photo credit: Tom Hagerty for Lakeland Local
I was in attendance at the meeting of the Police Advisory Commission yesterday afternoon at City Hall, and am even now watching the repeat of that event on LGTV. After watching those events, I have a couple of observations/questions to pass along for your consideration:
1) The meetings are currently schedule for a weekly basis for now. Instead of being held on the third floor of City Hall, why not hold these events in a place and time where it would be convenient for members of the general public to attend and/or comment; for example, the Community Rooms at the Public Library or the Jackson Branch on North Florida Avenue?
2) As far as possible facilitators, I would like to suggest the naming of Dr. Tom Freijo, a former City Commissioner in Winter Haven. As Mr. Frank O’Reilly mentioned during the meeting, he has similar experience in the position to the Polk County School Board; his local background and knowledge of potentially complex issues such as the Government In the Sunshine Law and dealing with situations could only be helpful in helping this group on the right track.
3) I should pass along well deserved kudos to Assistant City Manager Brad Johnson, as well as Assistant COP Larry Giddens, for their various presentations during the meeting and the clarity in which they detailed the information in the absence of their supervisors (Mayor Fields was in Tallahassee for the graduation of is daughter; Chief Womack was attending a CALEA meeting out of state).
5) I did note that Chairman Bruce Abels noted during his comments at the beginning of the meeting that Lakeland’s municipal election will be held on November 5. FYI: The only two candidates now are Mayor Gow Fields and Commissioner Howard Wiggs. Commissioners Don Selvage and Edith Yates have no opposition yet; their terms end at the end of this year. The terms of Commissioners Keith Merritt and Justin Troller end at the of next year.
Five are running for Wiggs’ at large seat: Construction owner/businessman Michael Folsom, Edward Charles Hall, commercial realtor/business owner Jim Malless, prior unsuccessful County Commission candidate Ricky Shirah, and Second VP of local Smith Barney location Michael Tamney. If no one receives the required 50 percent, the runoff will be held December 3.
Personally, I wouldn’t waste my time. That the schedule wasn’t arranged so that the mayor and chief of police could be there speaks volumes about how important they think the committee is. It’s just a smokescreen.
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