Gerard, Largo Mayor, Plays Role in Campaign for Commission Candidate
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO - Eric Gerard, the husband of Mayor Pat Gerard, is involved in the campaign of a candidate for a seat on the City Commission.
While not illegal apparently, the Gerards' (and one has to think of both the mayor and her spouse being involved) inclusion in the campaign of Louis Brown is unseemly.
In most instances, politicians in office don't usually get so openly involved in candidacies for the same board on which they hold a seat.
Brown is a political unknown. So unknown, in fact, he was never seen at a commission meeting prior to October 1. He is the candidate of the Chamber of Commerce, which already has over-weening influence in city affairs.
Here is the key - Brown's opponent is Curtis Holmes.
If one were to construct the worst possible scenario to present to Pat Gerard, it would be to have Holmes in Seat 6 on the City Commission, a seat he most likely will win, given his involvement with and knowledge of the city over the years.
Thoughts of Holmes four seats away from her to the left at the end of the dais has to be a nightmare for Gerard. No doubt she is losing sleep over the prospects as election day creeps nearer and nearer, now only 12 days away.
With Holmes on the commission, it is unlikely that Gerard will get away with some of the tactics she pulls on the current crew, which behaves as though the mayor were the "boss."
Of course, anyone with even scant knowledge of ninth grade civics (knowledge, by the way, that is distinctly lacking by some on the Largo City Commission) knows that the mayor is just another commission member with no extraordinary powers.
Knowledge of the Gerards active involvement in the election campaign came about this way -
Recently, in the "comfort room," where members of the commission gather for drinks and snacks which is just behind the dais where they sit in public, on display were flyers of the candidates for the two seats on the commission being contested.
One of the commissioners commented on Brown's literature and the mayor brightly piped up with, "Eric's firm did that along with other pieces coming out." She added, "He volunteered to handle (Brown's) campaign."
Involvements with the city are nothing new to Gerard's husband, who apparently is engaged in a number of businesses.
He was part of the committee from the get-go that planned a design for a former city manager to keep his job. Steve Stanton had decided he wanted to be seen as a woman and come to city hall dressed as such.
In anticipation of implementing this bizarre and deviant plan, Stanton had gathered his public "family" (key city employees, friends and whatever) to come up with methods for a smooth transition to carry out his perverted goal.
Eric Gerard was part of that.
Of course, the whole thing blew up when the citizenry got wind of it and the commission (with the exception of Gerard and Rodney Woods) sensibly fired Stanton who remains unemployed, having been wisely turned down by a half-dozen or so cities (Sarasota being the latest) that apparently found it equally strange that a man would want to parade around in skirts, high heels and a training bra.
While Brown's involvement with the Gerards betrays the unhealthy aspect of having a new commissioner (on the very long shot that he makes it) who is in the purse of the mayor, Holmes has no ties to any special interests.
Brown's special interests seem to make sure that chiropractors and the Chamber of Commerce are well represented (and taken care of, perhaps) on the Largo commission.
And, of course, that Gerard, who already can count on the vote of Woods in all situations, can add Brown's vote to her quiver.
So Largo voters are faced with the unsavory prospect of a candidate who is already in the bag, a mayor who blatantly offends all political sensibility, and further embarrassment for the city.
Holmes has abjured all connections to special interests, has refused endorsements from any entities and has vowed that he will go into office owing no one anything.
Brown on the other hand seems to be a pawn. He may have to sit on Gerard's lap - in the unlikely event he is elected - until he gets used to public office.
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