Friday, November 2, 2012

Say no to amendments that don't belong on (Palmetto Bay) ballot anyway

A must read. Tampa Bay Times, Say no to amendments that don't belong on ballot anyway, by Sue Carlton, Times Columnist, Friday, November 2, 2012 

From a Republican Hillsborough County commissioner: what he has to say about the 11 proposed amendments to our state Constitution tacked onto the ballot by the Republican-controlled Legislature for next Tuesday's presidential election.


“No.” “Eleven times, no.”

Think about his rationale and use it when you also vote on the huge number of Palmetto Bay proposed revisions to the Village Charter.  I read this and immediately thought about how this is the same tactic currently employed by 3 of the 5 Charter Revision Commission members as well as 3 of the five Palmetto Bay Council members who pushed for adding legislation to the Palmetto Bay Charter.

As reported in the article, this has little to do with the merits of the amendments, which run roughly the length of Gone With the Wind and deal with everything from property taxes to a break for disabled veterans to abortion funding.

It's because, and this is applicable to the Palmetto Bay Charter Changes, legislation doesn't belong in the state Constitution. "Mucking around with the Constitution is no way for a state to govern itself,"  It is also no way for Palmetto Bay to let itself be governed.

My own problems with the disingenuousness of some of those amendments aside, he's right. It's wrong. It doesn't belong.

Be on alert for sneakiness, like the noble-sounding "Religious Freedom" amendment that is actually about repealing a long-standing ban on taxpayer funding for religious groups. 

In Palmetto Bay, the best example is the proposed Charter Amendment # 4 - innocently entitled "Changing Term Limits" this is actually an anti-reform proposal that EXTENDS the present term limits from the present 8 to 12 years. Do not be fooled. We finally get a county charter question for 2 - 4 year terms for County Commissioners, but Palmetto Bay elected officials want to undo our earlier reforms and extend their terms to 12 years. 8 is enough! NO!

I agree with the opinions expressed in the article about our state constitution and ask you all to apply it to our local charter as well: Our Constitution is foundational, meant to guide us. It can change, but it was not meant to be further larded up and thickened with petty partisan measures not easily undone. It is not supposed to be a grab bag of special interests.

But hey, confusion might just get the job done.

Think about this when you read and consider the Palmetto Bay proposed Charter Changes.  2012 Palmetto Bay Charter revisions – as your government is at risk by ill-advised proposals

Why all these proposed revisions to a Charter that isn’t broken? Why does the current group of elected officials want greater powers over daily operations and our lives?

Protect Our Palmetto Bay by carefully reading each item before you vote and do not approve any item you are unsure of or don’t fully agree with.

Thank you Mark Sharpe, the State Senator described in Tampa Bay times as "...a political wonk, a Tweeter, Facebooker and talker of politics local, state and national."

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