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

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Competing Models for the Sarasota County Commission: Balancing Board Members or Balanced Board Members?

I don't really think today's Sarasota Herald -Tribune captured my views regarding how the Sarasota County Commission will change as a result of this year's switches to the increased need for 4-1 and unanimous votes. 

I believe the old model of two 'sides' vying for swing votes (where you only needed three commission votes to move forward) will be replaced with a new model that will require developers to come forward with better plans (probably through increased use of charrettes or other techniques that involve citizens earlier). Commissioners will not be so pigeonholed and polarized and consequently can be more balanced in their decision-making. 

The spirit and community convergence that led to alternative Urban Service Boundary approach is evidence of the potential for this approach. 

Let's not backslide into 'us' versus 'them' thinking that involves trying to elect candidates to "balance slow growth forces". That is a perilous path that will set us backwards (and, incidentally, is not likely to work).

Instead we need all commissioners to recognize the public's frustration with how things were growing and chose a better course towards a new, more diversified and sustainable economy that provides jobs, restores home values, involves neighborhoods earlier and more sincerely, and protects Sarasota's special places; whether they are natural or cultural treasures. 

We can do better.