Preserve the Elected CRB
Your Sarasota County Charter is your county constitution and your Charter Review Board provides you with direct access to propose changes to your Charter. So why were powerful special interests trying to limit citizen's involvement in the Charter Amendment process? They have tried to limit the time available to collect signatures on citizen's petitions. They have tried to increase the number of votes required to pass a Charter Amendment. And most recently they were trying to convert the Charter Review Board from an elected body meeting three times per year to an appointed body, meeting rarely and only at the behest of local politicians.
We won this battle on Sept. 28th when we put together a large citizen rally in opposition at a special committee meeting of the CRB set to discuss this proposal. The CRB listened, and voted unanimously to defeat the terrible idea of removing this board as an elected body. That's the power of citizen involvement, and that's the power these five candidates are already exercising on behalf of the citizens.
This is your County and it is your Charter and the Charter Review Board is your Voice. The candidates below have been running to restore that voice to the citizens of Sarasota County.
Five Democrats are running this year to preserve your Charter Review Board - Arlene Sweeting (Dist. 1), Karen Collins-Fleming (Dist. 2), Tom Patalano (Dist. 3), Ray Porter (Dist. 4), and Mike Shlasko (Dist. 5). Only with a majority of the board can we hope to make the CRB into the kind of citizens' board it was always intended to be.
Open Our Election Process
Are Sarasota County Commission elections fair? The evidence indicates they are not. In the past 46 years, only Republicans have won seats on the county commission. Only Republicans. But today, and for most of the past five decades, Republicans have not been in the majority of our local population. In fact, right now, 57 percent of county residents DO NOT belong to the Republican party.
Does the fact that campaigning countywide is expensive and time-consuming favor the incumbent party, and favor those backed by big-money interests? Yes. Does this mean the results are skewed? Obviously. Will a change to a district-only vote for each county seat make the elections more fair and open to minority parties? Of course.
Right now, a large group of concerned citizens is trying to institute a change in the way our elections operate. If we are successful, there will be more and better candidates from all parties in our elections. They will be able to run viable campaigns with less money, more grass roots mobilization teams, and the ability to run on the issues - not on catchy slogans and expensive mailers.
Sign the petition and let's make it happen!
Your issues are my issues.If you think you have an idea to improve county government, and your elected representatives are not listening, you don't need to feel frustrated and powerless. Your Charter Review Board representative is supposed to be there to listen to you, and could be your catalyst for positive change. It might take a petition effort, or it might just take a one-on-one meeting. If I am convinced by your arguments that the Charter change you propose makes sense, I will be your voice on the board to see that the change is heard, and perhaps placed on a future ballot for the voters to decide whether it becomes part of our Charter.
If elected, I intend to hold regular meetings in my District in order to give you the opportunity to present your proposals. This is how representative democracy is supposed to work. Has anyone ever offered you this option before? Do you even know who your representatives are on the Charter Review Board? If you elect me, that will all change!
Who Is Ray Porter?
Ray Porter - Biography
Ray Porter is a 36-year resident of Sarasota County, and is running for the District 4 seat on the Sarasota County Charter Review Board.
A pragmatic, rational, moderate Democrat, with a desire to preserve the board as an elected body, Porter has 20 years of professional journalism experience at the local level. He has reported on all divisions of government, including Sarasota County, and has gained invaluable insights and knowledge during is time at local newspapers. He offers the voters a newspaper reporter's intellectual tools - curiosity, high ethical standards, and a strong determination to seek and understand all sides of an issue. Learning from government policy makers and staff, and active citizens within the community who questioned their representatives, he has a balanced perspective that will prove crucial to the future of our county charter board.
Porter also offers voters a devotion to the future success of our local economy. As the father of three young men, ages 24, 16 and 14, he wants to help create a healthy business environment that provides high-wage jobs, safe and healthy communities, and a Sarasota we can all continue to be proud to call home.