LARGO -- If Largo's Charter Review Committee did not have enough to contend with already, the members received a letter dated August 15 from one of their colleagues, J.B. Butler, who was in high dudgeon over the fact that Mayor Bob Jackson had the gall to defend himself.
At the August 10 meeting of the committee, Butler was in the midst of a screed that in part was an attack on Jackson.
Jackson found it necessary to defend himself and at the same time to set the record straight on the unhelpful comparison Butler, who talks at the drop of a hat, was making between him and the late Thom Feaster, Jackson's predecessor as mayor.
In the letter, which also went to the mayor and members of the City Commission, Butler described Jackson as a member of the public who shouted and interrupted him.
In fact, Jackson did not shout but merely asked to be recognized by the chairman of the CRC in an effort to "set the record straight." He did interrupt Butler, which was quite a feat in itself.
Then Butler specified the crime attributed to Jackson -- "This performance -- of disrupting a public meeting -- is not acceptable in our community."
Butler suggests that anyone who intends to "influence" any member of the Charter Review Committee (which, incidentally, is all at sea in attempting to fulfill its mission due to the incredible lack of knowledge of its members) not be allowed to attend the meetings, a fascist approach to public discourse.
Then he quickly reverts to jingoism, identifying himself as an American who is tired of those who "politic" rather than "lead," although politicking seems to be a Butler specialty with no discernible evidence of leadership.
Butler's letter continues in a rambling, exhortive manner which seems to make the point that Jackson is trying to mount a coup to take over power in the city.
This element of the letter drew laughs and derisive comments from many of those who had received the letter or had seen a copy of it.
Butler says in the letter that "this mayor would engineer a personal grab for enhanced powers over the City of Largo government" and then describes himself as the defender of virtue and good government.
"The mayor hopes to achieve enhanced powers to veto or disregard the decisions of the other commissioners, relegating them to ‘rump' status," Butler writes at one point in the letter.
That rhetoric is supposed to impress the non- or ill-informed, but there are no facts or evidence that support anything of the kind. In fact, Jackson is outvoted more often than not on commission decisions.
In fact, City Manager described the mayor has having no power in his appearance before the CRC August 3.
Butler went through a similar but abbreviated performance during the citizen comment portion of the City Commission meeting August 16, heaving and snorting in another attack on Jackson.
Jackson had little comment on the letter, other than pointing out the obvious lack of basis for any of Butler's contentions. Others who have seen the letter ascribe a pathetic need for attention on Butler's part.
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