Pinellas Tea Party member to Ken Welch: Politics is a contact sport

In an email sent to CL Wednesday afternoon, Hanson writes,"It has been my unfortunate experience to watch and listen to people who are unwilling to listen to others. We have come to a point in our society that we start phrasing any response to another's thought even before we have heard the complete sentence. We have a society of individuals who want only themselves to be heard, and in restaurants, in churches, in all kinds of gatherings there are people who cannot wait to speak out and let their voices be heard."

Commissioner Welch told CL that though he has seen such uncivil events in government meetings occur in Tallahassee and in D.C., that had never been the case in Pinellas County - until Tuesday night.

Hamilton Hanson also writes, "I would like very much for ALL my fellow Americans to take a deep breath and actually listen to any formal proceedings of our governmental bodies so that errors based on emotional reactions are reduced, so that understanding is increased, and so that we have a civil dialogue about the issues and philosophies of our day."

We're not sure if Steven Lange, Executive Director with another Tea Party affiliated group called Patriots Ink feels the same way.

In an email obtained by CL, Lange wrote to Commissioner Welch on Wednesday where the dispute between Tea Party members and Welch continued revolving around the activist religious group FAST. Lange wrote before the meeting and still insists that the lone Democrat on the board proposed giving $15 million to FAST, and also maintains that Welch proposed using Penny for Pinellas funds for FAST's foreclosure prevention program.

Welch vigorously denies both claims.

Welch's proposal to move $5 million of the $15 million in affordable housing funds into this year's budget did fail on a 4-3 vote, with Republicans Karen Seel and John Morroni supporting Welch. To this Lange asserts in his email that somehow this shows he was "more correct in my statements than you in yours."

He then goes on to compare FAST to other conservative perennial bugaboos such as "ACORN, the S.E.I.U.
Unions, and the Democratic Party."

Lange concludes by writing this to Welch:

What I am saying is, that I do not like your brand of politics.

I will be working to unseat you in the next election. I will talk to your constituents; I will go on our radio show; I will be writing many emails and I will do all in my power to attend BoCC Public Hearings, when I can, simply to oppose your efforts.

They say politics is a contact sport.

I say no correction; no apologies.

I say the ball is in your court.

That radio show that Lange is referring to airs Saturday afternoons at 4 p.m. on WGUL-860AM.

Hamilton Hanson is Tea Party member who regularly appears at County Commission meetings in Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas County. This past Tuesday night he spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting, but unlike some of his compatriots, did not call out or speak out of turn while sitting in the audience during the sometimes contentious meeting.

On Wednesday Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch lamented to CL about the behavior of some of those Tea Party members on Tuesday night, and Hanson now tells CL that he too, was not impressed by those actions.

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