Three challengers offer fresh perspectives
Updated: Oct 29
In 2018, Sarasota's citizens stared in disbelief as the Board came within an ace of giving a big campaign contributor the right to build a dump at a majestic bird sanctuary. Then came approvals for Benderson's Siesta Promenade and Pat Neal's Grand Lake. Then, Skye Ranch. . .Waterside. . .Hi Hat Ranch.. . .
Thousands of new housing units going up on vacant land as wastewater spilled from a disintegrating infrastructure.
In 2018, the citizens of Sarasota County woke up.
They worked for months gathering signatures to put a Charter amendment on the ballot. At the polls voters countywide approved a change to the local electoral process. Instead of everyone voting for all five commissioners, citizens vote for the commissioner who represents their district. Known as Single Member District Voting, many other counties already have it.
Thanks at least in part to this change, three new candidates stepped up.
Each is a Democrat
All bring fresh, invigorating perspectives to Sarasota
None accepts contributions from developers or SuperPACs
To learn about these candidates, read on. You'll find links to each district and its issues, as well as to local media about the candidates and their races.
Editorial by Mark Pienkos: Sarasota County voters care about rural preservation and pandemic relief
This year, the first to incorporate Single Member District Voting, the Corona Virus prevented in person "Meet and Greet" gathering. Yet Sarasota's media failed to step up: They held no forums or zoom debates -- a total dereliction.
At least some private organizations stepped in. The CDP Blog has collected and posted all the recorded forums that could be located. These include:
Sarasota County has had 50 years of uninterrupted, unimaginative single-party rule.
The Board pretends to be fiscally conservative, but it hands priceless development rights over to major players (Neal, Beruff, Benderson, Jensen et al) without requiring developers to pony up their fair share of development costs.
Time for a change.