By Leo Coughlin
The substantial victory of Curtis Holmes over an incumbent in Tuesday's election could totally change the way the Largo City Commission does business.
Many observers see it as a dawning of a new day in Largo with a City Commission, motivated by Holmes's vigor, that will take the lead in establishing policy and become true representatives of the people.
Holmes was the recipient of a huge pile of emails late Tuesday and early Wednesday hailing his victory.
One of his complaints over the years has been that the commission has allowed the city staff, led by an inexperienced and bumbling city manager, to lead it around by the nose, seldom questioning actions by the staff.
"The power should be in the hands of the people as represented by the commission members," Holmes has said again and again.
Those with limited knowledge of how government works - including a former member of the commission - think being a "team player" is the sine qua non of being an elected official.
The trouble with being a team player, as exemplified by Woods, the loser in Tuesday's election, is that one abrogates one's duty of vigilance and dedication.
Holmes, a vigorous businessman who has, for years, participated in government by being at just about every commission meeting offering constructive suggestions, is replacing Rodney Woods who, sadly enough, was just filling a seat.
Woods - the "team player" - did nothing in his 44 months on the commission. He originated no ideas, served on no boards like PSTA, MPO, etc., that draw their membership from elected officials in the county. He didn't have to do anything but go along, which he did.
But he never missed a boondoggle trip at taxpayer's expense. Give him credit for achieving his one stated goal on reaching office in 2006 - erect a memorial to Martin Luther King in Largo. He did that.
But nothing else.
As a demonstration of how mindless the members of the Largo City Commission are, all but one of them showed up at Woods's "loser's party" at the Largo Golf Course Tuesday night.
Mary Black was not there. She has enough sense to know that when an election is held, a sitting commissioner should not betray where her or his feelings lie.
Obviously, Mayor Pat Gerard, Gigi Arntzen, Harriet Crozier, Louis Brown and Bob Murray are in mourning today. Their man, Woods, lost.
With that demonstration of alliance and loyalty, how do you think Holmes must feel? Is he going on the commission as the enemy of four of those now sitting there? The outsider? That's a heckuva situation.
Of course, the elected officials not involved in the election should have followed Black's example and kept their preference to themselves.
Yes, Woods was a loser.
Another loser was the county's only daily newspaper which strongly backed Woods, including an endorsement that included, as putative fact, information that was totally false.
That information was supplied by Woods himself and the Big Paper bought it hook, line and sinker. It didn't bother to do what every newspaperman and newspaperwoman has done since time immemorial - check the facts.
But the BP is never short on invective.
In its skimpy report on the election it had Holmes barely winning (he led all the way with an outcome seldom in doubt) and called him a City Hall critic (one who offers suggestions and is motivated by civic responsibility is deemed a critic by an outfit that is slowly going into the toilet, manifested by its ever diminishing coverage of news).
In his "loser's speech" at the Largo Golf Course, Woods proclaimed himself to be "honorary commissioner" until such time as he is re-elected.
The trouble with a self-designated job like that is that it doesn't pay anything. And the word is that Woods needs the money.
In all the annals of American politics one has to search hard and deep - and come up empty - with any such similar proclamation by any other losing candidate ever.
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