The 2020 election will be unprecedented in Sarasota County in more than one way. A new single member district structure calls for citizens to vote for County officials who will represent their area of the county. This year, three districts hold elections, and new challengers have come forward in all three.
For a county that's had essentially single-party rule for 50 years, the presence of candidates with new ideas, and without huge developer Dark Money war chests should be refreshing and newsworthy. Several of these new candidates are environmentally aware - check them out.
With the intense concerns of the coming election, one would anticipate close journalistic attention to the candidates and key issues (growth, environment, fiscal responsibility, infrastructure, etc.). But as of now, our media have no plan to offer any forums or public debates.
Those who wish can watch two series of candidate forums organized by private groups: Tiger Bay and the League of Women Voters. And here's a calendar of challengers' activities for September. Citizens for District Power - a volunteer nonpartisan organization - has issue and candidate information for each district, but voters need more.
Environmental awareness becomes more crucial as our county administration has appointed and advisory boards crammed with industry insiders.
Sarasota's mainstream media - the HT, the Observer, SRQ, Sarasota Magazine, WWSB-Ch. 7, the Gondalier, the Sun, etc. - should step up. We need to hear and see all our candidates explore issues in depth.