If you are an opponent of the Greenlight Pinellas sales tax initiative and are planning on going to a PSTA Board of Directors meeting to express your opinion, don’t expect a warm welcome or a lot of respect.
It seems the skin of some elected officials on the board is getting a bit thin.
On Wednesday, Barb Haselden of No Tax for Tracks asked the PSTA attorney a couple of questions regarding the elimination of the property tax; when he stumbled a bit for the answers, PSTA Board Chairman Ken Welch summarily dismissed Ms. Haselden with the comments “We are not going to have any back and forth here,” following it with “Your time is up.”
So much for courtesy and dialog.
All of that would have been enough disrespect for one day, but County Commissioner Janet Long in her closing comments waxed on about what a lovely place Pinellas County is and then went on to add she could not understand how some of the people living in her beautiful County could be so “stupid” as to raise questions about the Greenlight plan — a reference to Haselden’s comments.
Long is hardly typical or representative of the people who live in Pinellas County.
I believe Chairman Welch and Commissioner Long both owe Barb Haselden and the public an apology.
Nothing shuts off public comment like disrespect in a public meeting. But then, that may just be the point.