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CRB: Honor the Charter - and the Voters

October 19, 2021

To the Charter Review Committee:

Today's Herald Tribune reports the oft-heard story that Sarasota leads surveys as one of the nation's top places to retire. One consequence of such publicity is visibility -- many more folks - tourist agencies, guide books, retirement consultants, developers, hoteliers - will be looking more closely at the county and how it conducts itself.

Sarasota's home rule charter is designed to give its people a kind of insurance that their will shall be honored in important matters. Nothing is more important than the way we elect our officials, and how those officials conduct themselves. Three years ago, the citizens of Sarasota voted to amend the Charter to establish Single Member District Voting.

The Charter is kind of an insurance policy guaranteeing that democracy will be protected. Democracy is under pressure across the nation.* If the Board that is elected to protect our democracy, our Charter, were to even contemplate amending the Charter in the face of a legitimate, lawful election, what would that tell all those people now looking more closely at our #1 retirement haven?

We have heard no argument for reversing the 2018 vote of the people, other than the groundless pretense that people were "confused." That is because there is no justifiable argument for undoing this lawful, accurate vote, reinforced by the County's recent public opinion survey.

Do not make Sarasota a laughing stock or a poster child for corruption, dark money, and the rising assault on the very principles of democratic action. Honor the Charter, and honor the voters.


Tom Matrullo

*See On Corruption in America - Sarah Chayes, and Dark Money - Jane Mayer.

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