I write this letter as an apology to the citizens of St. Petersburg for my participation in the spectacle in council chambers at the City Council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Two weeks prior, at the Oct. 1 meeting, the council, because of a 4-4 vote, was not able to take any action on the BayWalk issue. Those of us in favor of the vacation of the sidewalk property resigned ourselves to the loss and realized that you sometimes win and sometimes lose. We left quietly.
Two weeks later, the council reconsidered and voted in favor of the vacation. The “activists” who lost started shouting and screaming obscenities, calling the mayor and council members filthy names. A so-called “Rev. Wright,” in fact, told the council they were full of (expletive).
I was deeply offended by the obscene behavior and suggested that they take it outside. When I was ignored, I stated: “If they don’t like it, then move!” (I used no obscenities.) I was then verbally accosted with: “Eat (expletive).”
A public forum is not the place for that kind of vocabulary. I felt these people were taking advantage of their right to “freedom of speech.” People like myself and millions of others served to protect that right.
Having said that, I offer my humble apologies to the citizens of the city of St. Petersburg. In a prior, private letter to the mayor and City Council, I have apologized for the embarrassment that I caused them, as well as myself.
Here, again, is Leonard Schmiege’s video of the Brawl at City Hall, in which Dudley “screams” more than “states,” then lunges at one of the protesters and then is given preferential treatment by the police.
Speaking of Fred Dudley, I’d like to take a moment to wish Coach Bill Dudley a speedy recovery from whatever health problems are plaguing him. No one has spoken about it publicly, but it’s obvious Coach Dudley is having some serious health issues. All I have heard are rumors that it is his heart, but that he has battled back from whatever the cause was. While I may seriously disagree with Bill Dudley’s politics, I can’t think of a more humble public servant. Godspeed Coach.