A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is the proposed Urban Services Boundary agreement legal?

Is the proposed Urban Services Boundary agreement legal? Or can the over 12,000 people that signed the petitions demand that it go forward to a vote as drafted?

Darned if I know -- it's a legal matter. But I do have a take on it based on my own experience. 

I'm collecting signatures to get on the November ballot. [Very well, thanks -- more than halfway there.] And when I'm done there will be 2,505 Sarasota County Voters who signed documents with the intent of putting my name on the ballot. 

I initiated the process, I've overseen it and I will benefit when my petition signatures are all in and accepted. [Yes, you can download them online at www.jono08.com]. 

But I cannot, for example, transfer those signatures to another candidate -- they are valid for me only and, in that sense, exclusively mine.

So what if I contract a [knock on wood] debilitating disease that forces me to reconsider? Can the 2,505 citizens that put me on the ballot force me to run? Nope. That's my call. 

So what about the Urban Service Boundary signatures? The proponents conceived it, drafted it, circulated it and got the necessary signatures. And just as I can't transfer my signatures, they can't somehow append the signatures they collected to some other similar measure. But, I would argue, they should be able to reconsider and withdraw, just as any candidate can.

Will that reasoning hold up in a legal challenge? Who knows, but it seems to me the people that initiate the ballot measure are the people that speak for it, not the signers.

We'll see how this shakes out, but it will be unfortunate if this historic agreement is derailed by legal hurdles that confound and contradict the wishes of the people who started the whole thing. 

And that outcome could have a more chilling effect on citizens interested in improving the County than concluding the function of the 12,000 signatures was to empower the initiators rather than to hamstring them. 

It is not at all clear to me if the following sentence is required or appropriate in this blog, but here is it anyway: Political advertisement paid for and approved by Jono Miller, Democrat for the Sarasota County Commission.
Please visit my website at www.jono08.com

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