Single Member Districts
5-18-19 Please attend the County Commission meeting Wednesday, May 22, 9:00 AM at the Commission Chambers at 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. This will be the decisive meeting at which the Commissioners may decide to redistrict the county THIS YEAR, BEFORE the 2020 census! From the population numbers the County Administrator is showing, that shouldn't be necessary. The difference in population between the largest and smallest population districts is under 10%, within the guidelines of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law, state law, and our county charter.
5-2-19 Please attend the County Commission meeting Tuesday, May 7, 9:00 AM at the Commission Chambers at the Robert L. Anderson Administration Center, 4000 South Tamiami Trail, Venice. The Sarasota County Commissioners are moving ahead with steps to redistrict Sarasota County in 2019 (!) i.e. BEFORE they have the actual population numbers from the 2020 census. (and of course, they will have to redistrict AGAIN after the 2020 census.) Remember, redistricting must be done based on POPULATION, not on registered voters. County Administrator Jonathan Lewis will report on his findings in support of redistricting this year on May 7.
His report is item 24B on the agenda. It will probably be in the late morning. See the full agenda here. However, to voice your concerns about redistricting in 2019 and have them videoed for the record, please get a speaker card for the 9:00 AM Open to the Public session. You will have three minutes to speak. If you can't stay for the entire meeting, you can leave thereafter. To see the rest of the meeting online, go to scgov.net, click on the Government tab, and Watch County Commission Meetings. Comcast users can watch the meeting on Access TV Channel 19. Verizon users can watch it on channel 32. You can also see the archived video of the April 9 meeting where they first discussed redistricting in 2019 online here.
4-16-19 Carol Hartz, President of the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County, wrote an excellent Letter to the Editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune outlining the need for a "balanced redistricting commission"--bipartisan, multi-partisan or non-partisan--to "bolster trust in the fairness of our democratic processes." See the link below. If you agree, please write letters to the local papers in support! And write them NOW, before the early May County Commission meeting, when they will probably make their plans to redistrict in 2019. All voices are needed NOW to press the County Commission to do the right thing, and appoint a BALANCED redistricting commission, so this isn't another effort to gerrymander districts to keep power brokers in control of our county. Elected officials should not be choosing their voters: we the voters should choose our elected officials.
4-10-19 Yesterday at the County Commission meeting in Venice, Nancy Detert suggested the Commissioners should redistrict in 2019--however she seems to think redistricting is done on the basis of registered voters. No it's not: redistricting is based on POPULATION--that's why it needs to be done after the 2020 census. How will they get accurate population numbers now? Please contact the County Administrator, County Attorney, and County Commissioners and ask these questions:
--and be sure to send any questions and concerns you have to the newspapers as well--
1. What is the proposed timeline to conduct the redistricting process, and how will the public be notified?
2. What source/s will Sarasota County use to determine the current population of Sarasota County--U.S. Census Bureau or other data base?
3. When and where will the current County population data (Total and by District) be available for public review prior to any redistricting workshops?
4. When and where will those public redistricting workshops be held? (You said workshops would be held.)
5. What criteria and formula determine whether or not redistricting in required?
6. What software program/s will be used to "balance" the population in each district should it be necessary to redistrict?
7. What are the anticipated administrative and related costs associated with redistricting and reconfiguring precincts?
4-5-19 Well, the honeymoon didn't last even seven months. Now we understand opponents are conducting a "push-poll" survey to try to dissuade voters from supporting Single Member Districts. Please don't be fooled by this attempt by the powerful to keep their power. The power grab by corporate big moneyed interests is happening at all levels: county--state- and national. Our County Commissioners are already suppressing the will of the voters by their draconian amendment to double petition requirements for citizen initiatives. Now the State legislature is trying to do the same by fast-tracking SB 7096 to kill all the statewide petition drives being conducted to protect the people- for Medicaid expansion, banning assault weapons and more. Sign up here to have your voice heard in April on this and other bad bills being pushed through the 2019 Florida legislative session. AND BEWARE: If the Sarasota County Commission conducts a special election to change Single Member District elections to another system, VOTE NO!
11-6-18 Thanks to people of all political parties who saw the need for this important reform in the way we elect County Commissioners in Sarasota County, our Single Member Districts amendment passed with a resounding vote of 59.84% YES vs. 40.16% NO.
It will first go into effect in the 2020 elections for the three County Commission seats in Districts 1 (Mike Moran), 3 (Nancy Detert) and 5 (Charles Hines). Now is a great time for people to attend County Commission meetings to see how the Commissioners work for the people in their district and together for the benefit of all in the County. It is now up to the voters in each of those districts to decide whether to re-elect them or another qualified candidate who may emerge.
See the County Commissioners here
and there meeting schedule here
10-15-18 Don't be fooled by the false ads and mailers and black and red signs from the STOP Single Member Districts campaign. The STOP campaign is supported by the very developers who are trying to keep control of elections in this county! Only with Single Member Districts can we elect County Commissioners who can work together countywide for ALL the people as they represent their district as true advocates. Vote YES for Single Member Districts on the November ballot!
(SEE OUR NEW WEBSITE devoted to Single Member Districts and please LIKE our new Facebook page in addition to our SAFE Facebook page.) This is a NONPARTISAN initiative for people of ALL political parties and no party. It will benefit PEOPLE all over the county.
For latest updates on the SMD campaign, see below. See BENEFITS, POINTS TO REMEMBER and DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DISTRICTS half way down.
READ ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE to see how important this needed reform is for all of us!
Vote YES for the "Sarasota County Charter Amendment to Change County Commission Elections to Single Member Districts". It is near the very end of the November ballot!
Single Member Districts will benefit all residents of Sarasota County:
o help ensure County Commissioners are accountable to US and not just to their largest campaign donors
o REDUCE OUR TAXES!!
o reduce the cost of campaigns
o let Commissioners work together for the good of ALL people in the county, not just the development community
o protect the health and sustainability of the environment, the economy, and the people in our beautiful Sarasota County
ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO
VOTE YES on the November ballot for Single Member Districts for electing County Commissioners
VOTE NO for the "draconian" amendment of the County Commission titled "Process for Citizen Initiated Petitions..." It DOUBLES petition requirements for citizen petition initiatives from 5% to 10% in the future. That means citizens would have to gather over 30,000 petitions rather than the 15,000 required now. ("Draconian" was the word used at the Public Hearing August 29 by outgoing Commissioner Paul Caragiulo to describe the County Commission's amendment. THANK YOU PAUL!) Their amendment doesn't mention that it is DOUBLING the petition requirement, so people may not realize the impact it will have. Their amendment is a Trojan Horse!
It's clear the County Commission wants to SILENCE the voices of the voters. Their amendment will stifle our voices--by making it as difficult as possible for voters to petition their government for redress of grievances in the future.
Their amendment called "Process for Citizen Initiated Petitions..." will
2. Require ALL county charter amendments to go on a November election, and eliminate all special elections for citizen petition initiatives
3. Severely limit the time for gathering petitions to two years--actually 1 1/2 years by the proposed plan.
4. Require that all petitions be submitted at once between January 1 and April 1 of the year the measure is intended to go on the November ballot. That will make it very difficult for the Supervisor of Elections to process them, and extremely difficult for citizens to estimate how may extra petitions may be needed, and gather them by May 1 if necessary.
SO MUCH FOR THE ABILITY OF CITIZENS TO PETITION THEIR GOVERNMENT!
The First Amendment to the Constitution says "Congress shall make no law...abridging the right of the people ...to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." --but apparently that doesn't stop our County Commissioners from creating "local laws" to do just that!
One Sarasota County voter (Michael Hayden) says: "Looks like they don't want any more petitions to find their way to the ballot."
Another (Alexandra Coe) says: "Limiting citizen access to government is exactly the opposite of what our elected officials are supposed to do."
THANKS FOR THE GREAT WORK OF PEOPLE OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES TO GATHER THE NEEDED PETITIONS TO PUT SINGLE MEMBER DISTRICTS ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT!
SAFE board member Susette Bryan says: "This would be one small step for Sarasota County citizens, one big step for fair and honest representation."
Bill Zoller of Sarasota 2050 says: "I am a Republican, and I strongly support the Single Member District (SMD) proposed change to our County Charter. The issues that we face locally have no party labels. Traffic congestion, protection of our neighborhoods, good governance, responsive county commissioners, protection of our very special environmental assets, and other quality of life issues do not fall exclusively into Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, or any other "party" camp. We know that very large campaign donations have been funneled to candidates favored by certain special interests, and Single Member Districts may lessen the impact of that trend."
Everyone, please SPREAD THE WORD about the BENEFITS of this NON-PARTISAN Single Member Districts referendum for ALL people in the county! Please LIKE our Facebook page for Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, JOIN our public Facebook group, FOLLOW us on Twitter, and ... DONATE what you can to help our campaign reach VICTORY in November!
o Reduce the influence of Dark Money PACs
o Reduce the influence of Large Real Estate Developers
o Make Commissioners accountable to YOU and not just to their largest campaign donors
o Reduce the cost of running for office --up to 80%!
o Make races more competitive, so good new candidates can WIN!
o Get control of traffic and infrastructure
o Strengthen Neighborhoods
o Protect our Environment
o Reduce Your Taxes! --when you don't have to pay for the infrastructure and overruns that the developers are not paying for!! * see comment below from the HOA President of Blue Heron Pond
o Benefit people of ALL political parties, and help restore integrity in elections in this county for the good of ALL.
POINTS TO REMEMBER: YOUR voice will be STRONGER--with ALL Commissioners, as elected officials responsible to the PEOPLE and not just the developers are elected in EACH district in the County-- by the voters in that district. How can YOUR concerns be heard now even by your own Commissioner if 80% of the people electing YOUR County Commissioner live outside YOUR district? --and may be swayed to vote for someone NOT in the interests of you and the other voters in your district, and not even in the interests of all the PEOPLE in the county, but simply the profit-making interests of the developers, by TV ads and glossy mailers sent to homes all over the county by candidates backed by those wealthy development interests?
REMEMBER: Single member districts are not new. They are a common-sense approach to ensuring local representation and good government practiced in 27 Florida counties in whole or in part and in elections across the country.
REMEMBER: We can start correcting many of the problems in this county and this country once we get good people into office at lower levels of government, such as County Commission, right here in Sarasota County.
OTHER WAYS TO SPREAD THE WORD
Here's an easy way: Download and print this document.
handout slips (13 KB)
Cut it into small strips. Take some with you wherever you go. Hand them out to everyone you meet--people of all political parties-- and encourage them to check this page to learn about single member districts and how they can benefit from them!
Other ways: Hand out this flyer to friends, neighbors, groups you are in and meetings you attend. Show up at key meetings of elected officials, mail postcards, speak at events, canvass door to door, help Get Out the Vote? Join us!
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DISTRICTSSingle member vs. at large districts: (See other talking points here:)
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 Sun, Sarasota Observer, Longboat Observer, Sarasota News Leader and more as often as you can.
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--and THANKS!
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 restore Net Neutrality. See the groundbreaking decision of the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 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/ .
Sadly, net neutrality was repealed June 11, 2018 under the FCC leadership of Ajit Pai. See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/technology/net-neutrality-repeal.html
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
- VOTE! It is up to YOU to make sure you are registered, and your registration signature and address are up to date. See www.sarasotavotes.com for all the information you need. Pay attention, learn about the issues and the candidates and VOTE in every election! Your future depends on it!