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.
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.