Title: Pinellas' Costly Apology
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002426/00001
 Material Information
Title: Pinellas' Costly Apology
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Times
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Pinellas' Costly Apology, May 18, 1999
General Note: Box 10, Folder 19 ( SF Water Wars - 1975-2000 ), Item 2
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002426
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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SOA 'TIMES U TUESDAY, MAY 18, 1999 *


EDITORIALS


Pinellas' costly apology

\ The county's settlement of a water suit is less than
Satisfying, given that the lawyer who launched
the legal attack is still on the job.


SThree years after filing a lawsuit intended
silence eight pesky critics, Pinellas County
government is handing over $341,000 and an
apology. Okay, Pinellas officials are saying, so
maybe we shouldn't have turned our lawyers
loose on you just because you questioned how
Inuch water we pump from Pasco County well
fields.
The settlement may close the controver-
sial case for now, but the conclusion is far
from satisfying. Pinellas taxpayers now have
baid out approximately
$550,000 for an ill-con-
bidered lawsuit the
county never should
have filed. Yet the at-
eorney who launched
Ahe attack, Ed de la
Parte Jr., is still calling
the shots.
In less than five
ears on the job as Pi-
nellas' water attorney,
de la Parte has man-
aged to agitate and an- Water attorney Ed de
ger almost everyone la Parte Jr. has given
associated with region- Pinellas County a
al water issues. He has history of legal and
filed administrative public relations
challenges to the ac- blunders.
tions of the Southwest
Florida Water Management District, ques-
tioned the actions of Tampa Bay Water and
fought a regional water agreement that ulti-
mately was adopted despite his interference.
In one case, he wrote a memo "confirm-
ing" the conclusions that scientific consul-
tants should reach.


. In one case involving well field permits for
the city of St Petersburg, a case in which Pi-
nellas was only an interested party, de la Parte
named 234 potential witnesses and filed de-
mands for 5,594 pieces of information.
De la Parte seldom finds a water issue he
won'tlitigate. And why should he? He's paid
by the hour. On water issues, Pinellas taxpay-
ers have given him and his law firm a stagger-
ing $6.6-million.
The lawsuit against the eight landowners
in and around Pasco County typifies the de la
Parte approach. When those landowners
questioned whether well-field pumping in Pas-
co County might be drying up their land, he
couldn't contain himself. So he filed suit
against them, he said, in an attempt to prevent
them from filing suit against the county. Call it
the de la Parte Commandment.
Commissioner Robert Stewart is right
when he now calls the suit a "public relations
nightmare," but he conveniently misses a
more central point The suit was a gross legal
miscalculation as well.
De la Parte said he wanted to assure that
any well-field litigation would be heard by a
potentially more sympathetic Pinellas judge,
yet Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge James Case,
who is based in Clearwater, immediately
transferred the case to Hernando. In Hernan-
do, Circuit Judge Jack Springstead then
promptly tossed it out and admonished Pinel-
las for picking on citizens who protest govern-
ment actions.
Given the persistent history of legal and
public relations blunders, Pinellas taxpayers
might fairly ask: How much longer can we af-
ford de la Parte's antics?


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