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Published on TBNWeekly.com - Jan. 26, 2005
Largo voters to listen to six candidatesí pitches at forum
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LARGO Ė Voters will get a chance to hear out the candidates for the March 1 election at three forums in the city, one of which is sponsored by Royal Palms Retirement Community and is being coordinated by Tampa Bay Newspapers, the publisher of the Largo Leader.

A 90-minute forum has been scheduled for the Palms at 200 Lake Ave. N.E. on Monday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m.

It will be moderated by Sue Osborne, the sales manager of the newspaper. Tom Germond, the paperís executive editor and Jim Harrington, the Leaderís editor, will ask the candidates questions. The candidates will not be provided any questions before the forum, said Germond.

John Watkins, the facilityís director of community connections, said the forum is set for a second floor loft, which holds about 60 people. Refreshments will be served.

This is just one opportunity for the candidates to express their viewpoints. The Largo Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce and the Largo Civic Association also plan to hold debates for the six candidates.

Commissioner Pat Burke is not seeking re-election for Seat one, which is sought by Gigi Arntzen, Mary Gray Black, a former commissioner, and Joshua Lindsey. Commissioner Charlie Harper will face Rodney Woods, who would be the first black citizen to hold a seat on the commission, and Andrew Guyette.

Woods has been a proponent of the failed human rights ordinance, which would have extended protection to racial minorities and homosexual and transgendered persons. Harper, who originally sponsored the ordinance, but later voted against it because he didnít feel the staff fully explained certain parts of it well enough, was the subject of an investigation into allegedly making inappropriate comments to an employee at City Hall. Harper was apparently cleared of any wrongdoing, but due to a part of Florida law that shields alleged victims of employment violations, nobody can talk about it, according to Alan Zimmet, the cityís attorney.
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