $20,000.
Last week, Carmody wanted to know where the people on the YMCA's Advisory Board lived. Turned out several of them lived out of the district (that is, not in any of the cities that are funding the YMCA).
"Just wanted to know who is directing the expenditure of our money," he said.
The city plans to hold the Christmas tree lighting tomorrow (Friday) night.
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