Sarasota Narrows Down Redistricting Maps

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY OCT 31, 2019

Sarasota County Commissioners on Wednesday moved ahead with a controversial redistricting plan, and narrowed options down to two proposed maps for commission districts in 2020.

One of those maps wasn’t designed by a professional consultant, but based on a proposal from long-time political activist Bob Waechter.  Three out of five commissioners said they were comfortable with that map, which turns District 1 from a Democratic district to a Republican one while moving Newtown into District 2. That improves County Commissioner Mike Moran’s political ambitions next year, especially since it draws Sarasota Mayor Fredd Atkins, who already filed to run in District 1, out of the area.

But the map treats District 2 County Commissioner Christian Ziegler, the only member of the all-Republican commission to vote against pursuing redistricting now, poorly. That said, county commissioners will have to review the map again after the 2020 Census, and could completely redraw lines before the 2022 elections, when Ziegler is up for re-election.

The three commissioners who favored this map said they like that each major city in the county—Sarasota, Venice and North Port—will span more than one district. “I have always been a fan of the cities having more than one commissioner,” said County Commissioner Alan Maio, who is term limited.

Ziegler heavily criticized the action. He said if the county should move forward with a map, it should be one of three options generated by consultant Kurt Spitzer. He said a map that dramatically reshapes districts is a bad idea. “This entire process from the beginning has reinforced and stated over and over that the perceived goal was to get populations as even as possible,” he said. “If that’s the case, then take what we have and simply adjust it.

The county commission did vote to advertise one of the Spitzer-conceived maps. County Commissioner Charles Hines, who has supported balancing district populations, noted the map based on Waechter’s proposal had the least balance in the five districts and may be less defensible in court.

County Commissioner Nancy Detert, who pushed hardest for redistricting, criticized the citizens who testified for hours that changing lines ahead of the census was a bad idea.

“I’m disheartened by a lot of he public input, which was accusartory and in some cases vicious,” she said.

« View The Thursday Oct 31, 2019 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

State Approves Manatee County Vacation Rental Reopening Plan

State Approves Manatee County Vacation Rental Reopening Plan

May 22, 2020

Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Launches Turtle Trail

Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Launches Turtle Trail

May 19, 2020

Nathan Benderson Reaches Out to the Community for Input

Nathan Benderson Reaches Out for Input

May 16, 2020

Parts of Robinson Preserve to Close as Expansion Project Resumes May 26

Parts of Robinson Preserve to Close as Expansion Project Resumes

May 16, 2020