Home / Events / Spat Between Safety Harbor Officials Continues To Simmer

Spat Between Safety Harbor Officials Continues To Simmer

Commissioner Carlos Diaz wants to address the Firmenich property issue.
Safety Harbor City Commissioner Carlos Diaz.

It’s election season in Safety Harbor, and with four candidates vying for two open City Commission seats, that means there’s plenty of political gamesmanship going on in town.

But while the campaign related issues will be settled after the March 10 election, a long-simmering spat between a pair of Safety Harbor officials shows no signs of letting up.

In the past two months, City Commissioner Carlos Diaz has been calling for the ouster of a Code Enforcement Board member, later identified as Shelly Shellenberg, accusing her of overstepping her bounds as a city representative.

On January 5, Diaz brought up the subject after learning of emails that residents had sent to City Hall complaining about the actions of certain CEB members.

“These individuals need to be kicked off the advisory committee because they cannot represent the City and be trespassing and harassing our citizens under the code of the City of Safety Harbor,” Diaz said during his Commission Report.

Diaz reiterated his stance during his January 20 Commission Report, adding that he was speaking from a personal experience he had with one board member last year.

“I believe this person has crossed the line more than once, and I can tell you personally she has crossed the line with me,” he said, adding, “I think this is something we need to look into and remove this person.”

Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold.
Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold.

The statements led to a lengthy discussion between the commissioners and other city officials, and after agreeing to have the City Attorney address the CEB regarding improper behavior, Mayor Andy Steingold made it clear he didn’t want to get in the middle of what he felt was a personal conflict, unless the incidents continued.

“I don’t want to be up here saying I believe this person or I believe that person, et cetera. I just don’t want to be in that position,” the mayor said.

“But certainly if a misrepresentation happened again, I wouldn’t hesitate to have that person removed.”

The issue was not dead, however.

On February 2, after a resident questioned why Diaz waited to speak about the matter, he used his Commission Report time to explain his reasons while directly addressing his encounter with Shellenberg.

“I was victimized by Shelly Shellenberg,” he said of an incident that took place at the Gazebo. “I’m out there and this lady comes up to me and starts trying to humiliate me in public, calling me names in front of my children. In front of my children.”

“That’s why I brought it up. Somebody’s got to stand up against it.”

A screenshot of Shelly Shellenberg speaking at the Feb. 16, 2015 City Commission meeting.
A screenshot of Shelly Shellenberg speaking at the Feb. 16, 2015 City Commission meeting.

The matter finally came to a head on February 16, when Shellenberg attended the City Commission meeting in response to a request by Commissioner Diaz to share her side of the story.

She accused Diaz of instigating the incident at the Gazebo and of using his Commission seat as a “bully pulpit,” and she said she will not be intimidated by Diaz or anyone else.

“Jim Barge and Carlos Diaz do not like what I’m saying,” she said, naming a resident who admitted sending one of the emails. “They don’t like my politics, and they think they’re going to intimidate me by harassing me.”

“Harassing? Yes. Intimidating? No.”

Shellenberg went on to say what she would like to see happen.

“What’s fair when a citizen is accused by a commissioner…of illegal acts with negligent or reckless disregard for the truth?” she asked. “I don’t expect an apology, but I do expect a retraction of those statements.”

Not surprisingly, Diaz didn’t apologize when he spoke at the conclusion of the meeting.

“It’s a lot of negativity and I just don’t even want to really see her or even hear her,” he said. “I’d rather deal with people who are honorable and respectful.”

“At the end of the day, she could always run for office.”



  1. Dee said ” precious furbabies” and “they have fleas?!?!” Does anyone know what she is talking about? This stuff is just crazy; What planet is she on?

  2. TomTom so much you know; Dee happens to be my middle name, I have a legal name which I only use for legal means only family & close friends know it; so yes I will be voting for Joe Ayoub & Chris Logan!!

  3. It looks like Laurie Rodgers and Dee Dokumaci won’t be voting for Andy Zodrow or Janet Hooper… Oh Wait! According to the voter registration records, neither Laurie Rodgers nor Dee Dokumaci are registered to vote in Safety Harbor. Oh, and Dee, thank you for helping to clarify the facts, as you see them.

  4. Here’s more abuse from Shellenberg as if allowing insults towards the elderly isn’t enough, now she insults dogs; Jim Barge supports Ayoub and Logan. A vote for them helps to elect Jim Barge. Barge also backed Carlos Diaz , and now we see the results of Barge’s influence on these guys. When you lay down with dogs , you get up with fleas. For those who object to copy & paste, don’t you all worry I have the screen shots!
    I am calling pet lovers everywhere, are you all going to let this woman insult your precious furbabies wrongly attempting to claim they have fleas?!?!

  5. Chris V, who are you to talk about Honor & Respect, when your shameful candidates Hooper & Zodrow allowed 2 members from Shellenberg’s harassment group to wrongfully insult the elderly plus much more vicious attacks, I have the screen shots & law abiding witnesses which are all ready to be posted publicly, I guarantee none of you will have a leg to stand on after that!!

  6. I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose with what I am about to post and everything I say is backed up with solid evidence so any doubters that is your problem not mine. Connect you called this political race a gamesmanship sorry I call it pure evil; when trouble started brewing first of the year when a dysfunctional man caused a ruckus in front of our businesses which escalated into verbal abuse, he called me a GD blank among other colorful words that is unsuitable to mention and his final say he was going to dance on my grave which has been reported to the deputy at first none of it made sense until I found out he is part of the group who are claiming to save our town but I prefer to call them the Vicious Drama Creators shortened VDC just for the record that man even after being warned by the deputy to stay away he is still being a pest making odd gestures. Well the drama continues this time with attacks to my business when it was brought to my attention that 1 candidate posted a picture of my boutique on the campaign page I politely asked her to block out my business name due to conflict from my investors instead I got accused of being a horrible business owner and that they would take their business elsewhere plus warn people not to shop in my business, no problem there everyone is entitled to what they choose to do but it still didn’t stop there biggest blow came when the VDC members insulted a dear sweet elderly lady who is a part of my life, she stands in the corner waving campaign sign and Pom poms which the whole town loves to see, except for VDC 2 of their members unfairly called her the crazy old lady with pom poms who escaped from the Senior Living Place which is the ultimate insult to all the people who live there, they would have you think it’s a prison which we all know it isn’t as for the candidate who allowed this to escalate shame on you for ignoring this huge injustice and by being not so kind enough to remove the photo of my business, as for the other candidate if one photo wasn’t enough you posted one more clearly showing my business especially immediately after the insults to the elderly, are you both this desperate to win this STUPID ELECTION I feel pity for you, for you have lost your values in a horrible manner, right now I damn myself for thinking that Safety Harbor is a special place where love used to be!!

  7. After hearing about this incident, I talked to several people who was there. Ms. Shellenberg was approached by Jim Barge to get off the city sidewalk in front of the Gazebo.(Totally Legal!) Mr. Diaz had rented the Gazebo for an event and Mr. Barge thought she should not be there handing out pamphlets. According to the witnesses, it was Mr. Barge that did all the damage. Mind you, this was over a year ago during a different election. Why bring this up now? Talk about honor and respect- Jim barge does none of these things. I’m thinking that Mr. Diaz should be seriously thinking about severing any relationship that he has with Mr. Barge since he has problems with telling the truth!

  8. That woman is poison! A horrible representative of the City of Safety Harbor. I do not understand why Hooper & Zodrow allow her to represent them. She has become the talk of the town and is starting to become an embarrassment.

    • Laurie, this is why I can’t support Zodrow nor Hooper. Both are backed by the most extreme elements of our community and as seen over the last year (with Zodrow), the agenda of this group dominates the city comission. Both candidates have the ability to distance themselves from these people, but don’t. These people do all of their dirty work during election season; they go door to door for them, finance their campaigns, hold their signs, and Shelly’s website / Facebook page bashes their opponents. They don’t distance themselves because it serves them a purpose and frankly they are philosophically aligned in their vision for our town, which is scary.

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