COUNTY COMMISSION GIVES OUT MORAL COURAGE AWARD - Mitch Perry

04/07/04

After debate on whether they should even have an Award, Hillsborough County Commissions today gave their Moral Courage Award to the citizens of Egypt Lake, who have been fighting TECO regarding giant transmission poles placed in front of their homes.

Members of the County’s Citizens Advisory Committee annually present nominees for the County Commission to select…The award is supposed to go to people who stand up to government for the betterment of the community.

But because of controversies over some of this year’s nominees – including nude dance club owner Joe Redner, the Citizens Advisory Committee threw their hands up and said The award should be done with….

But County Commissioner Kathy Castor – who championed the fight of the Egypt Lake residents, made a motion today, ignoring the CAC, and nominating the citizens for Fighting Tampa Electric (roll tape#1 o.q.� Residents�)

Commissioner Jan Platt seconded Castor’s Motion (roll tape#2 o.q.�they should receive the award�) But Commissioner Pat Frank – who last year challenged the nominee brought forward by the CAC, Dover nursuryman Roy Davis, nominated instead Gibsonton resident Debbie Carlisle, the President of East Bay Little League, who came before the Commission several times last year insisting that a renovation at Vance Vogel Park in Gibsonton was done correctly (roll tape#3 o.q. “qualifications for the award�)

Commisioner Frank did NOT nominate Ms. Carlisle……Instead, as she suggested last year, Frank said the Award should be done away with (roll tape#4 o.q.�let’s just get rid of it�) Commissioner Jim Norman agreed with Commissioner Frank (roll tape#5 o.q.�perfect process�)

But ultimately, the residents of Egypt Lake were voted the award. Tampa Electric has announced it would replace many of the massive power poles the company installed without warning this summer in Egypt Lake and will remove a high-voltage line that had caused fear and anger among residents. TECO intends to remove the towering, 125-foot-tall poles along Kirby Street and replace them with 75-foot-tall poles. On nearby Sitka Street, three 125-foot-tall poles will be replaced with 90-foot-tall poles. Existing 90-foot poles will remain. Over 3 dozen residents of the area are pursuing legal Action Against TECO.

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