Sarasota News Leader

06/20/2014

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The organizers of the City of Sarasota petition drive to put a charter-changing referendum on the November ballot are up against a June 23 deadline, City Attorney Bob Fournier says. The charter is explicit about the sequence of events after the petitions are submitted, and June 23 is the last day to beat the clock unless the City Commission agrees to a spe- cial meeting to consider putting the measure on the ballot. As of Thursday, June 19, the organizers of It's Time Sarasota had presented 1,909 peti- tion signatures to the Office of the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections. About 15 percent were invalid, leaving 1,628 that had been approved. This is about half the 3,548 signatures required. The city charter demands that 10 percent of the registered voters who participated in the last at-large city election (March 2013) sign a petition to put an issue on the ballot. It's Time Sarasota wants city voters to adopt a totally new charter, repealing the current city-man- ager form of government and replacing it with one that will feature an elected mayor with very broad powers. The organization is regis- tered in a lobbyist's office in Tallahassee. The group It's Time Sarasota wants to see the city governed by a 'strong mayor.' Photo by Norman Schimmel WAY BEHIND THE 'STRONG MAYOR' PETITION FACES ITS DEADLINE WITH ONLY ABOUT HALF THE NEEDED SIGNATURES AS OF JUNE 19 By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS

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