Sarasota News Leader

06/13/2014

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According to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office, McLendon did not vote in this year's March referendum on the school system's special 1-mill property tax, which passed with support of 77 percent of the voters who cast ballots. McLendon tells the News Leader he knew the vote was coming up, but "the voting day never really stuck in my mind." "It came right in the middle of season and the real estate business was [hopping] and I had intended to vote," he writes in an email, "but by the time I got finished with business that day I realized I had completely forgotten about it." McLendon says it "comes across" like the School Board is trying to "sneak the tax in" by holding the vote in the springtime rather than during the general election. He adds that he would favor moving the vote to the fall. "I will not support a special election in March costing $500,000 to pull off when it could be done at a regularly scheduled voting day," he writes. (Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent told the News Leader the cost of the March referen- dum was about $400,000.) Although it doesn't affect his race, McLendon supports Gov. Rick Scott's decision to appoint a candidate in another School Board race. Scott named Bridget Ziegler to the board position left open by the recent resignation of Carol Todd. Ziegler's husband is Christian Ziegler, the former executive director of the Republican Party of Sarasota County. Her appointment has drawn accusations of political favorit- ism. Ziegler's opponent, Ken Marsh, for one, tells the News Leader he was "disappointed that Gov. Scott apparently thought so little of Sarasota County parents and teachers and students that he would appoint somebody with so little experience to such an import- ant position." "You could argue that with the election being just two months away, there was no rush and that he did it to give an advantage to Bridget in the election," McLendon writes of Scott's action. "With this being a non-partisan elec- tion, that advantage may not be as large as if it were a Republican primary, but that is poli- tics and probably a wise political move on his part. As for Bridget, I have no doubt she will be a very good school board member and she has my full support." The elections for the Sarasota County School Board will begin with the Aug. 26 primary. Since McLendon and Goodwin are the only candi- dates who have filed to run so far in that district, the winner on that day will win the seat. If other candidates emerge, so does the possibility of a runoff election in November. % Incumbent Jane Goodwin will face Randy McLendon in the Aug. 26 Republican primary for a School Board seat. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools Sarasota News Leader June 13, 2014 Page 32

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