Moral Courage winner returns award listen10/01/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Two weeks ago the Hillsborough County Commission voted to rename the Moral Courage Award for political activist Ralph Hughes. Today, in protest, 1996 winner Eileen Hart returned her award to the commissioners.
Hart is a Florida native who spent 12 years fighting the Tampa Bay Water Wars with the Keystone Civic Association to ensure diversified sources of water.
Hart told WMNF this afternoon that she couldn’t believe the County Commission, would change the award in honor of Hughes, the extremely influential conservative power broker who died earlier this year at age 77. Hughes had contributed money to every County Commission member – save one – Rose Ferlita. Ferlita also was the only commissioner to lobby against the plan to name the award after Hughes.
Two weeks ago, several environmentalists and community activists denounced the Commission for honoring Hughes with the award, but as Hart said today, the board totally ignored those complaints.