Woods Refuses Debate Or Any Confrontation With Opponent Holmes
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO - Largo voters got robbed of a choice in a possible race for mayor in November's election and now it appears that they will be deprived about information as to where the remaining candidates stand on issues.
Because of the foul-up concerning Bob Jackson in his aborted candidacy for mayor that was aided and abetted by city employees, there is only one race on the Largo ballot.
That pits Curtis Holmes as a challenger to Rodney Woods, who is seeking re-election to seat 3 on the commission.
But Holmes can't find Woods anywhere.
It is customary in American politics for candidates to have "debates." Everyone knows and is familiar with that custom.
Apparently everyone but Woods knows that. He has refused all invitations to participate in a debate.
Largo voters are wondering about that and asking why.
In a strange endorsement in its publication Sunday, Pinellas County's only daily newspaper pegged Woods as its choice in the election.
Holmes was instrumental in stopping street sales of the Big Paper on Sundays because of the tremendous danger of having people run around traffic.
This cost the paper literally thousands upon thousands of sales (and dollars) and probably is a key reason why the BP is cutting back even further of its news coverage around here.
The paper does not cover what goes on in Largo but has not lost its taste, obviously, for wanting to decide what people will be elected to office in the towns and cities in the area.
Woods was called a "team player." When the laughter died down at one local eatery over this strange discovery by the BP, one observer opined - "Team player? Rodney's more like the team mascot. He is little Mr. Echo, repeating what his colleagues say, and never being original."
Woods flatly refused to engage in any debates during the campaign.
He wrote Holmes with this message - "This mail is to inform you that I have agreed to attend the candidate forum of the Largo Mid/Pinellas Chamber of Commerce on Oct 20 and that will be the only candidate forum that I will attend."
That event is not a debate. Questions are known in advance and, more significantly, it is not open to the public. The "forum" takes place at a regular Chamber luncheon that is for members only.
Holmes expressed disappointment in a rejoinder to Woods - "That is most unfortunate because we OWE the voters of Largo as much information as we can possibly give them. I don't know why you're dodging me. You have 44 months of experience inside City Hall thus you clearly have the advantage yet you refuse to debate me in a public. WHY?"
On the table were invitations for the customary candidates debate at Largo City Hall that would have been broadcast on the city's television channel and the public debate sponsored by the Largo Republican Club.
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