Sarasota County Charter Review Board, Dist. #3
1. Why do you think you’re particularly well suited for the Charter Review Board?
I am research and detail oriented and rely on the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, to guide my decisions. I attended a seminar on the history of how human rights were lost and regained over centuries, which greatly impressed upon me the importance of preserving our constitutional republic form of government and the necessity of being involved in government. I have a BS in chemistry and work experience as follows: laboratory research associate, Sarasota school teacher, legal assistant at a Sarasota law firm and consultant for a major computer corporation. Currently, I am retired, but still work as a part time consultant for a major computer corporation. I have no ties to special interest groups and took no campaign donations. My focus is on the people and what is best for them and our future.
2. Do you think the Charter Review Board should be changed from an elected board to an appointed board? Please explain.
I listen to the people and follow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with special emphasis on the rights of the people. In general, I believe appointed boards cannot be held accountable for their actions, whereas elected officials may be removed from office through the election process. I view the election process as the voice of the people. I voted to keep the board as an elected board.
3. What are three issues that have been suggested for the CRB’s consideration that you feel are worthy of further inquiry? For each one, please explain why you think it’s important.
Ethics rules for elected officials - I would support some guidelines regarding political donations and voting on donors' issues and some guidelines for private employment and public office. I believe our community will work better if there is a clear separation between special interest groups and our elected officials. I would be interested in hearing other suggestions, too.
Single district candidates - I would like there to be a stronger connection between the district residents and their representatives. I believe people would feel a connection with their own public officials and not feel they need to contact all of the officials, although they could. In addition, it will reduce the costs of campaigning, making it easier for people to run for office.
Common law jury - I believe this issue deserves some research and discussion, since Justice Scalia specifically addressed the importance of the common law system in one of his opinions, saying that this is the 4th branch of government. As you know, the Constitution sets the rules for the 3 branches of government, not the rules for the people. Several states are currently using the common law system, so I would like to investigate it's feasibility and usefulness.4. What is your position on single-district elections?
5. Do you believe citizen petition charter amendment drives should be subject to a time limit on gathering signatures?
I do not believe there should be a time limit. However, logically speaking, since the signatures must be verified, and since we live in a state with an older population and a transient population, it would be in the best interest of the petitioner to obtain signatures within as short a time frame as possible. Currently, I do not think there is a need to regulate this; it is self regulating.
6. Do you believe advisory boards should be subject to a rule that aims to balance them by geography, areas of expertise, and relevant experience in advocacy? (For example, for the Planning Commission, at least one member with experience in advocating for affordable housing.)
That would be an interesting subject to research and discuss. I am not a fan of appointed boards, since they are unaccountable to the people, and they make it easy for the elected officials to do little or none of the research themselves. I would like to see all aspects represented in the decision-making process: environmentalists, affordable housing advocates, farmers, realtors, ranchers, builders, merchants, regular citizens, etc. Any rules would need to be carefully worded.