LARGO - Apparently the dismissal of Steve Stanton Friday night as city manager was a foregone conclusion in some quarters.
An exchange of e-mails through the week concerned the return of city property held by Stanton in his role as the city's chief executive.
While Stanton was preparing his plea to the Largo City Commission to give him a chance to prove he could continue to do his job after becoming a woman called Susan, city officials were gathering up a lap top computer, radios, wiring, and other equipment.
Apparently they thought that the suspension with pay that Stanton was on after an initial 5-2 vote February 27 by the commission to fire him was permanent.
But that was not established until just after the stroke of midnight Friday when the commission, after a six hour session, reiterated its earlier vote and sent Stanton packing, 5-2.
Once again, Commissioners Mary Black, Andy Guyette, Harriet Crozier, Gigi Arntzen and Gay Gentry stuck to their guns and voted for dismissal. Mayor Pat Gerard and Commissioner Rodney Woods, each governed by a personal and private agenda, voted to keep Stanton.
With the revelation by Stanton February 21 of his plan to change genders and become a woman, another big fact in the mosaic of the past became clear.
Largo went through a great turmoil a few years ago on the proposition that the city should have absolutely no discrimination involving the sexually confused, including "gender choice and gender identification."
Obviously, we see now the Stanton current ploy was anticipated.
All kinds of stuff was happening leading up to Friday's meeting and on top of that, just to add grim drama to the proceedings there was a bomb scare Friday night during the meeting which drew a flock of people to the city hall.
As part of the fallout after the commission's decision there was this view from a prominent and respected figure in Largo - "The expectation of the community for positive change within city government is enormous. The Largo City Commission has a new working majority, and the mayor - the former city manager's biggest booster - is now a lame duck in every sense."
Gerard is such a lame duck she may not make it to her next election which is due in 2008. Because of her behavior which includes statements that seem to be at stark variance with facts, there is lots of talk of cutting short her political career.
Many key people feel that she has demeaned the citizens of Largo by calling everyone who disagreed with her on the Stanton case as "nasty" or a "bigot." Actually, the record shows she is the only one who used such vituperative comments.
In addition, there are charges that she has lied to the commission and the community while sitting as mayor and many observers think she has lacked leadership throughout this distraction to city business.
She is not the only one subject to a radical change, according to reliable sources.
Largo became a vortex of nationwide publicity as its own city manager became ready to enter the bizarre world where Christine Jorgensen back in the early 1950s paved the way and Renee Richards later made famous.
No wonder Largo City Hall attracted not only deviants by dress but also those of mental bent as well Friday with the zany bomb threat.
According to police Chief Lester Aradi, the bomb threat was called in but he said, "It did not raise our concern meter too high."
Aradi described how all areas were swept and checked but no sign of danger was spotted.
As Friday night's meeting approached, one of the more bizarre reports being circulated among cognoscenti was that Stanton had sought an "oath of allegiance" to him from top city executives.
He was advised by a wiser head among those officials that such a move was inappropriate, that you can't do this kind of Adolf Hitler stuff in this country, and was probably illegal.
Then came the meeting Friday and Stanton, generously given three hours by the commission to lay out his case, used two hours to describe the wonderful world of transgender life and how he could continue to do his job while attired in female garb and being known as Susan.
Despite a heavy propaganda program by the county's only daily newspaper which failed to state the true issue in Stanton's case, commissioners (well, at least five of them) kept a laser like focus on the best interest of the City of Largo. That was the issue.
After Stanton's plea came a parade of 100 or so speakers from the public. Among the more responsible was Bob Jackson, a former mayor (Gerard's predecessor), who asked that commissioners listen to what residents were saying - "They're telling you it's time for a change in city management."
As one observer pointed out, the parade of cross-dressers, transsexuals, transgender and what-not deviants "showed the rest of us what we can expect in Largo in the future if you have your way."
As if there had been any doubt at any time, the Big Paper demonstrated with a flourish that it is a publicist for deviancy and the abnormal with a last gap story pointing out that homosexual groups all over the world supported Stanton.
Of course, most people find the behavior repugnant and only seven elected officials in Largo needed to be persuaded.
An editorial in the BP, written by a very close friend of Stanton, missed the point entirely - Stanton was dismissed because what he proposed to do would have made the city government dysfunctional and all the hubbub would never have died down. Again, the BP showed it has an uncanny knack for thinking up ways to waste newsprint.