Local Bill is an Assault on Home-Rule Charter

There will be an Alachua County State delegation meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, December 7, 2021) at 10 a.m. at the Santa Fe College N.W. Campus - Fine Arts Hall, (3000 N.W. 83rd Avenue, Gainesville). The purpose of the meeting is to discuss a local bill by State Representative Chuck Clemons.

The following is an excerpt from Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell’s response to the local bill:

At today’s meeting, the County Commission voted unanimously to oppose the local bill that is the subject of tomorrow’s local delegation meeting. Representative Clemons' local bill is a political assault on the Alachua County Home-Rule Charter and our citizens. The bill seeks to create a larger local government that would cost the taxpayers more money and reduce each citizen's representation and voice. 

The Alachua County Home-Rule Charter specifies that each of the five County Commissioners lives in one of five districts, and each serves "at large." That means every voter votes for all five County Commissioners, and all five Commissioners are directly accountable to all citizens. As a result, commissioners focus on the good of the County as a whole and are not constantly fighting for scraps to bring home to their districts.
 
Representative Chuck Clemons (Republican, House District 21) seeks to end this system by creating a ballot referendum that, if passed, would create five single-member districts with each commissioner beholden only to the citizens in their district. The bill would also add two at-large seats creating a seven-member County Commission and creating a larger and more expensive County government. 

Under Clemons' bill, voter representation would be reduced, as they would only hold accountable three of seven Commissioners. 

The motivation is clear, Rep. Clemons' local bill is a thinly veiled attempt to create a single-member gerrymandered County Commission district in 2024, so that he or another candidate from the small but vocal portion of his base can win a commission seat in Alachua County. 


For more information, contact Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979 or msexton@alachuacounty.us.

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