Detert, Commissioners Undermining Will of Voters

Letters

BY SUSETTE BRYAN SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY AUG 24, 2019

A sampling of recent news clippings indicate that the elected leadership of Sarasota County is failing to address the region’s most pressing challenges.  

For example: (1) Christine Robinson, Executive Director of the Argus Foundation, wrote last week:  “According to the Tampa Bay Partnership 2019 Economic Competiveness report, 14.67% of the population of 16-24 year-olds in Sarasota County are neither employed nor enrolled in school.”  (2) On the heels of an order issued to Sarasota County by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection “...which found numerous violations of water-quality rules linked to spills and discharges,” 36,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Siesta Key’s Grand Canal last month. (3) While values of luxury, waterfront homes on the barrier islands are impaired by the effects of infrastructure neglect, those living on “the other side of the train tracks” fall farther and farther behind. 

According to the United Way’s 2019 report of ALICE households (Asset-Limited Income-Constrained), 38% of Sarasota families “...struggle to pay for basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology.”

These startling statistics explain why Sarasota County citizens of all political persuasions voted overwhelmingly—115,896 votes / 59.84%YES vs. 77,767 votes / 40.16% NO—to change the system by which County Commissioners are elected.

It is clear that the past system, where each Commissioner was elected countywide, has failed us. 

Naturally, entrenched incumbents and their financial backers, specifically career politician Nancy Detert (along with Charles Hines, Alan Maio, and Mike Moran), are attempting to stack the deck and rig the 2020 election by gerrymandering Commission districts. 

They have hired a Tallahassee-based consultant, Kurt Spitzer, in a shady, non-competitive bid process, to generate homespun population estimates that would support a pre-2020 Census redraw followed by out-of-the-Sunshine secret planning meetings with each Commissioner to ensure incumbents and their hand-picked successors are protected.

So far, $16,000 has been taken out of our neighborhoods and slipped into the pocket of this out-of-town consultant. Next week, Spitzer is set to receive another $34,000 to do the bidding of Detert and the others.

Please contact the Commissioners at commissioners@scgov.net to express your outrage and then join members and supporters of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) at the Aug. 27, 9am Commission meeting to stand up to this flagrant abuse of power and abrogation of fiduciary responsibility!

Susette Bryan is  Secretary of Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE).

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