Letter: Commissioners, Respect the Charter and the People
cc: Matt Osterhoudt, Ron Turner
Commissioners of Sarasota County:
You're in a bind. You have consistently fostered pro-growth policies and approved super-sized developments, despite public hearings that bring hundreds of people to your chambers in hopes of persuading you to moderate, if not halt, egregious development plans.
Your largesse has increased over time; your regulatory authority is so little used in development approval hearings that the rules have become flaccid, feckless things. Instead of assiduously applying the laws that express the people's wishes for their community's future, you have handed interpretation of our Comprehensive Plan to the construction syndicate.
Tens of thousands of dwelling units are already approved and on your books. The total is far more, as I understand it, than the most liberal projections for the county's housing needs predict.Yet you refuse to publicly discuss the planning overview, the total context that would give us the basis for deciding when too much is too much. Knowledge of the facts would bring a strong reaction from our residents.
Here's the point: You have disappointed and angered people in each of the five districts -- people who deeply care about what is happening to the place where they and their neighbors live, where their children go to school, and where they once were happy.
Because you know this, you are doing everything you can to turn upside down the voting structure we the people put in place in 2018.You know that your pro-growth insensitivity has angered many people in your districts, and you wish to avoid your official accountability to them.
So here's the math: Each district is drawn to contain roughly 75,000 voters. Each of those voters has had the opportunity to experience the pain and hassle, the traffic and construction detours caused by your approvals of developments where they live.
The only way to kneecap those 75,000 angry voters before they enthusiastically retire you from office is to have 285,827 people from other districts bury the informed electoral power of your district voters under an avalanche of ignorance.
Add this to your gerrymandered redistricting and the extent of de-democratization in Sarasota County becomes clear. This is not about Dems versus Republicans. It's about undermining Democracy itself.
When the voters tell you to refrain from placing Single Member District voting on a costly special election ballot, listen to them, Commissioners. Do not approve any special election without itemizing in complete detail how many of our tax dollars will be needed if this bureaucratic tantrum is exercised.
Very truly yours,
Citizen of Sarasota County