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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Regarding Commission Districts

The following ran as a letter to the editor in the Sarasota Herald Tribune on June 10 2011 in response to the previous day's news story COMMISSION WON'T DRAW NEW DISTRICT LINES FOR SOUTH, which seemed somewhat slanted to me.

Regarding "Commission won't draw new district lines for south":

The story about commission district lines states "the City of Sarasota will have two representatives predominantly representing city residents, while Venice residents would be spread between three districts". 
Wow, where to start? 
First, Commissioners represent the entire county, not just their district. We have a geographic distribution requirement (districts) ostensibly to ensure that five next-door neighbors couldn't theoretically run the county, but our residency requirements are so lax that five neighbors could conspire to move into different districts and do it anyway. Allowing musical chair candidates to re-locate to gain political advantage weakens the entire premise of districts.
Second, there is no guarantee anyone from the City of Sarasota will serve on the County Commission, since both Districts 1 and 2 include significant areas outside the City.
Finally, you can't have it both ways -- where Sarasota "gets" 2 seats while Venice is split 3 ways. Why not say Venice "gets" 3 seats, while the City of  Sarasota is split in two?
The best way for south county to wield more power is to field great candidates that appeal to ALL voters county-wide. The fact is that if Venice residents played their cards right they could have three Venice City residents serving on the County Commission. And North Port could have two. And the City of Sarasota and Longboat Key might have none.
Clarification: I wasn't suggesting Venice residents could hold down three seats at the same time as North Port could have two -- just that Venice could have three or North Port could have two.

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