Largo Project, $10,000 Trees and All Gets Final Approval
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO – Joe Penner, a vaudeville comedian, became famous for his zany question, “Wanna buy a duck?”
You could turn that around with a little editing and ask the spendthrifts in Largo, “Wanna buy a tree?”
Largo may be a great opportunity for a seller of trees as the proceedings of Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting developed the information that the city is paying $20,000 for two trees.
And not a member of the commission even blinked.
When the question about cost of trees was asked, Brian Usher, the boss of the city’s public works, choked a little, recovered, recaptured his poise and then cited the figures.
It all has to do with spiffing up the southeast corner of Bay Drive and Seminole Boulevard which constitutes the northwest corner of Central Park.
There stands, on a little plaza, a clock tower which has become the logo symbol of Largo (actually, there is another logo as well and they are in mixed use, further adding to the general confusion in the leaderless city).
On first reading a couple of weeks ago, the project barely survived on a 4-3 vote as Mayor Pat Gerard and Commissioners Mary Black and Rodney Woods voted no.
But Tuesday night the $230,000 project was approved. Black was absent, Gerard reluctantly (she said) voted yes and only Woods stood by his guns.
Without intending it, Commissioner Robert Murray in speaking in support, revealed a very neat piece of derivative information.
“I went by there Saturday,” he said. “It is in bad shape.”
Which, of course, offers very telling testimony that the corner was very poorly done in the first place. Deterioration is usually associated with time. The corner with the tower et al. has been there only 15 years or so.
The alternative to deterioration if not time then becomes shoddy workmanship. Ipso facto.
Bob Jackson, the former mayor who will be running in November in an attempt to recapture the seat he held for so many years, in words reminiscent of Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1830 when there was a move on to demolish the U.S.S. Constitution (“Old Ironsides) made a plea to save the clock tower.
“Ay, tear her battered ensign down! Long has it waved on high, and many an eye has danced to see that banner in the sky,” Holmes wrote.
Jackson’s plea was “Don’t tear down the clock tower. It is a symbol of Largo, a symbol of progress. It was donated by a citizen.”
Jackson pointed out that there had been too much tearing down in Largo.
The idea of having public works do the job was reiterated by citizen Curtis Holmes who will be on the November ballot, too, but his plea fell on deaf ears. Holmes pointed out that the contract with the company that will do the demolition calls for $25,000 profit. That alone, he said, could be a savings by the city.
If you go to the city’s web site and read the memo accompanying the project which explains, justifies and explores the necessity for the project, you will encounter a classic mass of bureaucratic bafflegab. A former judge of the Florida Supreme Court could not figure out and parse the gobbledegook to get a plain and clear meaning.
Return to Current Edition