Charlie Harper is now learning, no doubt, that no good deed goes unpunished.
Take folks to lunch out of kindness and friendliness and some people want to hang you for it.
Even your colleagues join in the hanging party. Their comments are illogical or self-serving, but politicians are like other scavenging animals -- once they smell blood they go for the kill.
For example, one commissioner, asked for a reaction to Harper taking Largo city employees to lunch occasionally opines that this is wrong because commissioners have such "power."
But a review of the city government organization shows that commissioners have no power whatsoever over city employees. None at all.
While his colleagues are quick to point out that Harper's generosity is "inappropriate" (now that's a stretch, isn't it?) those who call it such are the first in line to get in on any boondoggle they can where the city (read taxpayers) foots the bill.
What's going on here, folks, in the view of this humble corner is a "smear."
The Big Paper has decided that Harper does not fit its agenda for Largo and he must go. Oh, they've done it before with others and those tactics are one of the biggest reasons why the BP is so hated in Pinellas County. But, you see, it is the only daily game in town so we who are news hungry are constrained to read it.
Yes, Harper is in the gun sights now of the BP and he will remain there for as long as he is in public life.
Already, with a reporter making calls to anyone and everyone, attempts have been made to find the merest speck of dirt on Harper. Such calls alone, even to his employer, cast a cloud on the man.
The shaky reports appearing in the BP on this issue that is a wildfire under the surface in Largo City Hall (amidst the internecine warfare going on there -- which is a story for another day) even included snide innuendo about Harper.
Maybe the geniuses at the BP think they are on the road to fame and fortune a la brothers Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the Watergate proceedings of 30-plus years ago. Yes, it was a generation ago, but the ambitions still linger among the tender neophytes entering the news business.
Is this "lunchgate"? "Harpergate?" "Largogate?" "Sniffgate?"
Perhaps there are dreams of book contracts and even a nice sale to Hollywood for a movie. Mortimer Snerd could play the sterling editor and Betty Boop (boop-boop-dee-boop!) could be enticed to fill the role of the hard hitting reporter.
It's an election year folks. Take that into account. You can bet the BP did. Maybe the doubledomes over there at the Pointy-Headed Institute's newspaper figure Harper will get the collywobbles and retreat from the scene.
Maybe they figure he must have some evil motive for throwing a friendly lunch or dinner here or there. Everyone's got a skeleton somewhere. Maybe Harper will bug out if we apply a little pressure, or so the thinking could go.
They're a beastly crowd and I wouldn't put anything past them. When they get the tar bucket and brushes out, take cover. They call themselves "Florida's Best Newspaper," and you know what the Bible says about self praise.
Yes, that crowd floats in the community like a charming fritillary but there is a venomous sting present.
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