PROTECTING SINGLE MEMBER DISTRICTS
SARASOTA COMMISSIONERS ARE WORKING TO RE-DRAW COMMISSION DISTRICT BOUNDARIES PRIOR TO THE 2020 ELECTION. We believe this is a direct threat to the Single Member Districts that were amended to our county constitution by nearly 60% of Sarasota County voters. Now our Republican dominated County Commission want to gerrymander districts in their favor to maintain partisan control of the county.
Although Nancy Detert, chairwoman of the commission, says this move is strictly to balance districts that have unequal populations, let's not be fooled.
NANCY DETERT IS UP FOR RE-ELECTION IN DISTRICT 3
MIKE MORAN--IS UP FOR RE-ELECTION. HIS DISTRICT IS DISTRICT 1-- AND IS LARGELY DEMOCRAT.
CHARLES HINES, DISTRICT 5 WOULD ALSO BE PART OF THE PROCESS, AND HE IS DEPARTING DUE TO TERM LIMITS.
Is there any other reason why redistricting should not wait until the 2020 census, as several city governments in the county have requested? Why should these people be involved in re-drawing districts when they stand to personally gain?
Although they have told us the process will be conducted by an independent expert committee of citizens not seeking public office, this is not the case. They have selected Kurt Spitzer and Associates, a lobbying firm to "assist in providing updates to demographic information from the 2010 census and interposing changes in residential housing information obtained from the property appraiser between 2010 and 2018.
Sounds fair-SO FAR. However, Spitzer's initial presentation will not change district boundaries. It will only superimpose population numbers within the existing lines. He will then add "incumbent's home address" before crafting new districts. He is also offering to re-draw the maps. He is also proposing to "meet with each commissioner on an individual basis to ascertain their preferences concerning adjustments to the boundaries."
Nancy Detert wants to draw the maps herself. Although she proposes to do this at a public meeting, anyone who has been at one of the County Commission meetings knows that this is a meaningless gesture. They will listen (often not with their full attention) because they are forced to listen, but ultimately do whatever is in their best interests or in the interests of the developers.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE BE INVOLVED IN RE-DRAWING DISTRICTS WHEN THEY STAND TO GAIN PERSONALLY BY THE PROCESS? THIS PROCESS SHOULD BE CONDUCTED BY AN INDEPENDENT EXPERT COMMITTEE OF CITIZENS NOT SEEKING PUBLIC OFFICE.
WHEN CITIZENS ARE DIRECTLY INVOLVED, DISTRICTS ARE MORE BALANCED --WHEN THEY ARE LEFT OUT, ELECTED OFFICIALS CHOOSE THE VOTERS AND VOTERS ARE DIS-ENFRANCHISED.
BE PART OF THE PROCESS AGAINST GERRYMANDERING
Link to County Commissioners
Send a letter to the each of the County Commissioners every day voicing your concerns.
The initial population data is due to be delivered on July 31st. Please watch our site and your emails for future county commission meeting dates and plans to attend as a group.
Sources for this article