Changins the Hillsborough B.O.C.C.

I read with great interest a post on the March on Politics blog. William March noted:

A group is forming to start a petition drive to have Hillsborough County Commissioners elected from seven single-member districts, replacing the current system of three at-large commissioners and four district commissioners.

The effort is being led by Patrick Manteiga, publisher of La Gaceta newspaper, and Doris Weatherford, an author active in local politics.

Okay, so I don’t often agree with some of the more liberal activists here in town, and I think some in the Republican party may want to revoke my membership, but I like this proposal.

I will really like it if they increase the number of commissioners beyond seven as well.

In Hillsborough County, each county commissioner represents more people than a state representative. Almost twice as much, for that matter. The three at-large commissioners represent more people than a member of Congress. Local politics is supposed to be close to the people, so it can accurately represent them.

Now, I grew up in Monroe County, New York — in the suburbs of Rochester. The county has about 75% of the people of Hillsborough County, yet the government there is able to do more. (Now, it also TAXES a heck of a lot more – something I do not advocate). The governing board of Monroe County (the “County Legislature“) has 29 members — four times the number.

I don’t think Hillsborough County should have 29 County Commissioners, but 11-15 would be a good number. Communities could be sure they have someone who really represents them.

Sun City Center, Brandon and Plant City in the same district (4)? What about a district with Apollo Beach, Hyde Park, and Town N Country (1)? And do Westchase, Lutz and Mango (2) belong together?

Commissioner Kevin White’s District 3 makes some sense, if only because the neighborhoods with large minority populations are located in a central way. It’s still too big.

So, if Patrick or Doris send me a petition and it has 11-15 county commissioners, I’d be happy to sign it.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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4 Responses to Changins the Hillsborough B.O.C.C.

  1. Lee Nelson says:

    It _is_ a great idea. I believe the current proposal hasn’t decided if its 7 or 9 — I might be wrong on that and its going forward with 7….

    What I like is that it sets our community up nicely for the county mayor addition. The problem I had with the county mayor spot was a potential power struggle between county-wide BOCC members and the county mayor. What if the county mayor received less votes than the 3 county wide commissioners? They could always threaten to run against the county mayor…

    This change to the county charter will equally distribute the work load of the commissioners as well overcome the problems you identified (such as BOCC 1s unification of seemingly arbitrary communities.)

    I think this is a fantastic idea and have high hopes it will pass.


    PS. I lived in Monroe County too (when I went to RIT)…I could go for a Dibella’s sub right about now….

  2. I like it too.

    It takes too much money to get a candidate’s name out to the 628,162 voters in a county-wide race. With less than 90,000 voters in a district, a grassroots campaign against a big-money candidate would be more feasible.

    I’d like it even better if it were 11 districts, which would not only make low-budget door-knocking campaigns practicable, it would make it harder for big money to buy a majority of the board.

    The “Citizens for Equal County Representation” will have their petition online very soon at (There’s nothing there yet.)

  3. Lee Nelson says:

    The website is now up.

    Please sign a petition.

    -Lee Nelson

  4. Jaime says:

    I happen to thing that idea makes reasonalbe sense. Who decides the amount of districts and thier representatives? It’s people like you who should volunteer your great ideas to influential people who can get those ideas realized. With such a logical request, why would there be an objection or possible drawback to that idea? It’s something that seems would better our area more than inconvenience or harm it. Is it too late to run for office for a seat on the District or Mayor this year? I would like to put my hat in the ring. I’ve recently decided that I because was born here and had opportunities to visit many places but choose to spend the rest of my life in this area I my as well do all I can to help make it the best it can be. So I am volunteering myself to a certain capacity depending on my achievable position to make this place a better place for myself and everyone who lives, works, and visits here. In that order of importance.
    Attached below is a serious but slightly blunt and offensive version of what my political debate speach for the office seat might sound like from me. What do you think?

    Hello I’m Jaime Godfrey and I’m running for mayor (or any form of public office). All of the candidates seem like very fine people. I have done some research on my opponents and each of them have been very successful professionally and have many impressive accomplishments. I do feel that in many ways, people like them are very important and helpful to our society. They set great examples and deserve much respect. They each have connections to other more influential people and groups who can help make positive impacts to our community. I was born and raised here in Tampa Bay. I’m a rare native to this area and have had opportunities to travel many countries and experience hundreds of communities and I would not choose to live anywhere else. Tampa bay is HOME to me and I would love to be lucky enough to enjoy the rest of my life here and be placed to rest somewhere around here once I’m gone. The reason I’m running for mayor is simply because I believe that I could do a better job overall. How can I make such a statement? My opponents and perhaps some of the individuals who have never heard of me just might think that a comment like that is ridiculous and stems from arrogance. I’m sure their competitive nature and the wealthy influences that back them believe that they are also the best person for the job. And I understand this and most intelligent people do too and can appreciate that. Many top athletes (which I was at one time) believe that they are the best person for the position they are competing for or teams they are trying to make. Every competitive and successful coach thinks he or she is the best or at least very good at what they do and have a high level of confidence and competence. I am not going to question any of my opponents abilities or intelligence, but I want to let them, their teams, and their influences know that I can and will be a mayor that the people in my community will respect and approve of. I want to be the type of community leader that would be welcome in anyone’s home or simply to be respected. I want to take out a lot of red tape and have my city’s population help me decide on things that are going to impact this city for those who live here, work here, and visit here. I want to start on crime. I want to sharpen up our crime stopping police and security forces. We should be spending more time and efforts on stopping and preventing “real” crimes than ticketing people who are 2 minutes late on their parking meter or who is driving 5-10 miles over the speed limit on a bridge with no traffic around him. Some things with our police mentality are ridiculous. The police reputation here is awful to its locals. Anyone who says different has a police officer in their family or something like that. I love the police and we need them. But we need them to be investigating crimes and preventing them on a different scale. I would not try to reinvent the wheel, but I think all of us as a community or “team” can decide what types of crimes both minor and major crimes be attacked by levels of importance voted on my all of us. I’d like to help establish a clearer cut, sensible plan for a more effective crime force. Many policies should be looked at closely and we as a united community can do it. I’m not convinced that my candidates are willing to do what it takes to make Tampa the Best place to live, work, and visit. We have the makings for it. I really would like you all to ask me questions that are important to you about what you would like to see improve, and be added, be taken away. I want to know how you feel on certain crimes and what punishments should be and if we should be harder on certain things and looser on certain things. There are some policies I feel we should be more relaxed about. And there are other policies like theft, and violent crimes I feel we should be less tolerant about. I would like to know Tampa as a fun place. I safe place, a smart place, an attractive place, a positive place, a wild place, a friendly place, a respectful place, an appreciative place, and a place that does not take shit because we’re a proud place and will bitch and complain and embarrass and belittle any individual or group who disrespects us or tries to bully us into something that interferes with our desired way of life. It’s important to me as your candidate for mayor to understand your concerns that wish to be addressed so that I can confirm that the decision I’m making is right for me. Trust me that I do not want to be mayor of a community full of idiots. I know for a certain fact, that Tampa is NOT, by any means a community of idiots. Everyone who grew up here and I think I can speak for the others who are running with me, I’m sorry, against me, that we likely have a few thousand idiots who live here and I’d put a considerable amount of time to educate the idiots about the reasoning behind the way WE stand on certain issues. Face it, idiots are everywhere and they usually don’t get in the way too much. I want to be the BEST Mayor possible. The ideal mayor will understand what the public wants and needs. The ideal mayor will be able to relate, and cleverly communicate with all community leaders and the everyday Joe or Jane. Someone who can be open, honest, and accessible. I want you all to understand the way I feel about our most important issues and what my plans are to improve them. I want you all to know that voting for me is like a vote for yourself. It’s a vote for YOU. Like I said before, I grew up here and love this place but there are things I would like to see improve. I you all appreciate my views and what I’d like to do, then it’s like a vote for yourself. And if you have a good idea, I’ll hear it out and likely agree with you and point you in the right direction to realize your idea come to fruition – or you can advise me how to make your great idea improve our area. I keep open books and you all know about every penny spent. I keep it all open and on line. I develop a huge website where the daily operations are run for all to see in view mode. You have access to view the dozens of emails I get every day. Access to all the voicemails people and officials leave me every day. I might meet with wealthy developers and builders who want to pour tons of money into the city if we give authorization for some COOL project. It could be great for us if we all think so. Together we can be the best. There are some of the wealthiest people in the world who live in Tampa Bay. Some of the smartest minds in the world live in Tampa Bay. Some of the best athletes in the world live here. We’re on the map baby and we can be the absolute best. We’re on the beach and all over the water. We have an incredible nightlife that rivals any city in America. Many people can say that the best night of their life happened in Tampa somewhere. This is true, trust me. I’m a 33 year old man. I am a man. Up until recently, I was convinced that I was still a kid and I am in my heart, but I’m an fucking man. And I’m sharp, there is just no denying it. I am no Einstein by any means but I can make intelligent decisions and can be resourceful enough to consult with far more intelligent people than I am individually that specialize in certain subjects including the general public to help me assure a smart decision. I also can and will work extremely hard and put in the necessary time to make sure the fantastic results I can help deliver happen fast. As your Mayor, I work for you. I am your secretary. I am here to help serve and protect you all and offer the fun, safe, respected, intelligent, proud place to live, work, and visit. As a young man I am willing to dedicate my life to this. I’m willing to stop my career, risk it all and go for it. I have no doubts that if you all take the time to put in the vote for us, that it will not be a waste of your time. You will see big improvements and a better morale immediately. If you all feel the same way I do, vote for me. I can back up and guarantee my performance. If I do not perform up to your highest standards, I will pay back my salary to the city and pass my chair to the person who got the votes closest to me. With your and my opponent’s permission, I would likely try to consult with them on many issues to get a group consensus on important matters. I want to be the best personally I can be and I want to live in the best place with the best people. I think that every single person in this city has the right and opportunity to realize that statement. I want our city to have the sharpest minds who have more availability to be the best they can be, in the best city in America. I want the world to know that knowing someone from Tampa is special because we are special. Visiting Tampa is special because this area is the best it can be. The better our city is, the better our lives can be. I’m on a quest for extreme happiness and running for Mayor of this wonderful place is the next step to achieving that goal. My idea of extreme happiness is to see everyone I live with as happy as can be. Many of us live with many challenges and stresses. I want to help our area take a lot of those problems away in big ways and in small ways. I know a lot of people in Tampa Bay. I would say that I know the “average” amount of people who grew up in the area the way I did. Divorced parents, raised by my grandparents who lived modestly. Through sports I was able to be invited to UCF to play soccer and get my education. I moved back to Tampa Bay after college to work and have been here ever since. I decided it’s time for this city, and this country to have a “Real” guy like me that is willing to be open as a close friend to the public in which he serves and lives among. Imagine a family member of a close friend who you could confide in and trust on and off the record that is the actual Mayor of your city. You would feel empowered. You would feel a sort of ownership and pride in your city. You would want to be careful and protect your city and its inhabitants, and visitors. Well so do I. There are only a few choices you have to vote for the Mayor. My heart is on my sleeve, I respect all of you and will keep my ears open to you. One warning, some of you may comment or ignorantly say things to me that will anger or disappoint me and my people I represent. I am an emotional guy and am not afraid to speak my mind and let you know why I’m disappointed or why I’m angry in an emotional way. I may have to apologize for the way I reacted and if that happens, I will gladly speak about it and explain my reasoning to anyone who may not understand. It is possible for anyone to be misinterpreted and sometimes the words just don’t come out right. Mistakes happen and I’m willing to keep an open mind and hear an explanation as to why someone’s view is a certain way. I offer anyone to explain something I disagree with or do not understand. I simply hope that the people I represent that might perhaps not understand or disagree with my view simply gives me the right to an explanation. That seems fair to me because I’m a reasonable man. I look forward to being your next mayor. I’m looking forward to a better place for us, our children, and for the generations who follow us here and visit us from all corners of the world. Our area will be an example of hope for a happy and successful community. I want to eliminate homelessness here without becoming the lazy bum capital of the world. Developing workshops for the homeless and deterring capable lazy bums from this area are projects I would like to put into action. Many of us are very resourceful and I will give credit where credit is due and will partner up with many of you to make this place as great of a place as possible. Vote for me, Jaime Godfrey. It’s a vote for yourself and a vote for better place.

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