LARGO -- The Largo Civic Association is growing by leaps and bounds as more and more Largo residents find dissatisfaction in their city government.
The group's s voice is growing in strength, even though on a current key issue, the sentiments of its members are being largely ignored.
That issue is the formation of a charter review committee. The City Commission is engineering the selection of members, and the process will take the committee's work back to the commission where it will be picked over and whatever the commission decides will be presented to the voters in a referendum.
The Civic Association is totally opposed to this method.
Ernie Bach, who founded the group last fall and has seen its membership grow to 1,008 households (which is how he counts members), thinks the charter review committee should be constituted only by the citizens with no role played by the City Commission.
"The commission could play an organizing role," Bach says, "but the committee should be made up of a cross section of the community."
Bach, a former member of the City Commission, says review of the charter, once completed, should be checked by independent lawyers and then go directly to the people for approval or not.
"This way, with the commission choosing members and then accepting or rejecting the work, means it is all the product of the commission," Bach said, pointing out that the model should be how the U.S. Constitution was created, by totally independent representatives.
Another hot topic on the Civic Association's agenda is the violation by two sitting commission members of the city charter in respect to giving donations to candidates in the March election.
"This is against the law," Bach said. "But what has happened is a lot of foot dragging. The commission is reluctant to take action in what is a clear violation of the charter."
The association is also keeping its eye on the city's plans for redevelopment of the Clearwater-Largo Road corridor, and the hullabaloo raised by the noisy musical concert held next to the new library that brought an avalanche of complains from residents.
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