Single Member Districts
6-23-18 update: Well, we did it! We submitted the last petitions yesterday needed to complete the 15,096 validated to put our referendum to change County Commission elections to single member districts on the ballot in November, 2018. Now it's up to the County Commissioners to do the right thing and put it on the ballot. See the pix and videos from June 22 on our Facebook page and group and --hey--Like our page and Join our group-- and share the good news!
We can start changing the system FOR THE BETTER in Sarasota County, to elect good people of all political parties who work for the benefit of the PEOPLE and not the big money political machine.
With single member districts, Commissioners will have to live in the district, campaign in the district, be elected by voters in the district--not by voters all over the county--and represent the district, and be accountable to the people there, not just to the developers who bankroll the big, costly countywide campaigns.
Our Press Conference announcing our next steps will be held at 12:15 PM, June 22 on the east side of the steps to the Terrace Building, 101 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34236.
After our big announcement on June 22, please help with letter-writing and messaging to the public --Letters to the Editor, short and long--to newspapers all over Sarasota County, and blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting and more--in support of changing County Commission elections to Single-Member Districts, that will benefit all people in the county going forward. Help spread the good word about Single Member Districts. The opposition is already out in force.
Thanks to people of ALL political parties who helped us gather petitions for this historic effort. As of June 22, the Supervisor of Elections will have all the petitions needed to validate the last of the 15,096 petitions required to put this on the ballot. If this referendum passes, it could benefit voters throughout Sarasota County for years to come.
Now, we hope many people will start to chip in even a small amount to help our campaign going forward. Could you contribute $20.18 to help us go on the ballot in November, 2018? (or more if you can afford it--there is no limit to the size of contributions!) This effort is to get control of our Commission away from the BIG MONEYED interests that now bankroll elections in Sarasota County.
Unfortunately those BIG MONEYED interests started launching their attacks on us in the press May 20, May 25 and June 2, even before we submit our last petitions, so we must gear up in full campaign mode now. We need to show popular support both in writing, speaking and dollars every month. Are you with us?
Here are three immediate ways to help:
1. Send letters to the Editor in support of Single Member Districts to the Herald-Tribune, Venice Gondolier-Sun, North Port Sun, Englewood Herald, Sarasota Observer, Longboat Observer and more as often as you can.
2. Spread the word on social media and help us build our social media platforms. LIKE our Facebook page, JOIN our public Facebook group, and FOLLOW us on Twitter (we need to build that fast). Share our posts and reinforce with supporting posts of your own.
3. Please chip in, and thank you! Every contribution helps! We can't match the big bucks of the developers, but we will do everything possible with what we can raise. Remember, single member districts could change history in Sarasota County for the better for years to come, protect a healthy environment and quality of life for all, and restore accountability of our Commissioners to YOU, the people, rather than to their largest donors.
Questions and talking points to consider:
Do you support sustainable growth without having to beg and plead with your Commissioners to save your neighborhood or environmental lands from uncontrolled development?
Are you concerned about traffic? Do you want our County to have foresight on infrastructure planning to avoid the bizarre traffic we have now?
Do you want development to pay its own way by adequate impact fees rather than putting the costs of growth on the backs of YOU, the public taxpayer?
Do you want to elect your own County Commissioner instead of having people in other parts of the county do it for you?
Do you want your Commissioner to listen to YOU and not just to their largest campaign donors?
How about reducing the cost of campaigns by 80%--so candidates can cut costs and really get to know the voters--and more good candidates can run for election without having to be indebted to the developers?
How about returning our elections to "We the People" instead of "We the corporations"?
Please Donate here now.SINGLE MEMBER DISTRICTS will
o Make elected officials more accountable to YOU, the voter, rather than to their largest donors and PACS
o Cut the cost of campaigns by 80%
o Make races more competitive, so good new candidates can win
o Benefit people of ALL political parties, and help restore integrity in elections in this county for the good of all.
As SAFE board member Susette Bryan says, this would be a "Small step for Sarasota County citizens, big step for fair and honest representation."
Basic Actions for All Campaigns:
1) Learn about the issues, candidates, and philosophy of the various political parties, and VOTE in every election, to elect good people at every level of government who will be responsible to THE PEOPLE.
2) Then hold our elected officials accountable for their actions and votes--follow the issues, and call, email, and meet with them to build working relationships with them and their staff members and raise our concerns.
3) Attend City and County Commission meetings, rallies, and press conferences, speak out, and make our voices heard.
4) Write letters to the editor.
5) Spread the word on social media
Why should we be involved?? Because the people we elect and the decisions they make, affect our daily lives.
Good resource: America, the Owners Manual: You can fight City Hall--and Win by Senator Bob Graham and Chris Hand, 2016
Find your U.S. Senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=FL
Find your U.S. Representative: http://www.house.gov/
Contact the Governor: http://www.flgov.com/contact-governor/
Find your Florida Senator: http://flsenate.gov/
Find your Florida Representative: http://myfloridahouse.gov/
Find your Sarasota County Commissioner: https://www.scgov.net/government/commissioners/commission-districts
Track Florida legislation here: myfloridahouse.gov
and here: flsenate.gov
Campaign Finance ReformCall and meet with your U.S. Representative, U.S.Senator or their state coordinator in their district office during Congressional recesses. Tell them you want your Congressperson
- to co-sponsor and send to the states for ratification a Congressional resolution to AMEND THE U.S. CONSTITUTION to OPPOSE the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that equated corporate political speech with the free speech of individual persons, and gave corporations ability to contribute unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. Let’s press for H.J.R. 48 (House Joint Resolution 48), the amendment proposed at https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment.
- to co-sponsor the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) (S.1640) to create a level playing field for candidates and help take excessive money out of politics. See https://www.congress.gov// for details of the bill. Our Congresspeople must know that WE THE PEOPLE will fight to have our voices heard and to elect leaders who listen to the PEOPLE more than to the CORPORATIONS and their front groups.
- to co-sponsor The DISCLOSE Act (H.R.1134/S.1585) to reveal political donations from corporations and large moneyed interests. See https://www.congress.gov// for details of the bill. See the effective disclose law passed in Minnesota at http://www.lobbycomply.com/wordpress/?p=3710.
Minnesota did it! So can we!
- See more actions under What You Can Do
1. Fight for a free and open internet. Oppose media consolidation. See freepress.net. We must preserve Net Neutrality. See the groundbreaking decision of the Federal Communications Commission after FOUR MILLION public comments http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-votes-for-net-neutrality-a-ban-on-paid-fast-lanes-and-title-ii/
2. Demand more voices on TV and radio, not fewer, so that broadcasters on our public airwaves represent all the public, not just a few. Encourage and support community radio stations, such as wslr.org in Sarasota — See prometheusradio.org.
3. Tell the FCC we demand comparable time on radio during election campaigns. Sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/tell-fcc-give-comparable-time-on-radio/
4. Stand up for NPR and PBS, so their voices are not shut out. Call your legislators.
5. Host a screening of the media-reform documentary "Broadcast Blues." To see a trailer and purchase the DVD, go to http://www.suewilsonreports.com/2010/06/what-happened-to-broadcast-blues.html
6. Start holding our local radio stations accountable, so they don’t abuse the licenses they hold, and press the FCC to pull their licenses, if they do. See the action October 18, 2016 against Entercom's radio station KDND at wwsw.mediaactioncenter.net . When radio stations are granted broadcast licenses, they are entrusted to use our public airways to serve the public interest. It's time they did.
7. Call and meet with your U.S. Representative or their state coordinator on these issues IN THEIR DISTRICT OFFICE during Congressional recesses. Tell them you want your Congressperson to co-sponsor a bill to rewrite the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to limit media ownership by one person or corporation. Unlimited ownership of radio stations by corporations such as Clear Channel (as allowed in that Act) is drowning out the voices of individual citizens in America, by giving a billion dollar megaphone to corporate owners to push whatever agenda they have on the listening public. The U.S. Constitution stands for free speech for PEOPLE, not for CORPORATIONS.
8. Start connecting the dots and watching the bottom of TV ads to see who is paying for them. It is “Americans for Prosperity”? That’s a PAC funded by billionaire oil magnates Charles and David Koch, who oppose government regulation because they wouldn’t be able to get away with the 300 oil spills they have caused over the past 10 years if we had the regulations we needed to protect us. If regulators were allowed to work unfettered and protect the public, they couldn’t hornswaggle the EPA into not classifying formaldehyle as a carcinogen, just to keep their profits up at Georgia Pacific. See the film Koch Brothers Exposed. The trailer tells you how to buy the DVD. Then schedule a house party or other free screening and post the event at www.Kochbrothersexposed.com.
8. Press our Congressmen and Congresswomen to pass the DISCLOSE ACT,
so people can see who is paying for all these ads, and find out
who is behind front groups like “Americans for Prosperity.” It’s all about THEIR prosperity, not yours.
- Make sure your voter registration is up-to-date, including your address and signature.
- Vote by mail: request a Vote by Mail ballot from your Supervisor of Elections office. Key reasons: precinct locations and numbers may change, lines may be long, the ballot may be long, you may be unable to get to the polls, machines may break down or there may be other problems at the polls on Election Day. With a Vote by Mail ballot, you have time to read and mark the ballot at your convenience, at home. Once you have mailed your ballot, you can track its receipt at the Elections office.
- Work with organizations helping to register voters in Florida. Voter registration efforts are now allowed.
- Volunteer to help with election protection efforts during elections. Check with your local Party for opportunities.
- Voice your opposition to any voter-suppression legislation that restricts voters' rights, limits early voting, and inhibits voter registration.
- Gather petitions for the Voting Restoration Amendment, to restore voting rights to ex-felons in Florida who have paid their debt to society. See www.miamirights.com, https://secondchances.peoplepower.org and http://www.floridiansforafairdemocracy.com/
- Oppose mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and similar efforts. Read The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander.
- Learn about the issues and opposing philosophies on voting rights: Good resource: The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy, by Zachary Roth, Crown, 2016