Editors Note (David McKalip, M.D.): In 1997, a vast majority of Pinellas County voters demanded that County Commissioners vacate their seats after 8 years, and passed a law to make it so. To this day, the law is ignored by the “elected” officials. The matter was challenged in the courts and ultimately the Supreme Court denied the 2012 lawsuit to direct the County Commissioners to respect the 1997 decision. Now the only avenue to enforce these term limits appears to be through amending the county charter – a process now in play. Those wanting to take action to amend the charter should do so by showing up on October 14 at the Pinellas Charter Review Commission . The next meeting of the Charter Review Commission will be held:
The Pinellas County Charter and Charter Review Commission
October 14, 2015 at 4 PM – agenda
Supervisor of Elections Mid County Office
13001 Starkey Road Largo, Florida 33773
Here is the story told by a freedom fighter, H. Patrick Wheeler, who sued the local governments all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.
By H. Patrick Wheeler.
On Sunday, December 8th, 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his “Day of Infamy” speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation. It was given to announce the treachery against the United States and its citizens.
Let us move fast forward to November 5th, 1996 Election Day in Pinellas County. One of the items voted upon was the “Limited political terms in certain elective offices (Eight is Enough Referendum)” This item has the distinction to be the highest amount of votes cast in the last 50 years. Total accumulated numbers of votes cast were 348,814 with 253,480 for and 95,334 Against.
This referendum won with a 72.2% percent majority. Not one district throughout the county was carried to sustain a “Against” vote.
At the time of the election the Pinellas County Charter had the following statement in its rules. It states that votes, which did not have a date of starting, would automatically become law on January 1, of the following year. In this case that year would have been January 1, 1997.
The Day of Infamy, in Pinellas County is and always will be January 1, 1997.
Through skullduggery and dishonesty the inclusion of law voted on by the citizens did not take place. Instead it became a dormant item to the political leadership of Pinellas. They, the politicians went on to serve far beyond the letter of the law and today in 2016 there are still are 3 commissioners violating this law.
Subsequently, on May 10, 2012 the Florida Supreme Court voted 7-0, unanimously and upheld the constitutionality of term limits.
It was at this juncture that I decided to enjoin with Maria Scruggs and former Mayor of Tarpon Springs Beverly Billiris, into legal action against four county commissioners namely, Karen Seel, John Morroni, Ken Welch and the now departed Susan Latvala, all whom had served more than eight years of continuous service on the Board of County Commissioners of Pinellas County as the time of this suit.
Today the government has NOT accepted all this legal information and stands mute in deft contempt to the rule of law.
In my opinion it appears that politicians of Pinellas County, the lawyers defending these politicians and the judges who come from Pinellas County stand shoulder-to-shoulder obstructing the letter of the law. They are not protecting the citizens of Pinellas County as they swore to an oath to protect.
They in my opinion are protecting themselves at the expense of those citizens.