LARGO -- The City Commission passed Tuesday night at its regular meeting a "Mission, Vision and Values Statement" that was in deep trouble a couple of months ago because of the "diversity" element contained in it.
This is the original language of the divesity section of the values statement -- "Valuing differences in race, age, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, religion and life experience."
Those words came under heavy fire from Mary Black, then a candidate for the commission, and her campaign manager, R. Bruce McManus.
This is the language in the diversity section as passed Tuesday night -- "Recognizing and appreciating the uniqeness of each individual through valuing the contribution made and the synergy created by different experiences and perspectives."
Of course, the buzz words in the original that created such controversy were "sexual orientation, gender identity and family status."
These words were a holdover from the ill-fated attempted "human rights ordinance" that created a community stir. Pat Burke, the commissioner who stepped down and whose seat was won by Black, would have undoubtedly put up a fight Tuesday night for the original version had she still been in office.
By the same token, the power of the view taken by Black is reflected in the changed version.
The only citizen backing the original language who spoke publicly in favor was an individual who was obviously a man but was dressed as a woman.
The "Mission, Vision and Values Statement" applies only to those employed by the city and has no effect on the general community.
The commission deferred approval of Fire Chief Jeff Bullock's department staffing re-organization, again on the initiative of Black who wondered why the action was not put in the form of an ordinance.
On two land use questions, the commission ignored the pleas of residents in one location and approved a change to allow a doctor's office, while in the other case, neighborhood support shot down a planned development.
In the first case, residents of Poinciana Drive, off Roosevelt Boulevard, were overriden by the commission which allowed a change to residential office general.
The development in question at Rosery Road and Lake Avenue came to a dead end when residents in the area protested that to allow a change would destroy the character of the neighborhood.
In other action, a proposal for the re-design of the Largo Golf Course was approved. The expanded project on the golf course will double the cost to about $2 million and was passed, 4-2, over the objection of Black and Pat Gerard.
Chief Lester Aradi introduced and swore in eight new officers. They are Alexander Montalvo, Alban Vaizi, Darren Cockeram, Mercedes Machado, Steve Calderone, Quirsy Saladin, Dexter Sutherland and Benn Lofton.
Bullock did the same with firefighters William Stark, Sterling Fields and Ryan Cunkel. Also honored was fire Lt. Ric Cody as Firefighter of the Year. And Karry Bell was sworn in as the new deputy chief.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition